Moorea may win your heart. Her snaggle-tooth volcanic fangs rear from thundering Pacific surf; Arthur Frommer - of the self-named guides - says she is the most beautiful island in the world; and Marlon Brando fell for his Polynesian female lead when making Mutiny on the Bounty here (for a tryst with a twist take the yacht-trip to Tetiaroa atoll, once the Brandos’ private South Seas love-nest).
But Moorea has a love rival: one short ferry ride and suddenly you’re being seduced by Tahiti. See the Gaugin museum then go on to the small village of Mataiea where, beside the lagoon, English war poet Rupert Brooke spent some of the final weeks of a brief life with Mamua, his Polynesian lover. Here he wrote his most acclaimed poem. Called Tiare Tahiti, it was for her.
If you can't afford the luxury hotels and expensive spa retreats, these bungalows are a bargain island paradise.
Located between Cook and Opunohu Bays, the Pension is an idyllic cluster of beach bungalows, surrounded by a tropical garden. Even cheaper are the dormitories with a view of the lagoon, but we opted for the beach view bungalows - much more romantic! The rooms are cool and comfortable and typically Polynesian.
The Motu Iti restaurant is fantastic value and is on a shady deck over the lagoon. You can tuck in to fresh grilled fish for lunch, an all-American breakfast and local specialities for dinner.
The themed evenings and Ma'a Tahiti (traditional feast) were a major highlight!
Much more peaceful after the bustle of Tahiti. Moorea is astonishingly beautiful, and the best way to see it is to take a bus tour.
The Circle Island Tour takes you past pineapple fields, coffee plantations and flower-filled villages up to Belvedere Lookout, where you can see Opunohu and Cook's Bays.
One of the highlights is a stop off to see the little rectangular 'Marae', ancient structures which used to be sacred buildings, used as open-air temples and funeral sites.
(Picks up from all the main hotels)
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