Considering a trip to Moorea in French Polynesia? Recapping our 3 days at Sofitel Moorea Kia Ora Resort + what to know before you go!
If you missed the first part of our Tahiti vacation, you can start here with 3 days in Tahaa. After 3 nights at the beautiful Le Taha’a Island Resort, we ventured to the island of Moorea for more sun and fun and one of the highlights of our trip – swimming with sharks and whales. Today I’m breaking down the highlights of our time there, including where we stayed, the room we had, how to get there + what to expect. If you’re interested in learning about how this island is different from the others and taking a little mini vacation – today’s post is for you 🙂
3 Days In Moorea at Sofitel Moorea Kia Ora
THE RESORT: While on Moorea, we stayed at the beautiful Softitel Moorea Kia Ora Beach Resort and the property itself is quite large! We arrived to Moorea via plane from Tahaa. The flight was Raiatea to Papeete and then Papeete to Moorea on Air Tahiti (we booked here since we had a few issues booking directly on their site). That second flight from Papeete to Moorea was only 7 minutes!
We found out later that there is a ferry that runs between Moorea and Papeete that is only $10-$15 per person, so we wound up using that to get back to Papeete for our flight home to Hawaii. Just a side note: The ferry ride is really nice and offers panoramic views of both Tahiti and Moorea, so I cannot recommend it enough! Now, back to our beautiful resort 🙂
Moorea Overwater Bungalows
We were checking in just as the sun was setting, so while we were exploring the resort, we got to see Mother Nature do here thing and it was a little bit like she went wild with a paint palette – so beautiful! The resort itself offers beach bungalows and overwater bungalows, several restaurant and bar options and a private beach. One thing we really loved was that because it’s so large, there were a ton of running paths and trails. This was nice, since there is only a spa, not a formal gym, on the property. Sofitel also offers free snorkel and water sport rentals, which made it easy to stay active! As far as location, the resort is very near to the airport (we had a pre-arranged shuttle) and offers a beautiful view of Papeete at night all lit up 🙂
THE ROOM: During our stay, we had a Superior Overwater Bungalow and I know I’ve said it over and over again – but staying in one of those is like a dream come true for so many reasons. There’s nothing quite like waking up and seeing that water + being able to just get right in.
Our bungalow was HUGE, or it least it felt that way to me. We had a king sized bed, shower (with insanely good water pressure), double sinks, a see-through spot on the floor to view the fish/marine life, a window seat, covered dock and then sun platform. The huts seemed pretty high off the water, so having the steps and ladder were nice for getting in and out of the ocean. The shaded area on our deck was my favorite for enjoying coffee every morning (Nespresso machine in the room) and Dane liked how big the fish were that surrounded the bungalows and that the reef was literally right outside our windows.
THE FOOD: Like Le Taha’a, the breakfast buffet each morning stole the show! I mean seriously – anything you might ever want for breakfast in one place. They were sure to cater to different traditional breakfast foods, too, so not just American-style dishes, which I thought was great. One thing I noticed was that the fruit selection every morning was over-the-top impressive – all perfectly sliced and presented beautifully. I ate so much pineapple!
The pool bar (Vue) has a great happy hour with delicious drinks (order the frozen Miami Vice!) that are half off and two main dinner dining options – Pure + K. We enjoyed our dinner at K one night, which featured a gourmet tasting menu and delicacies like scallops, mahi mahi, lamb and a Grand Marnier soufflé for dessert.
One thing Sofitel offers, which we were impressed by, is a free shuttle to local restaurants for dinnertime. We fell head over heels in love with the stuffed parrotfish at Rudy’s and went there for dinner twice! It’s a must if you’re on the island visiting 🙂 And I’ll be honest – I’m not a huge advocate of stuffed fish, so believe me when I tell you that I was blown away by how delicious it is.
UNDERWATER LIFE: Like other islands, Moorea offers tons of snorkeling and if you happen to be staying in an overwater bungalow, you can do it easily right off your porch! We saw tons of fish off our porch and some were enormous – much bigger than the ones we had seen on other islands.
Part of our stay in Moorea was heading out with Moorea Ocean Adventures for an open water experience. The company was founded by a marine biologist who has been studying the animals of French Polynesia for years, so I was completely at ease with everything he was teaching us. We had a private tour that was just Dane and I, alongside Matthieu (marine biologist) and Trevor (boat captain), so they were able to take us to a ton of different places to see marine life. We swam with spinner dolphins, pilot whales, black tip sharks, grey sharks, a lone lemon shark, schools of rainbow runners, pink whip rays (commonly referred to as sting rays) and snorkeling over cracks in the reef!
It was hands down our favorite part of the trip and I talk all about what it’s really like to swim with sharks and whales all at once in this blog post. One of my favorite photos is the first one below where I’m getting a hug from a ray and there’s a huge double rainbow in the background 🙂 I got a ton of questions about our underwater photos on this trip and we use this camera (currently $100 OFF!) + this accessory pack (less than $18 for every attachment you could ever want!) – they are the absolute best for crisp + clear photos!
SUNSETS: I think one of my absolute favorite parts of the resort was that no matter where you were – you had an amazing view of the sunset. The colors POPPED and just when you thought the show was over, more colors would show up. If there’s anything I learned it’s that the sunset “after party” is when the colors really come through. Get a load of that pink in the last photo – I mean…is this real life?! At the Sofitel Moorea, it is!
We were floating around in tubes one night, walking to dinner one night and chilling in our room and on the dock another and each and every spot offered a beautiful view. Just looking at these photos again has me dreaming of pastel skies!
MISCELLANEOUS: Much like the Hawaiian Islands, the islands of French Polynesia are all unique in their own way. The first thing we noticed was how much Moorea reminded us of Kauai – a lush, jungle paradise. Seriously – looking up at how green the mountain was and being able to view the coastline from our ocean tour was a little bit like taking a peek at Kauai’s coast (at least to us!). It should also be noted that Moorea offers a ton of things to do on the island itself – ATV, adventure tours, plantations, etc.
Because we had our marine animal adventure planned for an entire day and only had a limited time on the island, we didn’t want to overbook ourselves. That said, we will definitely be exploring more of Moorea in the future, because we fell in love. You could easily spend an entire week there and not see or do it all!
Whew! I feel like I could have gone on and on with this and included so many more photos – even just picking the ones included was hard – because even though looking back these pictures are gorgeous – this island is even more stunning in person. I will never get over the color of the water, friendly people or lush green mountainsides. Moorea – we will see you again for sure!
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