As the plane began its descent, dreamy atolls and lush islets came into view. It hit me then: Bora Bora wasn’t just another dot on the map. It was a dreamland, painted in every imaginable shade of blue and green. Known as the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’, this island’s untouched beauty had been calling me for a long time. From the second my feet touched the ground, the genuine warmth of the locals and the tranquil vibes of the island wrapped around me like a comforting blanket, whispering that Bora Bora was truly in a league of its own.
But Bora Bora’s magic isn’t just about its postcard views. Dive a little deeper, and you’ll discover a rich mosaic of culture and history in this gem in Oceania. Traditional Polynesian hamlets pepper the island, each telling tales of a time gone by. Wander through the local markets, and you’ll find handcrafted gems, each with a story as unique as the hands that made them.
And the island’s melodies? They’re the kind that tug at your heartstrings, whether it’s the gentle strumming of a ukulele or the pulsating rhythm of a traditional dance. Every second here feels like a dance with eternity. To help you make the most of your next trip, here are the best things to see and do in Bora Bora.
Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Bora Bora? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this heavenly vacation spot in French Polynesia. So keep reading to discover all these unique Bora Bora places to visit.
Are you looking to go snorkeling, scuba diving, paddleboarding, and do boat tours in crystal-clear lagoons? Or would you prefer to experience spa treatments, fine dining, and breathtaking sunset views? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Bora Bora can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Bora Bora that you should know about.
When you think of Bora Bora, the image that likely comes to mind is its clear blue waters. And there’s no better way to experience these waters than by snorkeling. The lagoons of Bora Bora are a snorkeler’s paradise, teeming with vibrant marine life. From colorful coral gardens to playful manta rays, the underwater world here is both diverse and mesmerizing.
Among the best things to do in Bora Bora, snorkeling undoubtedly tops the list. The island offers numerous snorkeling spots, each with its unique marine inhabitants. Matira Point, for instance, is a popular spot where you can swim alongside schools of tropical fish. For those keen on spotting larger marine creatures, the Coral Gardens are a must-visit. Here, you’ll find not only corals but also various species of rays and sharks.
For those who prefer a more laid-back experience, a lagoon cruise is a perfect choice. Drifting on the calm waters, you can witness the island’s beauty from a different perspective, with the backdrop of the setting sun adding to the magic.
While many resorts offer snorkeling gear and guided tours, you can also rent equipment from local vendors. Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or trying it for the first time, the waters of Bora Bora promise an unforgettable underwater adventure.
Bora Bora isn’t all about the beaches and lagoons; it’s also home to some impressive landscapes that beckon the more adventurous traveler. Mount Otemanu, the highest point on the island, stands as a testament to Bora Bora’s volcanic origins. Rising majestically, this extinct volcano reaches a height of 727 meters. It offers hiking trails that cater to both novices and seasoned trekkers.
The journey to the summit, while challenging, is incredibly rewarding. As you ascend, you’ll traverse dense tropical forests, coming across unique flora and fauna native to the island. The trails are well-marked, but hiring a local guide can enhance the experience, offering insights into the island’s history and legends.
Reaching the top, you’re greeted with panoramic views of the island and its surrounding atolls. The turquoise lagoons, contrasting with the deep blue of the Pacific, create a mesmerizing tableau. While Mount Otemanu might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Bora Bora, it’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a reminder that Bora Bora’s beauty extends beyond its beaches, offering adventures that are both thrilling and awe-inspiring.
Nestled in the turquoise embrace of Bora Bora’s lagoon lies the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, a haven of luxury and tropical elegance. Among its standout features are the overwater bungalows, which have become synonymous with the ultimate island getaway. Perched gracefully over the crystal-clear waters, these bungalows offer an immersive experience of the South Pacific’s charm.
Each bungalow at the resort is a masterclass in design, blending Polynesian aesthetics with contemporary comforts. Thatched roofs and wooden interiors evoke a sense of tradition, while modern amenities ensure a stay of utmost comfort. The bungalows’ glass floor panels are a highlight, offering guests a mesmerizing view of the marine world beneath their feet.
Beyond the interiors, the private decks of these bungalows are where many guests spend their time. Whether it’s diving straight into the lagoon or taking a morning swim, the moments are memorable. Enjoying a quiet evening or simply admiring the backdrop of a setting sun, the experiences are endless.
