Without a doubt, one of the most prolific tourist destinations in the world – Bora Bora in French Polynesia prides itself with some of the cleanest, most colorful, and most exotic beaches in the world. This French Polynesian island is one of many islands in the region and belongs to the Leeward group of Society Islands archipelago. This is still a French overseas territory and French is, naturally, the only official language. 15.6 square miles (40.3 km2) of Bora Bora’s territory houses around 9,000 inhabitants – more than half of which live in Vaitape. Apart from the central island, Bora Bora consists of few islets, a coral barrier reef, and a lagoon that surround it.
More about Bora Bora
Being where it is, in the Tropic of Cancer – Bora Bora exhibits pretty much the constant temperature year-round. The average annual temperature of 29 °C (84 °F) is a prerequisite for great sun, sea and sand adventure. However, it’s best to visit Bora Bora during summer months as rainfall is scarcer then. At the same time, there’s also more sunshine during that period. Note, however, that it’s winter at the southern hemisphere at that time. Still, that doesn’t impact Bora Bora’s tourist season as we can see.
The almost entire economy of Bora Bora is driven by tourism. Of course, most of the island’s tourism is aqua-centric which means that there’s way too few attractions apart from that. Still, WWII sites and a couple of highest peaks: Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu – might just break the monotony. Note that public transport on the island is non-existent, so you’ll probably be even more reluctant to move away from the water edge. Rental transportation is your best bet here, and the most interesting means of transportation is rental motorboats. That way you can explore the lagoon to its full extent, but beware of coral reefs as they don’t go hand in hand with the motor’s propellers and skegs.
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So, apart from getting lazy in a hammock, one can take a swim or a dive in the lagoon. In fact, most water resorts on Bora Bora are built in a way that they allow for instant and private access to the lagoon straight from bungalow’s porch. That is to say, resorts are usually built in a way that they coexist with nature. Snorkeling and scuba diving aren’t the only way to explore the sea life of Bora Bora, however, There are more professional means at your disposal too, but they are also more expensive accordingly. Bora Bora’s aquatic activities stretch beyond that, however.
Jetskiing, waterskiing, speedboats, whale and dolphin watching, shark diving, fishing, etc. All of that is available if your pockets are accordingly deep. As far as resorts go in terms of their affordability – there’s something for everyone. From budget resorts to highly luxurious ones – everyone will find what they’re looking for.
Bora Bora Landmarks and Attractions
But, what are Bora Bora’s main attractions? Apart from Mount Otemanu, those would be the famous Matira Beach, Lagoonarium, city of Vaitape, and coral gardens. Mount Otemanu is 2,400 feet high, and it’s a remnant of the old dormant volcano. If hiking and nature aren’t incentive enough, think of the incredible view of the lagoon and its surroundings. That certainly should be worth it. The best way to experience Mount Otemanu is 4X4 tours, but a helicopter tour could be an entirely different experience – if you’re prepared to pay the price, that is. Matira Beach is a rarity on Bora Bora.
We have already mentioned that you’ll likely have private access to the beach straight from your bungalow resort, but that leaves precious few spots for public beaches. Matira is one of such beaches, and that’s why it’s so popular among the tourists. After all, seclusion can be fine for a certain period of time, but it tends to get boring afterward. Like everywhere else on the island, water and sand at Matira Beach are crystal clear and smooth respectively. The beach is rarely crowded, and it’s surrounded by all kinds of amenities.
Lagoonarium is a natural aquarium located close to the main island – west of it actually, on small Motu (island). This special part of the lagoon is riddled with underwater wildlife, and you’ll rarely get the chance to experience it as rich as it is here. Turtles, rays, sharks, colorful fish, corals – are only a portion of what’s available here. The city of Vaitape is the largest settlement on Bora Bora thanks to its 5,000 or so inhabitants. This small town is riddled with diners, cafes, and restaurants, but that’s far from everything it has to offer.
Souvenir shops that are selling everything from high-class authentic pearl necklaces to simple gifts are probably your best bet if you’re looking for some material evidence or memory from distant French Polynesia. Finally, the coral gardens are just east of the main island, on an islet called Motu Piti ‘U’s Uta. The reef is just below the surface, so snorkeling equipment does the trick here. Colorful coral reef sea life is something that completes and rounds off Bora Bora’s offer in away. Crowds can be a factor, but you can always ask for advice on that matter.
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Accommodations and resorts
Finally, we’re coming to the accommodations. Everyone knows that Bora Bora is served by large chain hotels of the highest luxury. Four Seasons, St. Regis, InterContinental, Sofitel, Novotel, Hilton, and Le Meridien are some of the most prominent high-class chains present on the island. Some of them even have more than one resort. Sunset Hill Lodge, Maitai Polynesia, and Chez Nono are budget options on Bora Bora, but their service can’t be compared with the aforementioned resorts.
When all is said and done, Bora-Bora deserves a special spot as one of the world’s major tourist destinations. Although limited in terms of its size and accommodations, Bora Bora handles a large quantity of tourists year in, year out. This tropical paradise in the Pacific offers an escape from the everyday hustle and private holiday of everyone’s dreams. If you don’t manage to recharge your batteries here, I don’t know where you will.
Getting around Bora Bora
Bora Bora has a main island surrounded by smaller islands. This makes getting around different and fun! The boat is the main form of transport. Find out how to get around the island to the airport, restaurants, resorts, and activities by boat, bike, scooter, public transport, taxi, car hire, and shuttle. There are also many fun ways to get around Bora Bora!
From Tahiti, flights to Bora Bora take 45 minutes and will be the most beautiful you have ever experienced. Everything you need to know about Bora Bora’s flight details, how to get discount prices, where to sit on the plane, baggage allowances, cancellation requirements, and where to stay near the Tahiti Airport is on our flights to Bora Bora page.
Once seen, Bora Bora is never forgotten. From the day you arrive until the moment you part ways, you will be in awe of how her soaring mountain peaks, turquoise lagoon, and luxuriant overwater bungalows somehow look even more spectacular than the pictures.
For The Visitor, The Majesty of Bora Bora offers:
- Enchantment from the neon-lit turquoise lagoon waters with unending days of exploration through snorkeling and diving.
- Excitement above the lagoon by outrigger canoe, Boston Whaler, wave runner, jet ski, and dramatic sunset cruises aboard a catamaran sailboat.
- Exploration of the panoramic overlooks found by hike or 4×4 accompanied by entertaining local guides.
- Discovery of the world-renowned shopping for local and international original art, Tahitian pearls, perfumes and oils, and precious wood handcrafts.
Simply said, Bora Bora is the most beautiful island in the world
Pora – the ancient name, meaning “firstborn,” came from legends describing this as the first island to rise when Taaroa, the supreme god, fished it out of the waters after the mythical creation of Hawai’i, now known as Raiatea. Although the first letter “B” does not exist in the Tahitian language when Captain Cook first heard the name he mistook the softened sound of the Tahitian “P” for “B” and called the island Bola Bola.