When it is approached by air, it is placed in the middle of the ocean, like a jewel surrounded by a wreath of shades of blues, we understand immediately why Bora bora is named by the entire world “The Pearl of the Pacific”.
True jewel of the seas, this coveted island is the second most popular after Tahiti. “Mai te pura”, the island created by the gods welcomes you…
The island of Bora bora:
What strikes one first when arriving in Bora bora, and what has made its reputation, is its lagoon. Three times the size of the main island, it constitutes a natural aquarium protecting and sheltering an exceptional underwater biodiversity. It is indeed one of the few lagoons in Polynesia where the Manta Rays still come to relax their huge wings…
The coral reef has only one pass called the Teavanai Pass, to the west. It is the only gateway for boats wishing to enter this magical place.
The island has an area of 38 km2 and is only 9 km wide at most. Its terrain is made of a basaltic chain that reflects its volcanic origin and offers an impressive landscape. The highest peak is the famous Mount Otemanu and rises to 727m. 3 beautiful bays sculpture the main island, offering the locals and tourists postcards beaches and landscapes.
But if the island is so famous it is also for its history and the presence of American troops during the Second World War from 1942 to 1946. We owe them many facilities on the island and in particular the airstrip that has been for a while the longest in Polynesia.
The must-sees / Things to do in Bora Bora:
The eight abandoned cannons:
From the American presence and Operation Bobcat during the Second World War, today remains 8 cannons abandoned to their sad fate. If their use was destined to dark uses, they constitute today a quest for many tourists who go to their research on the heights of the island to be able to touch more closely this part of the history of the Pacific and of America.
If you want to know more about past history, Bora bora will reveal to you its twenty marae located mostly on its shores. If the marae of the island seem neglected and poorly maintained, they still have mystical atmosphere. The marae Fare Rua located on Farepiti Point was the most important. Its altar, surrounded by slabs erected more than 3 meters high, is almost 50 meters long. If all are not freely accessible, do not hesitate to ask the locals’ permission so that you do not commit any blunder when visiting these sacred places.
The Turtle Stone:
According to local legends, the island’s creation is linked to a large stone shaped like a turtle. Still visible today on the island, it is named “Ofa’i-Honu”. According to Kenneth Emory, this stone is the ancestor of the island and its leaders. It can be found in the center of the Ti’ipoto caldera on the Vai’ati land, a few steps from the river. Petroglyphs representing turtles are engraved on this stone and show the importance that Polynesians attached to this animal often offered to the gods.
The famous lagoon:
It is difficult to miss one of the most famous lagoons in the world! The shades of blue that animate it are breathtaking. Protected from the swirl of the ocean thanks to its unique pass, it shelters many multicolored fishes and other underwater species. With its coral gardens, coral reefs, fine sand islets circling these treasures, it is clear that a substantial part of your stay will revolve around the lagoon!
The Matira beach:
If you stay in one of the hotels located on the islets around the lagoon, you will certainly have access to a sublime beach. On the other hand, when you come to the main island or if your accommodation does not have a beach, you have to know that Matira beach is the only public one on the island. 2km long, it offers an expanse of fine white sand that is the envy of many. Its coconut trees will shelter you from the sun and in front of it, an access to the lagoon in shallow and sandy waters make it a paradise while swimming with tropical fishes.
What activities to practice?
A lagoon tour:
Number one activity in Bora bora: boating on this majestic lagoon! Over the water, your guide will tell you all his secrets and will lead you to the best places to observe the most beautiful underwater species.
Whether you are a novice or an expert, what could be more magical than a dive in Bora bora! Manta rays, lemon sharks, black tip sharks, stingrays and other underwater wonders will surround. And in season with a little luck, you may be able to see and hear the song of the whales…
Very popular with visitors, a jet-ski experience on this gradient of blue will take you at full speed to wonderful spots. After relaxing breaks and well-deserved swimming sessions, you will ride on this huge lagoon. It simply feels like flying above this little paradise. Highly recommended to thrill seekers.
For a quieter option you can choose a parasailing experience. Towed by a boat, you are lifted 100 meters above the lagoon. You will admire the full dimension of the landscape. Like a frigate bird, you will fly over the lagoon and be free to observe all the details of this magical setting.