Choosing the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora for your stay is undeniably one of the coolest things to do in Bora Bora. It’s not just an accommodation; it’s an experience that encapsulates the essence of island luxury.
For those seeking an unparalleled marine adventure in Bora Bora, Bora Bora Aqua Safari is the go-to choice. This esteemed tour operator, situated on the island’s southern coast, has carved a niche for itself by offering immersive shark and ray feeding excursions. These excursions are both thrilling and educational.
The journey kicks off with a scenic boat ride departing from the main island. As you head to a tranquil spot within the lagoon, the anticipation builds. This particular location is renowned for its teeming marine life, making it an ideal setting for the day’s adventure. Once there, participants are greeted by the sleek forms of blacktip reef sharks. While their appearance might be intimidating, these creatures are more curious than threatening. Under the watchful eyes of experienced guides, you’ll learn about their habits, diet, and significance in the marine ecosystem.
The next stop is a shallow sandbank, a favorite haunt of the graceful stingrays. Here, surrounded by the azure waters, you’ll witness the gentle dance of these rays, their soft wings occasionally brushing against participants. The team at Bora Bora Aqua Safari ensures a comfortable and memorable experience, making it a top pick for travelers of all ages.
If you’re hunting for unique things to do in Bora Bora, look no further than the exhilarating parasailing adventures offered by Bora Bora Parasail. Located on the island’s western coast, this outfit is renowned for providing unparalleled aerial views of Bora Bora’s iconic landscapes.
The experience with Bora Bora Parasail is tailored for both novices and seasoned thrill-seekers. After a comprehensive safety briefing at their main dock, participants are whisked away on a speedboat to the launch point. The ascent is gradual, allowing you to acclimatize to the heights and soak in the expanding vistas. From this vantage point, landmarks like the Vaitape harbor become clearly visible. The distant barrier reef and the intricate network of motus (islets) also come into view.
The flight duration typically spans 15 to 30 minutes. However, the sensation of floating above one of the world’s most beautiful islands makes the experience feel timeless. The team at Bora Bora Parasail prioritizes safety and ensures that every participant returns with a story to tell. For a fresh perspective on Bora Bora’s beauty, this parasailing adventure is hard to beat.
For an adrenaline-packed adventure that also serves up some of the best views of Bora Bora, Matira Jet Tours is the place to be. Situated conveniently at Matira Beach, the island’s most famous stretch of sand, this company has built a reputation for offering top-notch jet ski experiences.
Starting your journey from Matira Beach, you’re in for a treat. The beach’s location on the southern tip of Bora Bora means you get to explore both the eastern and western coasts of the island. Under the guidance of experienced instructors from Matira Jet Tours, you’ll navigate the turquoise waters. You’ll pass iconic spots like the Povai Bay and the motus dotting the lagoon.
Midway through the tour, there’s a customary stop at one of these motus. Here, you can take a breather, snap some photos, and even learn about the local marine life from your guide. The return trip takes you back to Matira Beach. This offers more opportunities to marvel at Bora Bora’s landscapes and perhaps even spot marine creatures like rays or turtles.
For those seeking an action-packed way to explore Bora Bora’s beauty, Matira Jet Tours delivers in spades.
When it comes to iconic dining experiences in Bora Bora, Bloody Mary’s Restaurant and Bar is often at the top of the list. Established in 1979, this legendary spot has welcomed countless celebrities, travelers, and locals. They all come through its doors seeking a taste of its renowned cuisine and vibrant atmosphere.
The restaurant’s rustic Polynesian design, with sand floors and a thatched roof, sets the tone for an authentic island dining experience. The daily catch is displayed on ice, allowing guests to select their preferred seafood, which is then grilled to perfection. From mahi-mahi to tuna steaks, the flavors are fresh and delectable.
But it’s not just the food that draws people in. The bar, famous for its namesake cocktail, the Bloody Mary, offers a range of tropical drinks that perfectly complement the island vibes. Live local music in the evenings adds to the ambiance, making it a hotspot for both dining and entertainment.
For those seeking a memorable night out in Bora Bora, Bloody Mary’s is a must-visit. It’s a blend of delicious food, refreshing drinks, and the island’s spirited charm.
Vaitape, Bora Bora’s main village, offers a delightful blend of local culture, shopping, and dining experiences. While Bora Bora’s beaches and lagoons often steal the limelight, a visit to Vaitape provides a different kind of charm.
