The warm shallow water of Bora Bora’s majestic lagoon is world famous for its unspoilt beauty. Pristine white sand beaches line the main island and its motus (islets), providing the perfect backdrop for sunloving travellers.
Bora Bora lies 240 kilometres northwest of Tahiti in the Leeward Society Islands and impresses from the moment it comes into view on the short 50–minute flight from Tahiti. An exhilarating landing on a nearby motu emphasises the height of the island’s towering peak as well as the stunning array of greens and blues that make up Bora Bora’s famed lagoon. A short ride in a boat launch is all it takes from the airport on Motu Mute to Vaitape Village on the main island.
Local transport options include a local bus, known as Le Truck, or minivans to the numerous accommodation options available on Tahiti’s most developed island.
Resorts, hotels, pensions and camping grounds offer a host of tours and activities to keep visitors entertained, from outrigger speed canoe excursions and scuba diving, to picnics on motus, catamaran cruising and barbecue parties. Travellers can opt to browse local boutiques or discover the island’s secrets independently on foot.
A boat trip around the lagoon provides endless opportunities to snorkel and explore small motus on the way, and arrive in time to watch the regular feeding of sharks only a few metres away. Deep-sea fishing off the sheltered waters of Bora Bora offers the chance to catch marlin, yellowfin, tuna, sailfish, wahoo and mahi mahi.
Bora Bora is dotted with several maraes, temples of the ancient Polynesian religion. The most important marae is Marae Marotetini on the point west of Farepiti wharf, beyond a huge banyan tree. There is only one navigable pass on Bora Bora. It faces the principal village of Vaitape. A partially paved road circles the island passing colourful villages, archaeological sites, army bunkers and cannons remaining from World War II when 5000 American GIs arrived to defend the island.
The boutiques in many of the hotels are well stocked with suntan lotion, film, T-shirts, pareus, souvenirs and black pearls for that retail fix.
Fish is the staple of the Bora Bora natives. The local cuisine is a fine blend of traditional food and French items. The island has developed a distinctive taste of its own, spanning breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sushi is made with fresh fish and where sweet rice and local ingredients are added. Only fresh catches are used. The French introduced foie gras and which is subsequently mixed with the unique methods of island food.
Bora Bora is truly a majestic destination. You can explore its famed lagoons with the island’s clear and shallow waters acting as a magnet for divers. You can see the bright schools of tropical fish and corals from your glass bottomed boat. If you are here for a short period of time, consider hiring a jetski or a motorboat to circumnavigate the island, occasionally stopping at beaches or at a small motu on your planned path.