Overland Travel: Cruising the Ferry to Moorea via the Papeete Market, French Polynesia.


The islands of French Polynesia are set out like an array of dots across an expansive area in the South Pacific. While the most common transit way between the islands is by aircraft, there are certain islands that are accessible by ferry. Today’s travel would have us travelling between Papeete and Moorea by ferry. By using this land route, we were able to take in some great views, along with a souvenir stop at the Marché Papeete.

This post is one chapter on our trip to Fiji, New Zealand and French Polynesia. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and AAdvantage frequent flier programs and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: Overland Travel – Cruising the Ferry to Moorea via the The Papeete Market, French Polynesia.

It came time to leave the Le Meridien Tahiti to transit to Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort in Moorea, French Polynesia. Although we could have flown to Moorea from Papeete, we opted for the boat so that we could get some time outside and enjoy the trip a bit more aside from sitting in another airport. We headed to the Papeete Gare Maritime via Taxi which was 3,500 CFP. ($35 USD) It was funny to see European highway signs in the middle of an island the Pacific Ocean.

Arriving to the Gare Maratime:

There were two boat services that serviced the Papeete – Moorea route: Teverau and Armeti. We ended up with Teverau catamarans. Their boats looked to be a lot cleaner and newer than the Armeti boats. We purchased our tickets and dropped our bags in a luggage cage for the 11:30 AM sailing with Teverau catamarans.

Since we had an hour to spare, we went for a 10 minute walk with our hand luggage to the market. We wandered through some pretty mouldy buildings in an area that likely had a lot of development potential.


Marché Papeete / Papeete Market:

We found the Marché Pappete market that had local food wares on the main floor and the Tahitian food stalls and souvenir stands upstairs. It seems like everything was for sale here, and there were quite a few souvenir stands upstairs that would make any souvenir hunter happy.

Most of the wooden Polynesian statutes were upstairs on the second floor, with the first floor containing produce and other perishables.

We ended up with a small Polynesian statue and of course some Polynesian Francs as change.

There were also great fish for sale here. Sadly, to MrsWT73’s horror, it seems that even the beautiful tropical fish are even for sale here.


Lifting Anchor on the Teverau Ferry for Moorea:

After the tropical fish horrors, we returned to the Gare Maritime and got ready to board the boat. I went to locate some sandwiches on board, but they sold out of most of the good ones within the first 10 minutes before we had even left the port.

Once underway on the ferry, we had some nice views of Papeete in addition to some lovely boats that were in the area. Unfortunately, our grey weather continued on what was supposed to be a blue sunny skies holiday.

It was a quick 35 minutes crossing into Moorea on a mostly smooth boat ride. We took advantage of the ability to be outside on the deck, which was much more pleasant than being inside an aircraft for this short trip.

It was really impressive arriving into the Moorea harbour with mountains towering high around you. It was like arriving to a steeply pitched valley from the water.

On arrival into Moorea, the bags were carted off in the crate and distributed one by one. Most passengers appeared to be met by other people or tour operators. We were going freestyle and managed to grab the last taxi that was at the taxi rank. I was expecting a bunch of them there but there was only one. It was only 1,500 CFP up to the Sofitel Moorea, which was only three kilometers up the road. There was some strange pineapple cargo, but I guess these are a commodity worth carrying. . 

My Thoughts our the Ferry Ride versus Flying to Moorea:

I was really happy to have taken the ferry from Papeete to Moorea instead of flying. By taking the thirty five minute ferry, we were able to avoid all the usual extensive boarding procedures of minimum check in times, baggage weight and being confined into a building or tube for n hour or more. With the ferry, we were able to be on deck and in the open air for most of the trip. My only suggestion is to pack a snack, as the food on board appears to be very limited.

If you travel between Papeete and Moorea in French Polynesia, do you prefer the ferry or the short flight ?

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