Bora Bora, often referred to as the “Jewel of the South Seas,” is an idyllic island paradise nestled in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Its crystal-clear turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs make it a haven for snorkelers and divers alike.
Surrounded by a stunning lagoon and barrier reef, Bora Bora boasts luxurious overwater bungalows that offer breathtaking views of the iconic Mount Otemanu. The island’s serene ambiance and lush tropical landscapes make it a top destination for honeymooners and romantics.
Beyond its natural beauty, Bora Bora offers a rich cultural experience, with its Polynesian roots evident in local dance, music, and art. Visitors can indulge in authentic island cuisine, explore ancient temples, and immerse themselves in the warm hospitality of the Tahitian people.
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Attractions & Things to do in Bora Bora
1. Matira Beach
Bora Bora’s most famous public beach, Matira Beach is a stretch of soft white sand meeting crystal clear waters. It’s a haven for sunbathers, swimmers, and those looking to experience the island’s natural beauty without the confines of a resort. The shallow, calm waters make it perfect for a relaxing swim.
Travel Tip: Arrive early to secure a good spot, especially if you’re visiting during peak tourist season.
2. Mount Otemanu
The remnants of an extinct volcano, Mount Otemanu stands as the highest point on Bora Bora. Treks to the mountain offer breathtaking panoramic views of the lagoon and the surrounding islands. While the peak itself is inaccessible, the trails leading up to it are worth the journey.
Travel Tip: Wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring plenty of water. Consider hiring a local guide to enhance the experience.
3. Coral Gardens
Located near the eastern side of the main island, the Coral Gardens are a snorkeler’s paradise. This natural underwater park is teeming with colorful corals and a variety of marine life, making it a must-visit for underwater enthusiasts.
Travel Tip: Remember to use reef-safe sunscreen to protect the delicate marine ecosystem.
4. Bora Bora Lagoonarium
A natural aquarium, the Lagoonarium allows visitors to experience the marine life of Bora Bora up close. With guided tours, you can swim with sharks, rays, and a plethora of tropical fish in their natural habitat.
Travel Tip: Opt for the guided tours to learn more about the marine life and get the most out of your visit.
The main town of Bora Bora, Vaitape offers a mix of local culture, shopping, and dining. Here, you can find local crafts, pearls, and souvenirs to take back home. The town also boasts several restaurants where you can sample local Polynesian cuisine.
Travel Tip: Visit the local market for authentic souvenirs and to support local artisans.
6. Bora Bora Turtle Centre
Located at the Le Méridien Resort, this center is dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of injured sea turtles. Visitors can learn about these magnificent creatures, their life cycle, and the threats they face. It’s both an educational and heartwarming experience.
Travel Tip: A portion of the entrance fee goes towards turtle conservation, so your visit directly contributes to their well-being.
7. Bloody Mary’s
One of Bora Bora’s most famous restaurants, Bloody Mary’s is known for its sandy floors, Polynesian decor, and fresh seafood. It’s more than just a dining spot; it’s an experience that combines local flavors with a unique ambiance.
Travel Tip: Reservations are recommended, especially during the tourist season. Don’t forget to check the daily specials.
8. 4×4 Island Tour
Exploring Bora Bora by 4×4 is an exhilarating way to see the island’s interior landscapes, including its lush valleys, plantations, and panoramic lookout points. Many tours also include historical and cultural insights provided by local guides.
Travel Tip: Bring a camera, wear comfortable clothing, and be prepared for some bumpy rides!
9. Polynesian Spa Experience
To truly relax and immerse yourself in Polynesian culture, indulge in a traditional spa experience. Using local ingredients like coconut oil, vanilla, and Tamanu oil, these treatments not only rejuvenate but also provide a sensory journey.
Travel Tip: Book your spa treatments in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak times, to ensure availability.
Unique Activities in Bora Bora
1. Lagoon Tour and Snorkeling Experience
Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Bora Bora’s lagoon and experience the vibrant marine life through a snorkeling adventure. This tour offers a unique opportunity to witness the underwater wonders of the island, from colorful coral reefs to exotic fish species.
2. Bora Bora Jet Ski Tour
Feel the thrill of gliding over the azure waters of Bora Bora on a jet ski. This tour is perfect for adrenaline junkies and those looking to explore the island from a different perspective. With the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin, it’s an experience not to be missed.
Day Trips from Bora Bora
Travel Tip: While in Papeete, try the local street food at ‘Les Roulottes’, the food trucks that set up shop every evening on the waterfront.
A quick flight or a ferry ride from Tahiti, Moorea offers a serene escape with its lush landscapes and crystal-clear lagoons. Dive into the waters to witness the rich marine life or hike the island’s peaks for breathtaking views.
