Moorea is a high island in French Polynesia, one of the Windward Islands, part of the Society Islands, 17 kilometres (11 mi) northwest of Tahiti. The true spelling of Moorea is Mo’ore’a, which means “yellow lizard” in Tahitian: Mo’o = lizard ; Re’a = Yellow. An older name for the island is ‘Aimeho, sometimes spelled ‘Aimeo or ‘Eimeo (among other spellings given by early visitors before Tahitian spelling was standardized). Early Western colonists and voyagers also referred to Moorea as York Island.
Because of its stunning scenery and accessibility to Pape’ete, Moorea is visited by many western tourists who travel to French Polynesia. Especially popular as a honeymoon destination, Moorea can often be seen in advertisements in American wedding magazines. Arthur Frommer declared in Frommer’s travel guide that he considered it the most beautiful island in the world.
Surrounded by a bright blue lagoon, the volcanically formed island of Mo’orea was rated as the third-best island in the world by the Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards. Getting to the hidden paradise is a process. Besides having to get to Papa’ete in Tahiti, travelers then travel by high-speed ferry to reach Mo’orea, which sits 12 miles away. But let us be the first to tell you — the island is worth the schlep.