Getting there: Moorea is a five-minute flight from Papeete, Tahiti, the hub for Moorea, Bora Bora, and the rest of French Polynesia. Moorea also can be reached from Papeete by catamaran (30 minutes) and by ferry (45 minutes).
Papeete is about eight hours and 4,100 miles by air from Los Angeles.
Getting around: The island has a good, mostly flat two-lane paved road around its 37-mile circumference. The only other main road leads up to Belvedere Lookout, most of which is paved. Car rentals, Mokes — small, open cars — and four-wheel drives are plentiful; you won't need one with much juice to navigate the roads. Bikes are a good alternative.
Lodging: Moorea has three luxury resorts, the Inter-Continental Beachcomber, Hotel Sofitel Ia Ora and Sheraton Moorea, all of which have overwater bungalows. Prices range from $200-$650 depending on the season and location of the bungalow. There also is a Club Med and several smaller resorts, hotels and pensions, as well as some campgrounds. The Moorea Pearl Resort is scheduled to open in summer 2002 on the former site of the Hotel Bali Hai.
Dining: Linareva Floating Restaurant and Bar in Haapiti is probably the best on the island, specializing in seafood and French cuisine. Its hull is that of the first ferry to run between Tahiti and Moorea. If you go, take your credit card; it's expensive, even for Moorea. Good, but not great, meals can be had at the hotels and a handful of small restaurants scattered around the island. No need for ties or jackets anywhere.
When to go: Moorea is in the tropics, so it is warm and humid much of the year. Although the temperatures don't vary that much — with highs in the mid-80s — the more comfortable dry season runs from May to October. From November to April, the humidity is higher, the rain showers more frequent, and the risk of cyclones higher.
Information: Moorea Island Paradise, at www.mooreaisland.com, has comprehensive listings of accommodations in all budget ranges, sightseeing activities, sailing and boat charters, and air transportation options.
Tahiti Tourisme, www.tahiti-tourisme.com, is the official Web site of the Tahitian tourism office. It includes information on Moorea as well as Tahiti, Bora Bora and other French Polynesian islands.
The French Polynesia Moorea Web site at moorea.com has information on tour packages and cruises, accommodations, activities and general information about French Polynesia, including Tahiti.
Tahiti Nui Travel, the site of the Tahitian airline, has flight information, tour packages, excursions and an events calendar at: www.tahiti-nui.com/about/Moorea/Default.asp.