Travel Tip: Rent a scooter or bike to explore Moorea at your own pace, and don’t forget to sample the island’s famous pineapple, known for its exceptional sweetness.
A hidden gem not far from Bora Bora, Maupiti is a quieter alternative with pristine beaches and turquoise waters. This small island provides a more authentic Polynesian experience, free from large resorts and crowds.
Travel Tip: Maupiti is best explored on foot or by bicycle. Make sure to visit the Tereia Beach, a shallow, sandy stretch perfect for relaxation.
Where to stay in Bora Bora
Bora Bora, a part of French Polynesia, is renowned for its turquoise lagoons, coral reefs, and luxurious overwater bungalows. This tropical paradise offers a range of hotels, from high-end luxury resorts to more budget-friendly options, ensuring every traveler finds their perfect stay. With its breathtaking views and serene environment, Bora Bora is a dream destination for many.
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Guests at this luxury resort can choose between garden suites with a private pool, beachfront suites with a private hot tub, or overwater bungalows with direct access to the turquoise waters below.
- Price: €1,117 per night
- Rating: 9.4 (Superb)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa, an IHG Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Located on Motu Piti Aau, this 5-star resort and day spa offers private villas situated over the water, providing an exclusive private beach experience.
- Price: €1,678 per night
- Rating: 9.4 (Superb)
3. Budget Hotel
Oa Oa Lodge (★ ★ ★)
- Description: Offering an outdoor pool, Oa Oa Lodge is a waterfront property set in Bora Bora, just 1 km away from Vaitape.
- Price: €104 per night
- Rating: 7.8 (Good)
4. Hotel for Family
ROYAL BORA BORA (★ ★ ★)
- Description: ROYAL BORA BORA features a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a bar, and a garden. Each accommodation at this 3-star hotel offers a garden view, and guests can enjoy access to a terrace.
- Price: €219 per night
- Rating: 8.5 (Very good)
5. Hotel for Couples
InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort, an IHG Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Featuring a private white sand beach exclusive to guests, this luxury resort offers beachfront accommodation on Matira Point, with unique bungalows positioned over the water.
- Price: €876 per night
- Rating: 9.2 (Superb)
6. Hotel for Solo Travellers
BORA BORA HOLIDAY’S LODGE
- Description: Located in Bora Bora and within 4 km from Mount Otemanu, this lodge provides a garden, non-smoking rooms, and free WiFi. It also features a terrace for guests to relax.
- Price: €302 per night
- Rating: 8.7 (Fabulous)
Did you know? Facts about Bora Bora
- Bora Bora is an island group in the Leeward Islands, which are part of the Society Islands of French Polynesia.
- The island is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef, with remnants of an extinct volcano at its center.
- Bora Bora’s highest point is Mount Otemanu, which rises to 727 meters (2,385 feet).
- The island was historically called “Pora pora mai te pora,” which means “created by the gods” in the local Tahitian language.
- Bora Bora is a major international tourist destination, renowned for its luxury resorts, some of which are built over the water.
- The island’s economy is almost entirely driven by tourism.
- Bora Bora was once an independent kingdom until the French annexed it in 1888.
- During World War II, the United States established a military supply base on the island, but it saw no combat.
- The lagoon of Bora Bora is abundant in fish and is known for its vast array of colors, varying with its depth.
- The island’s original name, “Pora Pora,” means “first born.”
FAQ about Bora Bora
What is the significance of Bora Bora’s name?
The name “Bora Bora” is derived from the island’s original name “Pora pora mai te pora,” which means “created by the gods” in the local Tahitian language.
Where is Bora Bora located?
Bora Bora is part of the Society Islands of French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 230 kilometers northwest of Papeete.
What is the highest point on Bora Bora?
The highest point on Bora Bora is Mount Otemanu, which rises to 727 meters (2,385 feet).
What languages are spoken in Bora Bora?
The primary languages spoken in Bora Bora are Tahitian and French. However, due to tourism, many locals have also learned English.
Why is Bora Bora a popular tourist destination?
Bora Bora is renowned for its stunning lagoon, barrier reef, luxury resorts (including over-water bungalows), and rich history.
What activities can tourists engage in while in Bora Bora?
Tourists can enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, exploring the lagoon, observing sharks and rays, and visiting World War II cannons.
How did Bora Bora play a role during World War II?
During World War II, the United States chose Bora Bora as a South Pacific military supply base, constructing an oil depot, airstrip, seaplane base, and defensive fortifications.
What is the main economy of Bora Bora?
The island’s economy is almost entirely driven by tourism, with several luxury resorts built on the surrounding motus (small islands) of the lagoon.