Things to Do in Moorea
Magical Mountain is on the island of Moorea in French Polynesia. Though the mountains on Moorea are not extremely high, they are particularly rugged. Magical Mountain is one of the highest points on the island. It is located along the exterior part of the island, and it offers spectacular 360-degree views of the island and the surrounding clear blue waters of the lagoon and the ocean. On the way up the mountain, visitors will pass villages, scenic valleys, fruit trees, and pineapple plantations. Magical Mountain lets visitors experience the breathtaking scenery an ancient volcanic island. The mountain is not accessible by regular cars and can only be reached by 4WD or ATV. For this reason, the best way to experience Magical Mountain and its views is by taking a tour of the island that includes a trip up the mountain.
Belvedere Lookout is a scenic viewpoint awarding views of Cook's Bay, Opunohu Bay, Mount Rotui and the fertile Opunohu Valley with its many pineapple plants, craggy peaks and gentle slopes. There are many ways to reach the top -- uphill hiking, ATV, scooter or car -- as there is a road leading to the lookout. That being said, now that it is more accessible it is also more crowded, meaning you should allow yourself adequate time for photo snapping. The most popular time to visit is at sunset at around 5:30pm, where you can see the sky and landscape illuminated by a rainbow backdrop of reds, pinks, yellow, oranges and purples. At the top there is a small snack, beverage and souvenir stand. And if you're still feeling energetic, you can access waterfall and nature treks from the top.
Lycée Agricole, or Agriculture School, is French Polynesia's only agricultural school, located on the island of Moorea. At the agricultural school, visitors can see pineapples, lemons, grapefruits, bananas, vanilla beans and many other fruits being grown and learn about the cultivation process. The school also makes fresh fruit juices, jams and sorbets, which are available for purchase. They also offer tastings of the fruit products they make. Visitors can hike on educational trails in the school's plantations in order to learn more about the school and its work and to enjoy the scenery. At the agricultural school, you can also learn about the different tropical plants, flowers, and fruits that are native to French Polynesia.
Located in the turquoise waters of the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa Hotel, the Moorea Dolphin Center is a natural habitat home to three bottlenose dolphins. Two male dolphins, Lokahi and Kuokoa, were born at Hawaii’s Dolphin Quest Facility, while the female, Hina, is retired from San Diego’s US Naval facility.
A team of animal behaviorists and veterinarians looks after the dolphins at the 3,500-square-meter facility. They are protected from outside dangers by floating pontoons; these dolphins were born in captivity and therefore are not used to predators or having to find their own food.
Visitors to the dolphin center can choose from several interactive experiences, including a shallow water encounter, a dolphin swim, a program specifically for children, and another for couples.
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). That being said, you'll be able to explore the nearby beaches and streets without huge crowds. Along with hiking trails, dramatic landscapes and beaches, Cook's Bay features an aquarium, restaurants, hotels, the Black Pearl Farm for purchasing French Polynesia's famous black pearls, art galleries, 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.