After relaxation upon relaxation in Bora Bora, our honeymoon continued in Moorea with a little more activity.
Greg and I were staying at the Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort, which offers a mix of land-based bungalows and over-the-water villas.
Since it was our honeymoon, we sprang for the very best option: a beautiful villa over the water.
Our room at the Sofitel wasn’t nearly as nice as the one at the St. Regis Bora Bora, but it still was one of the best hotel rooms I’ve ever had.
We quickly made ourselves at home on our private deck.
With, you guessed it, a glass of champagne.
Then we jumped right on into the clear water, colored so beautifully turquoise that it almost seemed fake.
And we were treated to some of the best snorkeling in French Polynesia, all right outside our room!
As much fun as we had in the water in Bora Bora, we really didn’t get to explore much of the island itself. So Greg and I decided we’d make it a point to explore Moorea’s land offerings. The Sofitel booked a private tour for us with FranckyFranck Tours, run by a hilarious Frenchman who had us laughing the whole time.
He picked us up right at the Sofitel (you can see it behind us!) and took us all over the island.
We explored vanilla plantations.
Visited the island’s Tropical Garden.
Sampled taro and tiare ice cream, as well as alcohol at native distilleries.
Then Francky drove up a narrow road which opened up into beautiful views from the Magic Mountain.
He gave us Moorea’s history (important), told us stories (helpful), and took fabulous pictures (essential). Basically he was everything we could ever want in a guide (minus a swim loincloth).
Our tour finished at Belvedere, a must-see Moorean lookout point.
Then we returned to our room, exhausted but feeling like we’d gotten a good handle on Moorea island.
The next morning, we got a different perspective of Moorea with a hike organized by the Sofitel. Our guide was wonderful, and taught us many things about Tahitian culture, including:
- Moana is a boy’s name, and means ocean. (Coincidentally, our villa at the Sofitel was called “Te Moana”)
- Polynesians navigated using pigs which could smell land before any human could see it.
- If you come across a breadfruit tree planted next to a coconut tree, you know there used to be people at that spot because those two trees provide necessary food for humans.
We were joined by two other couples, one from Spain and one from Arizona, who both happened to have gotten married on the same day that Greg and I did. While I wasn’t really on the honeymoon to make friends (I sound like a contestant on The Bachelor, ha) it was fun getting to know them and sharing stories from our weddings. They really made the hike that much more fun!
Along the way, the guide pointed out Moorea’s unique flora.
And its “gods.”
And when we reached the waterfall a couple of hours later, we felt like champions.
When we got back to the base of the trail, we were treated to fresh fruit, including breadfruit (which, surprisingly or not, actually tastes more like bread than fruit).
We were also given a glimpse of the critters that had also been in the water around the waterfall. You know, the water we’d just been swimming in…
I’m really glad I didn’t know about the eels beforehand!
That evening, the hotel had flower crowns sent to our rooms, which, let me tell you, Greg was super excited for. The things he does for love…
We then did a photo shoot in the crowns, because that’s also something Greg does for love!
Then as the sun set, we headed to dinner at Sofitel’s K Restaurant.
The restaurant has huge woven ceilings and opens up onto the beach, allowing you to dine with your feet in the sand while being serenaded by the ocean’s waves.
It was my favorite meal during our entire honeymoon, and not just because I was wearing a flower crown! Yes, the ambiance is incredible, but the food was also fantastic!
We didn’t want to spend all of our time in Moorea on land, however, since the ocean is one of the most incredible parts of French Polynesia! So the following day, we decided it was time to go swimming… with whales.
The tour (again booked through Sofitel) began with us swimming with stingrays which, after my experiences in Antigua and Bora Bora, felt like old news. Who would have thought I’d ever say that about swimming with stingrays?!
We then left the comfort of the reef, and ventured out into the open ocean.
We were in the water a lot, keeping our eyes peeled for whales. And when we were close, it was crazy how loud the whale calls were. Our chests were vibrating with the sound!
We did get glimpses of a whale (which you can see at the top of the video at the 33 second mark) but it wasn’t much of a “swimming with whales” experience. Oh well, that’s what happens in nature sometimes I suppose.
That evening, the Sofitel was having a traditional Polynesian dinner, so on went our flower crowns!
A traditional form of Polynesian cooking is done by using an earth oven. Yes, our food is cooking under that sand!
Here’s how it works:
After watching them dig up our food (it was a lot more elegant than that phrase made it sound!) we had a little bit of time before dinner. Greg and I found a nice lookout spot, ordered a couple of drinks, and watched the sun go down.
And we ordered some ice cream, because when you’re on your honeymoon you can order dessert before dinner!
While we were there, an older couple came up to us and told us we looked so cute, and needed to have a picture of the moment. So he took my camera and captured this memory for us.
When it was time for dinner we reluctantly left our post, but we were much less reluctant when we saw our table: VIP seating right at the front of the dancing!
I got pulled up to dance again (they must have heard about my stellar performance in Bora Bora!) and I had fun showing off my moves… and by “showing off my moves,” I mean doing exactly what the native dancer was doing… on a much smaller scale…
The following morning was our last on Moorea, so Greg and I made up a little send-off ceremony by releasing our flower crowns into the reef.
And then we boarded a plane to Tahiti, watching Moorea recede with our faces pressed to the window.
I still can’t believe how beautiful it all was…
For all of my French Polynesia travel tips, click here.
For all of my wedding-related posts, click here.