Fodor's Expert Review Cook's Bay
This lovely bay, also known as Paopao Bay, has the most dramatic setting and is best appreciated by standing at its eastern or western shore, or better still, from a boat out in the lagoon. The much-photographed shark-toothed mountain of Mouaroa rises steeply behind it, and Mt. Rotui stands at its western side. There's no real township, just a smattering of shops, restaurants, and small hotels along the northeast corner. The village of Paopao sits at the base (or head) of the bay at PK 9.5; it has a daily market (Mon.–Sat. 6 am–5 pm, Sun. 4:30 am—8 am) selling food and local crafts, and nearby is the Van der Heyde art gallery. The Catholic church of St. Joseph sits on the western shore and is decorated with an old wall fresco of the Angel Gabriel. For a spiritual experience par excellence, attend the 10 am mass on Sunday morning to hear the hymns and see Tahitians in their Sunday best.