Fantasy Island Near Tahiti

Just a short sail from Papeete, Moorea Island is a treasure of beautiful beaches, lagoons, and towering verdant cliffs. Moorea means “golden lizard” in Polynesian. Like much of the South Pacific, the islanders lived quietly until the 18th century, when European explorers returned home with stories of an earthly paradise. Whalers, missionaries, and military expeditions soon arrived, and in 1889 Moorea, along with the rest of the Society Islands, became a French protectorate.

The ship anchored in d’Opunohu Bay, and we boarded tenders to scuttle us to the shore at Papetoai. A 10-minute taxi ride brought us to Sunset Beach. We stepped onto a bit of paradise for ourselves. Two reefs protected the beautiful, warm coral water. Our day was filled with swims, naps, walks, and take away lunch from the small hotel/restaurant nearby.