Located on the western side of the island, Vaitape is the commercial heart of Bora Bora. Here, you’ll find a mix of local shops selling handicrafts, pearls, and souvenirs. The Bora Bora Artisanat is a popular spot, showcasing the island’s rich artistic traditions, from intricate wood carvings to vibrant pareos.
Foodies will appreciate the range of eateries in Vaitape. From local food trucks serving Tahitian specialties to upscale restaurants offering French-Polynesian fusion dishes, there’s something for every palate. Don’t miss trying the fresh seafood, especially the poisson cru, a Tahitian raw fish salad.
For those interested in history, the Bora Bora WWII Guns are a short drive from Vaitape. These remnants from World War II offer a glimpse into the island’s past and provide panoramic views of the lagoon.
In essence, Vaitape is more than just a pit stop. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and get a taste of Bora Bora beyond its beaches.
Dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of marine turtles, the Bora Bora Turtle Sanctuary is an inspiring place. It showcases the island’s commitment to conservation. Located within the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort, this sanctuary is more than just a tourist attraction. It’s a haven for injured or sick turtles.
Visitors have the opportunity to observe green and hawksbill turtles in their recovery ponds, learning about the threats these creatures face in the wild. The sanctuary’s staff, passionate about their work, offer guided tours explaining the rehabilitation process and the importance of preserving Bora Bora’s marine ecosystem.
Among the unique things to do in Bora Bora, a visit to this sanctuary stands out. Not only do you get to witness these majestic creatures up close, but you also contribute to their protection. The sanctuary operates primarily on donations and the support of visitors, ensuring that they can continue their vital work.
For travelers keen on making a positive impact during their vacation, the Bora Bora Turtle Sanctuary is a must-visit. It’s a heartwarming experience that combines education with conservation.
Diving into Bora Bora’s waters to swim alongside sharks and rays is an experience that’s both thrilling and educational. While it might sound intimidating at first, it’s one of the safest and most unforgettable underwater adventures you can embark on.
When it comes to Bora Bora things to do, joining a Shark and Ray Snorkel Safari is high on the list for many visitors. Operated by Bora Bora Ocean Adventures, this tour takes you to the island’s best spots where these magnificent creatures congregate. After a safety briefing and gear fitting, you’ll head out into the lagoon with experienced guides.
In the crystal-clear waters, you’ll encounter blacktip reef sharks, lemon sharks, and the graceful stingrays. The guides ensure that interactions are respectful and non-invasive, preserving the natural behavior of these marine animals. Along the way, you’ll also learn about the importance of sharks and rays in the marine ecosystem and local conservation efforts to protect them.
Wrapping up with a leisurely snorkel among colorful coral gardens, this tour offers a perfect blend of excitement and learning, making it a must-try in Bora Bora.
Dive into a natural underwater playground at the Bora Bora Lagoonarium, a family-owned outdoor aquarium situated on a small islet. Unlike traditional aquariums, the Lagoonarium offers an interactive experience where you can swim alongside marine life in their natural habitat.
Guided by local experts, you’ll embark on snorkeling tours divided into different sections of the lagoon. Each section houses various marine species, from playful rays and sharks to colorful schools of fish. The guides are well-versed in the behaviors of these creatures. They ensure a safe and enlightening experience and even offer shark-feeding demonstrations for the more adventurous.
While the underwater world is the main attraction, the Lagoonarium also offers canoe tours around the islet. Paddle through serene waters, taking in the breathtaking views of Mount Otemanu and the surrounding lush landscapes.
The Lagoonarium also boasts a beachfront area where visitors can relax and soak up the sun after their aquatic adventures. Here, you can enjoy a traditional Polynesian lunch, with dishes prepared using fresh local ingredients. As you savor the flavors, the gentle sound of ukulele music often fills the air, enhancing the overall island experience.
For travelers looking to immerse themselves in Bora Bora’s marine biodiversity, the Lagoonarium is a top pick. It’s a blend of adventure and education, offering insights into the rich underwater world of the South Pacific.
Ditch the beach for a day and delve into Bora Bora’s lush interior with a 4×4 tour of the Valley of the Kings. This hidden gem, often overshadowed by the island’s famous lagoons, is a testament to Bora Bora’s rich history and culture.
