Location - Vai'are to Paopao
Duration - 2-4 hours return depending on route taken
Distance - Approximately 5.5 km one way depending on route taken
Elevation gain - Approximately 290 m
Difficulty - Strenuous
A slightly more strenuous route is the two-hour walk from the village of Vai'are to Paopao on Cook's Bay. The route ascends to a ridge that delivers grand views of Mount Orohena (2,241 m) on the island of Tahiti, as well as the whole interior of Mo'orea. The island’s most challenging trek is a climb to the summit of Mount Rotui, which holds a special place in Polynesian mythology, and provides a glimpse into the interior of an extinct volcanic crater. Can also link into the Three Pines Pass.
This hike crosses the island from the village of Vai'are (where the ferry is) to the village Paopao in Cook's Bay. It's a moderate hike which you can do on your own. The hike starts along local orchards, filled with mangoes, papaya, and Noni. The dirt road then forks where you veer left and up the hill. The trail heads through a steep mape forest and after ascending via switchbacks, you'll make it to the pass.
You are rewarded with views out to both sides of the island. On the one side – Vaiare, Tahiti and the ferry going back and forth. On the other side, nothing but mountains, pineapple fields, and Cook's Bay.
From up here, you have a few options:
- Continue down to Paopao, hitchhiking or taking the local bus back to Vaiare.
- Take the trail that continues from up here to the three pine pass and Belvedere.
- Return via the same route.
Bring plenty of water, hat, appropriate footwear and clothing, snacks and potentially a change of clothes for after.