With it’s inviting turquoise lagoon, ideal weather, and rugged mountain tops that kiss the cerulean skies, Moorea is one of the most beautiful and popular islands to visit in French Polynesia.
This was the first island my husband and I explored on our Polynesian honeymoon and we fell instantly in love with it. The reason being: the culturally rich Opunohu Valley.
The two main ways to explore this part of Moorea are to hike, or hop on an ATV. Both offer unique perspectives into this cultural treasure trove.
Riding an ATV through the valley was exhilarating to say the least! We drove through semi-deep puddles, rocky terrain, and winded our way up a steep, narrow, one way road to the top of Magic Mountain for a panoramic view of the island. We stopped at the Agricultural School of Moorea to sample delicious tropical jams and jellies made by the students who attend the school, and to get an inside look into the various flora and fauna that call this island home. Not surprisingly, the ATV adventure was my husband’s favorite.
While I had a wonderful time sitting back and gawking as the astounding beauty of Opunohu wizzed by, it was our hike that I really enjoyed. There’s just something about being able to trek through the forest on my own two feet, while getting up close and personal with Mother Nature that fills my heart with joy. It could also be the endorphins you get from all that physical exertion, but either way it feels great!
What’s really amazing about hiking through Opunohu is the opportunity to immerse yourself in History. Shrouded among the mape trees (Tahitian chestnut) and lush vegetation are what remains of various ancient marae. These sacred sites were places where communication with the gods and ancestors took place.
In the quiet stillness of the valley you can still feel the mana (spirit..to put it simply) emanating from the ancient stones.
It really was a wonderful gift to get to explore this part of the island, and if you find yourself in beautiful Moorea it is definitely a must visit!
Check out more footage from our Moorea adventures here.