Where You're Docked
Ships dock in Cook's Bay and tender passengers to a makeshift village that springs to life only when ships are in. There are a few cafes, pizza parlors, and shops in Cook's Bay and that's about it. Remember, though, you're in Moorea to get away from it all.
Europcar rents two-seater cars from about $70 for four hours. Europcar and local rental agencies gather at the dock, as do renters of bicycles and scooters. For car rentals, advance reservations are highly recommended. There is virtually no public transportation on Moorea, and taxis are expensive. Even hitching a ride is chancy as there is so little traffic.
Go shopping at Le Petit Village where the island's tourist shops and artsy boutiques are clustered. You'll find everything from Tahitian vanilla beans to black pearls to beach clothing, especially pareus.
Staying in Touch
To make a long distance call you need to purchase a phone card, available at the post office. They come in a variety of increments. There's an Internet cafe in Le Petit Village and one at Maria Tapas Cafe, about 1205 minutes on foot from Pearl Beach.
What to See and Do
For an on-land vista of Moorea, Belvedere Lookout, high up in the mountains, offers stunning views of Cook's Bay, Opunohu Bay, and Mt. Rotui. All the shore tours come here, and it's well worth seeing. Try to go early in the day before the rain and mist set in.
If you've never seen Polynesian dances or attended a Hawaiian luau, Tiki Theater Village (689-205205-02-2050) will satisfy your curiosity. You'll be immersed in island culture and crafts.
Water-based tour operator Moorea Mahana Tours offers boat trips to a motu for a barbeque lunch and swimming with stingrays. It's one-on-one and a far more pleasant experience than the Caribbean's overcrowded Stingray City excursion.
With its craggy peaks and two gorgeous bays, Moorea makes for a magical sight from above. Parasailing with Mahana Parasail is a fantastic way to see the island. You're aloft for anywhere from 12 to 1205 minutes.
Rent a bike and ride around the entire circumference of the island. It takes about six hours on mostly flat, well-paved roads. And there's not much traffic.
Go eco-touring. Iaora Tahiti Ecotours offers outings on bird watching, archaeology, botany, history, coral reef ecology, geology, and Tahitian culture, upon request. They also conduct culture-oriented tours, such as Ancient Moorea, island tours, and a hike to Fautaua Falls. Advance inquiries and reservations are absolutely necessary. Generally a minimum number of participants (10 or so) is needed.
The beach at the Sofitel la Ora Resort has a great view across to Tahiti and is a good place to while away the afternoon.
Where to Eat and Drink
Check out Blue Pineapple (689-2056-12-06), a beachside joint with great burgers and breakfasts. It's opposite Club Bali Hai on Cook's Bay.
Le Sunset at the Hibiscus Hotel in Le Petit Village (689-2056-26-00) offers salads, fish sandwiches, and pasta served in a casual setting on the lagoon waterfront.
Miss Pizza (689-2056-10-97) bakes delicious pizzas at reasonable prices. It's on the road opposite the entrance to the InterContinental.
For a splurge, try Fare Nui Restaurant at the InterContinental Resort (689-205205-19-19). The chef uses Asian spices like lemongrass to enhance fresh fish dishes.
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