Visit Bora Bora – See the Sights
- Stay in an overwater bungalow when you visit Bora Bora. This is is the trademark of tourism in French Polynesia. Expect to snorkel right from the bungalow or anywhere else in the shallow waters of the lagoon.
- Feed the sharks and stingrays in the lagoon. Standard tours usually include 3 parts with snorkeling in the “Coral Garden”, feeding sting rays and black tipped reef sharks in the shallow water and snorkeling in deeper water. Tours operate within the calm waters inside the reef. Some tours offer a chance to swim with larger lemon sharks. Other tours visit the Lagoonarium, which is a natural snorkel area accessed by a private motu island on the east side of the island. Tours are usually less than 4 hours. Many offer an extended version with lunch on a motu (very small island).
- Take a land based Circle Island tour. Options include a taxi cab, a scooter rental or Le Truck tour on an open air bus. Visit several ancient temple ruins. See Matira Point and Matira Beach. Fitiiu Point still has rusted cannons from World War II and Taihi Point has nice views. Le Truck tours of the island also stop at sarong shops and pearl vendors as they circle the island.
- Circle Bora Bora by boat or jet ski. This offers a unique perspective on the island and much better views than circling the island in a vehicle.
- Bloody Mary’s – a restaurant with sand floors, coconut stools and great food has become a classic stop for visitors to Bora Bora. Take a cab from Vaitape or shuttles operate during cruise ship visits.
Tours from Bora Bora
Cruise ships are infrequent in Bora Bora and the locals are glad to provide services to the influx of visitors. Cruise ship passengers will find many providers waiting on the docks at Vaitape with tour options at a savings from rates offered on the ship. Guests at hotels will find that they can arrange tours with the hotel. Some providers to consider are:
Bora Bora Hotel Recommendations
- Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora – on a motu island.
- InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort – at Matira Beach.
- The St Regis Bora Bora Resort – on a motu.
- Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island – on a motu.
- Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa – on To’opua motu.
- Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort on Tevairoa.
- InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa – on a motu.
- Le Meridien Bora Bora – on a motu.
Visit Bora Bora – Transportation
Visit Bora Bora by taking a one hour flight from Tahiti. The airport is located on one of the reefs (motus) surrounding the island. Airfare includes a ferry ride to Vaitape, but some hotels will pick up passengers in their own boats at the airport. The island is also accessible on cruise ships touring French Polynesia. Cruise ships enter the lagoon through a narrow gap in the atoll reef surrounding the entire island. They anchor near the town of Vaitape and tender passengers to shore for excursions. The island has a 22 miles long road around its perimeter. Le Truck makes circle island tours whenever cruise ships are in port. It operates a much less predictable schedule at other times.
Weather in Bora Bora
Expect very little variation in temperatures throughout the year. Average highs will be about 85 F (30 C) and lows will average 75 F (23 C). The rainy season extends from November to April. Even though December and January have high rainfall, the amount of daily sunshine is fairly consistent on a year round basis. Temperatures can be a few degrees higher from November to April, because Bora Bora is south of the equator. June through October are the popular tourists months, because they are dry and warm.
Visit Bora Bora – See More Sights
- Take a 4×4 excursion and ascend to the center of the island for fabulous views out over the lagoon. Check out World War II artillery cannons abandoned in the hills.
- Le Meridien Bora Bora operates a private turtle sanctuary. Contact the hotel directly to arrange a visit. Access is by boat, as they are not on the main central island.
- Have lunch at the Hilton Nui Bora Bora or the St Regis. They offer shuttle boats from the main island.
- Look for manta rays just outside the reef.
- Enjoy a dinner/dance Polynesian show at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort, the Hilton Bora Bora Nui, the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa or the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. These hotels all offer accommodation in overwater bungalows. Have breakfast delivered by canoe.
- Shop for black pearls at several well known pearl shops in Vaitape.
Visit Bora Bora – Background
Bora Bora is located about 140 miles (230 km) northwest of Tahiti. The island is sometimes called the Romantic Island and author James Michener called it the “most beautiful island in the world”. A trip around the main island covers only 20 miles (30 km). The island’s population is about 10,000. The Bora Bora lagoon covers more area than the island. It has several overwater bungalow resorts.
Vaitape is the arrival point by ferry from the airport and is the only village of any size on the island. At the southern tip of the main section of the island, Matira is the location of the largest beach. The central part of the island is extremely mountainous, difficult to access and uninhabited. Unlike Tahiti and Moorea, most resorts on Bora Bora are not located on the island, but rather in the lagoons and small motus (reef islands) that surround it. This gives most resorts amazing views of the lagoon and its volcanic peaks.
Bora Bora’s two peaks are side by side and yet they couldn’t be more different. Mount Pahia has a traditional volcanic cone shape. Mount Otemanu is taller and one of the most distinctive peaks in the world. From east or west it can appear to be sharply conical while in other views it is an impressive rectangular block with a slightly bevelled top.