4WD or quad tour of the island:
But there is more to Bora bora than its lagoon! Its main island deserves just as much attention! Discover its relief and its hidden wonders with a 4WD tour or for more sensation by quad! Explore the lush vegetation!
A seaplane tour:
Departing from Bora bora you will fly over the island, its lagoon and its striking relief and then go on to discover the neighboring island Tupai, the famous atoll in the shape of a heart. A privileged point of view to admire these jewels of the pacific from the sky.
Where to stay?
The island is renowned around the world for its luxury accommodations with the most beautiful 5 stars hotels in Polynesia. All located on private islets surrounding the lagoon, they offer upscale accommodation ranging from the famous overwater bungalow to the bungalow on a white sand beach. A memorable exquisite experience if your budget allows it.
Simpler and more affordable hotels also exist on the main island, do not hesitate to ask us for advice.
For another experience, you can also choose to stay in a guesthouse, allowing you to enjoy an authentic and equally attractive experience.
Tama’a ! It’s time to eat:
All the resorts on the islets will offer you dining options ranging from the pool bar to the gourmet restaurant. But if you want to leave your resort, know that on the main island several restaurants will also be happy to welcome you.
The Bloody Mary’s is the landmark of stars on the island. With its woven pandanus leaves roof and its typical Polynesian architecture, this restaurant embodies the tiki spirit and has maintained its authenticity since 1979. Renowned for its dishes with both local and international influences, the establishment has always welcomed a privileged clientele that appreciates the atmosphere of yesteryear. In addition to being easily accessible by car and boat, this is the perfect place to have lunch, dinner or simply have a drink at the end of the day…
For a romantic overwater dinner option there is the St James. For lunch or dinner, here you can enjoy a moment of relaxation and a taste that will delight the connoisseur.
The Bora bora Yacht Club will also welcome you for an unforgettable sunset dinner. With its exceptional view, this restaurant will offer you several options depending on the time of the day. But no matter the moment, there is no doubt that you’ll enjoy a delicious meal served by friendly staff.
If you stay in one of the hotels located on the islets surrounding the lagoon, you will have to take the shuttle organized by your hotel to go to the main island.
Once on the island, several options are available.
You can use a taxi to get to a specific point, and it is better to book them before. Do not expect to find a taxi rank! You can also rent a car or a scooter that will allow you to discover the island at your own pace and in complete freedom.
Finally, if you want to go on an islet, you can take a taxi boat or even rent your own boat if you feel like it!
The possibilities are countless, it all depends on your desires and your budget.
How to get there?
If the island once hosted international flights, today you will have to go through Tahiti first.
You will then take a Tahiti-Bora bora flight that will take you less than an hour to the heart of this little paradise.
Sea shuttles also exist from Raiatea. Feel free to contact us if you want more information.
The weather point:
Like Tahiti, the island is influenced by a tropical climate. This means that the year is divided into two seasons. The warm season (November to March), which is mainly characterized by abundant rainfalls and moist heat, and the season we call the Austral winter (April to October), which is drier and where temperatures are more bearable. We advise you to plan your holidays during this austral winter as you will have more chances to enjoy the nice weather while avoiding the stifling temperatures of the hot season.
Our little extras:
There are two must-attend events.
In July, the Heiva i Bora bora, brings together all the dance troupes for a competition feet in the sand! A true demonstration of what the Tahitian dance has to offer. Make sure to book your seats if you travel there around these dates. The festive and good-natured atmosphere that highlights this event will sure delight you. The rhythm of local percussions and scents of plant costumes and wreaths of flowers will be fondly remembered.
Between October and November, there is a major sporting event for Polynesians: the Hawaiki Nui. International competition, this fierce race of vaa’a (canoe) tests the best paddlers of the Pacific but also from Europe. It takes place in lagoons and on the high sea between Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a and ends in apotheosis in the lagoon of Bora bora with an arrival on the famous beach of Matira. You can immerse yourself in the adrenaline of an impressive competition that animates all Polynesians. The welcome to the riders upon their arrival is a show not to be missed if you are around!