Road trip in paradise? Sign me up! And I don’t even like road trips! But give me a slow, easy ride through a lush landscape with mountain views to one side and turquoise seascapes to the other, and I’m all in. But renting a car on our recent trip to Mo’orea was a bit more complicated than booking one and picking it up. So, to make sure you have the advantage, I took notes and pulled together this blog post. You’re welcome!
Rental cars come in handy: What to Do on a Rainy Day on Mo’orea?
Do You Need to Rent a Car?
Yes! It depends on the island, of course, but it’s almost always necessary to rent a car unless you intend to spend your trip only at your hotel or resort. Steve and I like to explore when we travel, so we definitely needed one to get around Mo’orea. I was delighted to see that rental cars were very affordable for just $25-$68 USD per day!
Manual or Automatic?
The problem? Because we were booking so close to our travel dates, the only cars left were all manual transmition. Steve and I both know how to drive a manual shift, but neither of us is well-practiced or comfortable with that. So we had to get creative! You’ll see why below.
*For all my automatic readers out there, I’d like to note that, when I looked a few weeks after our travel dates, both manual and automatic rental cars were available on Mo’orea, and there was no price difference. We simply chose a very popular time and booked too late!
We rented with Hertz, and we don’t know about other car rental companies in French Polynesia, but we were quite taken off-guard by the extra charges we incurred. I suppose we should have been more thorough in our research, but to be honest, there was a lot to research and keep up with for this trip. And it all ended up costing less than renting a car elsewhere in the world! Here are the fees you can expect with Hertz, and that you should check into for your trip as well:
- Pay for all 5 days at the time of pickup, not after
- No unlimited mileage; An additional 59 cents (USD) per kilometer (not per mile) was charged on top of the daily rate for the car
- Additional $39 USD charge for second driver (We opted out of this; I drove during our trip)
- Insurance fee of $19 round-trip for the ferry
- Agent upgraded us a 4-wheel drive vehicle for no extra charge because there was plenty of availability (Thank you, COVID!)
Need to Know: What to Pack for French Polynesia: Women’s Edition
Taking the Ferry
The best solution for Steve and me, since there were no automatic transmissions available on all of Mo’orea, was to rent a car on Tahiti and bring it with us on one of the two ferries. Rental cars were similar prices on Tahiti as on Mo’orea, and while this did add to the cost because we had to pay for the car each way on the ferry, it was worth it for us to have an automatic car to use during our trip. This also gave us the option to explore a bit of Tahiti on either end of our trip if we wanted. Here are the two ferry options:
- Time: 30 minutes
- Cost Per Person: XPF 1,160 ($11 USD)
- Cost Per Small Car: XPF 4,350 ($42 USD)
- Click here for their ferry schedules.
- For a round-trip for two people and one car on the Terevau Ferry, the cost was 13,340 XFP ($129 USD)
- Time: 45 minutes
- Cost Per Person: XPF 1,500 ($14.25 USD)
- Cost Per Small Car: XPF 4,330 ($41 USD)
- Click here for their ferry schedules.
Note: Vehicles are allowed on both ferries, but only so many vehicles will fit on each ferry. Make sure there is car availability for the time and ferry you want, and make a reservation in advance!
Also helpful: Staying at the Tahiti Airport Motel
What if You Don’t Want to Rent a Car?
There are other options, if renting a car isn’t for you. You could rent a bike for 2000 CFP ($19 USD) per day, or an e-bike for 4500 CFP ($43 USD) for nine hours. A scooter will run you 5500-6500 CFP per day ($52-$62 USD).
For something more substantial, you can also rent a buggy 25,000 CFP per day ($237 USD)–that’s more than three times the cost of a rental car! But beware, as you’ll run into the manual vs. automatic issue here as well.
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Mo’orea
Need more? Check out The Six Best Tips for Driving on the Island of Tahiti and my French Polynesia Page for everything you need to know and more to plan your trip!
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