Bora Bora Shore Excursions – Arrival
The Oceania Marina arrived from Rangiroa in the afternoon. Our approach to Bora Bora was spectacular. The ship slipped through the narrow gap in the reef and nestled up against the small village of Vaitape in the lagoon. From there passengers took a short tender ride to the village. Locals were out at the pier offering discounted tours of the island by land or by sea. We used credits with Oceania for our tours, but prices offered by locals were less than half the rate offered by the ship.
Bora Bora Shore Excursions – Circle Island Tour
The Le Truck Circle Island Tour was our first Bora Bora Shore Excursion. These open air buses travel a full circle around the island on its only road. A guide narrates the trip. One of our first stops, was the opportunity to buy sarongs (pareos) at a small outdoor shop. From there, we passed an abandoned World War II cannon. Then we drove by the waterfront bungalow where Marlon Brando lived for many years. Next we arrived at Taihi Point with great views at the northern tip of the island.
The tour passed through a grove of trees where crabs had made burrows in the soil. We threw our supplied flowers out the windows to them. The crabs quickly gathered up the flowers. On a small hill, we stopped and got out to admire the view. The Four Seasons was before us on the outer reef. The hotel was set behind the beautiful blue waters of the lagoon. As we traveled down the east side of the island we caught glimpses of the other luxury hotels on the outer reef, like the St Regis and the InterContinental Thalasso.
Our next stop was at Matira Point on the southern tip of the island. We walked along Matira Beach. This is the only real beach on the main island, but there are lots of great beaches on the small motus (islands) surrounding it. Our final stop on the Circle Island Tour was Bloody Mary’s. This bar is famous for its sand floor. You can check your shoes at the door when you arrive.
Bora Bora Shore Excursions – Sunset Cruise
Later that same day we took the sunset cruise. Oceania subcontracted this tour to Moana Adventure Tours. Before sunset, we wandered through the lagoon and out to the island home of the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Nui. It was closed for renovation, because they were converting to their Conrad name. The late afternoon lighting on the west side of the island was amazing in the clear blue skies. The tour provided fruits, drinks and non stop Polynesian music. As we watched the sun set, a black tipped reef shark circled the boat in search of food scraps. On the ride home, a full moon rose over the two volcanic peaks of Bora Bora. This was an enchanting experience.
Bora Bora Shore Excursions – Sharks & Rays
The next morning I took the Shark and Ray Bora Bora Shore Excursion. Oceania organized this tour, but it was the same Moana Adventure Tours boat that I rode the evening before. The tide was very low for this excursion, so the stingrays were in water that was less than knee deep. Small reef sharks darted about between people’s legs. It was sub par when compared to the similar tour I’d done in my Moorea Stingray Reef Shark Snorkel.
The school of raccoon butterflies that approached me was the best part of the tour for me. They all came right up against my snorkel mask, so that I couldn’t see anything but their darting, twisting motions. The water is extremely clear in Bora Bora, so this experience was special. I returned to the group of tropical fish twice after that. Each time they repeated their close up dance in front of my snorkel mask. This was the highlight of the snorkel experience for me.
Next the tour headed to the Coral Garden and we snorkeled among the coral. Large sized clams were scattered through the coral. The clams were bright blue or purple in color, which made this a unique adventure. The wind came up during our time at the Coral Garden and rain clouds began to threaten. The last part of our tour was supposed to be a deep water snorkel, but our guide said conditions weren’t right. We were all quite disappointed when they abruptly ended the tour and returned to the dock.