Cook's Bay (Baie de Cook)
Surrounded by rugged mountain landscape that seems to reach up from the water, Cook's Bay is one of the main tourist areas in Moorea (it's here that cruise ships come to moor their boats). The area is home to restaurants, shops, and hotels, but it’s still relatively sleepy and laid-back—this is Moorea, after all!
Along with hiking trails, dramatic landscapes and beaches, Cook's Bay features hotels, restaurants, and shops. It’s also the location of the Pao Pao Market and Moorea Juice Factory. From Cook's Bay you can begin driving to Belvedere Lookout, a scenic viewpoint awarding aerial views of Opunohu Valley, Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay. Tours of the island often pass along Cook's Bay and lagoon excursions often depart from here.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cook’s Bay is a must-visit for anyone wanting great views of the lagoon.
- Bring sunscreen and a hat, particularly if you plan to go out on the water.
- Not all boat excursions are suitable for wheelchair users; make sure to check ahead before booking.
How to Get There
Cooks Bay is located on the northern coast of the island, and the coastal road that circles the island goes right along its shores. Travelers relying on public transportation can catch the local bus here (dubbed Le Truck). It's about a 15-minute drive from the airport or 20 minutes from the ferry terminal, with connections to Papeete on the main island of Tahiti.
When to Get There
Like all of French Polynesia, Cook's Bay is best visited during the dry season, which runs roughly from April through October. However, this is also the most crowded time of year to visit (along with Christmas and New Year’s). December and January are the wettest months on the island.
The Black Pearls of Tahiti
French Polynesia is famous for its black pearls, and the Cook's Bay area is a great place to pick up black-pearl jewelry. These prized pearls tend to be dark gray, and the darker ones tend to be the most expensive. They're formed from black-lip oysters and are the largest export in French Polynesia.