Waking up in an over water bungalow, you see the soaring forest covered twin peaks trying to touch the vast azure sky, in the midst of a lagoon reflecting the shades of blue and green, with distant views of white-sanded islets and all this surrounded by a shell-like necklace of coral reef – this is the trance like setting Bora Bora offers you.
Situated in the southern Pacific Ocean, Bora-Bora is a small volcanic island of French Polynesia, an overseas terrain governed by France. The island lies 230 km northwest of Pepeete, which is the capital of French Polynesia. It is a small island with a total area of about 29 km2. Vaitape, which lies on the western coast, is the major city and the most populated area on the island. The name Bora Bora supposedly originated from Pora Pora, which in Tahitian language means “first born”.
The temperature averages around 28°C all through the year, which means any time is perfect to take a dip in the crystalline lagoon waters. The weather always remains warm and pleasant. The South Pacific winds help to keep the area cool. The island experiences summers from December to March and this is the time when the region receives its maximum rainfall. As a result, this period is slightly warmer than the winter months, which are June to October. Naturally, winter is the most favored time for visitors as they are greeted with clear blue skies and long hours of sunshine.
Things to See and Do
- Explore the Island!
Yes, that’s probably the first thing you should do. Hire a car, scooter or bicycle if you want to go around the island by road or take a boat if you want to enjoy a lagoon tour. Mother Nature has truly blessed Bora Bora for wherever you look, you’ll find spellbinding beauty. You may take a guide or go alone, but experiencing the sights and scenes of this island is something you must do. A day is more than enough to circle the island and be stunned by the marvels of this little treasure land.
- Snorkel Your Way to The Corals
The world beneath the water wouldn’t be as spectacular hadn’t it been for the coral gardens. And Bora Bora is surrounded with them! So you can take your pick and swim with the fishes while enjoying the colorful coral at any spot you like. There are many tour operators who will take you to the best snorkeling spots, not just near the shore but farther away, too.
- Visit the Lagoonarium
Here you will find almost all the aquatic animals that dwell in the lagoon waters of the island. What makes this lagoonarium special is that you can swim along with the creatures and even touch them. Turtles, sharks, rays, dolphins and a variety of fishes! You can even be a part of the shark and ray feeding exhibition. Could it be more exciting?
- Take a Helicopter Tour
The land will mystify you, the lagoon will enchant you and the aerial view will definitely make your heart skip a beat. Not only can you enjoy the scenic beauty of the island and catch an amazing sight of Mount Otemanu, the highest point of the island, but also get a glimpse of the heart-shaped Tupai islet (motu).
- Adventure and other activities
Take a safari tour, climb atop Mt. Otemanu, camp in the woods, check out the fascinating Valley of Kings or the Cave of Anau, jet ski, parasail, kit board, ride the aqua bike, scuba dive, spend a day on a motu, relax at the Matira Beach, enjoy a soothing massage at a spa resort or simply watch the radiant sun as it sets, leaving behind a beautiful trail of colors.
Shop and Eat
There is a lot of variety in the local markets as well as the art galleries and studios where you can find beautiful handicrafts, paintings, shell jewelry, books, pottery, sculptures and even black pearls. Other local made products include woven baskets and hats, carved wooden decorations, handcrafted accessories, vibrant pareos and other souvenirs.
Nothing will taste better than fresh ocean fish in this Polynesian land. You may choose to eat other varieties of food but they might be more expensive as Bora Bora imports most of its food materials. Sticking to the local dishes will not only save you money, but also allow you to experience the uniqueness of the Bora Bora delicacies.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of options available as far as accommodation is concerned. Bora Bora is definitely expensive, but if you have the money you can choose to stay in the most luxurious of places else there are reasonably priced hotels, as well.
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is one of the best hotels in terms of luxurious amenities. Although, it is much expensive than the other hotels, the facilities and services it provides are state-of-the-art. It is the perfect choice for honeymooners and those who wish to indulge themselves in luxury.
Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa is another luxurious but exclusive resort of the region. The location of the resort is such that you can enjoy stunning views of the Tautau islet on one side and admire the magnificence of Bora Bora on the ocean side of the resort. The spacious over-water bungalows are built Polynesian style. There is a dive center that holds daily excursions for divers.
Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort & Private Island is located on the Matira Bay. It is much lowly priced as compared to the high-end resorts, although, the resort does offer good amenities. The bungalows have floor to ceiling windows, some have glass bottoms too, and the cabins are furnished with handcrafted and polished wood. There is an Asian restaurant, but if you prefer chefs will cook fresh Polynesian dishes right in front of you.
Hawaiki Nui is one of the nominally priced budget-hotel. It’s only a kilometer away from the city-center and thus, all the popular tourist spots can be reached with ease. The hotel offers a variety of water sports, both motorized and non-motorized. There’s an outdoor pool and garden, where guests can spend their day relaxing and enjoying panoramic views of the island.
Bora Bora’s boundless beauty attracts many tourists every year. It’s the most favored honeymoon destination, although, there are plethora of activities for families as well. It may be on the pricey side, but the experience is well worth it. Once you step on this island, you will know exactly why James Cook called it “The Pearl of The Pacific”.