A village on the northeast side of Moorea, Maharepa is a prime location due to its proximity to Cook's Bay and the Gulf of Moorea. The village is also home to an assortment of restaurants, shopping centers, grocery stores, cute souvenir shops, a bank, and even two post offices.
Maharepa is where I stayed during my time on the island, and I loved that all the amenities were so close by that I only needed a car when I wanted to check out more of the island.
More of a region than a town on the northwest side of Moorea, Hauru is known for its 5-kilometer tourist strip full of shops, restaurants, cafes, boutique hotels, and highly rated scuba diving centers. Additionally, it's said that the northwest of Moorea is home to some of the best beaches, such as Hauru Beach, so if you're looking for long relaxing days on the sand, Hauru is the place for you.
Located just a few kilometers from the port of Vaiare, the village of Afareaitu is known as the administrative center of Moorea, and lays claim to a town hall, church, and roughly 3,500 residents. Additionally, the two gorgeous Afareaitu Waterfalls are nearby, so if you're looking for a great, yet short, hike, I highly recommend adventuring here.
A village with a more remote feel to it, tiny Haapiti is located in the southwest of Moorea, and is mostly known for its excellent surf break at Matauvau Pass, located about a half kilometer offshore. The town is also home to some great on-land and boating tour companies for when you feel like an excursion.
Set in the northwest corner of Moorea and just a stone’s throw from Hauru, the region (and tourism hub) of Tiahura is home to a wide variety of hotels, restaurants, and boutique shops — and is the perfect choice if you don’t want to skimp on options or amenities.