The Valley, once the dwelling place of ancient Polynesian royalty, is a maze of archaeological sites and maraes (sacred temples). As you navigate the rugged trails, local guides share captivating tales of the island’s past, from legendary battles to ancient rituals.
One of the tour’s highlights is the ancient marae of Faanui, a stone temple surrounded by dense tropical vegetation. This site, with its moss-covered altars and petroglyphs, transports visitors back to a time when chiefs and priests held ceremonies here.
But it’s not just about history. The Valley offers breathtaking panoramic views. As your 4×4 climbs higher, you’re treated to vistas of Bora Bora’s iconic lagoon and the distant silhouette of Mount Otemanu.
Wrapping up the tour, many operators offer a taste of local fruits and delicacies. This gives travelers a flavor of the island’s culinary heritage. For those eager to see a different side of Bora Bora, the Valley of the Kings 4×4 tour is a journey worth taking.
Looking for more content on the top things to do in Bora Bora? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Bora Bora:
Bora Bora is primarily known for its stunning turquoise lagoons, luxurious overwater bungalows, and breathtaking coral reefs. It’s a dream destination for honeymooners and anyone looking for a slice of paradise. Beyond the postcard-perfect beaches, the island boasts a rich Polynesian culture, lush mountainous landscapes, and a variety of water and land-based activities.
While Bora Bora has a reputation for luxury resorts and high-end experiences, it’s possible to enjoy the island on a budget. There are affordable guesthouses, local eateries, and activities that won’t break the bank. Like any travel destination, with a bit of planning and research, you can find options that fit your budget and still experience the best of what the island offers.
The best time to visit Bora Bora is during its dry season, from May to October. During these months, you’ll experience less rainfall and more sunny days. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices. If you’re looking for fewer crowds and don’t mind occasional showers, consider visiting during the shoulder season.
How many days should you spend in Bora Bora?
The ideal length of stay in Bora Bora largely depends on your preferences, budget, and the activities you wish to pursue. However, for most visitors 3 to 5 days is a common duration for a trip to Bora Bora.
Here’s a general breakdown:
- 1-2 days: Relax and acclimate to the island. Enjoy your resort, take in the views, and perhaps indulge in a spa treatment. You can also explore Matira Beach, the island’s most famous public beach.
- Day 3: Take a lagoon excursion. This could include snorkeling, shark and ray feeding, and visiting some of the smaller islets (motus) around Bora Bora.
- Day 4: Engage in water activities such as paddleboarding, jet skiing, scuba diving, or deep-sea fishing. Alternatively, you could take a 4×4 tour or hike to explore the island’s interior and get panoramic views from viewpoints.
- Day 5: Consider a cultural activity, like a traditional Polynesian dinner show, or visit Vaitape, the main town, for shopping and dining. You might also opt for a romantic sunset cruise or a helicopter tour for a bird’s-eye view of the island.
For those looking for a more relaxed pace, or if you’re on a honeymoon or celebrating a special occasion, you might consider staying up to 7 days or more. This allows for more downtime, the opportunity to truly unwind, and the flexibility to explore the island at a leisurely pace. It also provides time for day trips to nearby islands or additional activities like diving courses or multiple spa treatments.
Absolutely! Bora Bora’s lagoons are not only stunning but also safe for swimming. The clear waters make it easy to spot marine life, and the coral reefs act as a natural barrier, keeping larger sea creatures at bay. Just remember to respect the marine environment and avoid touching or stepping on the coral.
Did you know that Bora Bora doesn’t have any snakes? That’s right! This tropical paradise is not only renowned for its crystal-clear waters and luxurious resorts but also for being a snake-free island. It’s a unique aspect that adds to the allure of this destination, especially for those who might have a phobia of these slithering creatures. So, you can explore the lush landscapes with an added peace of mind.
Absolutely! Bora Bora is often dubbed the “Pearl of the Pacific” for good reason. Its mesmerizing blue lagoons, vibrant coral reefs, and iconic overwater bungalows make it a dream destination for many. While it’s often associated with luxury and honeymoons, the island offers a diverse range of activities and cultural experiences that cater to all types of travelers. Whether you’re diving with rays, hiking up Mount Otemanu, or simply soaking in the sun, Bora Bora promises an unforgettable experience.
What do tourists typically do when visiting Bora Bora?
Bora Bora, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Pacific,” is a dream destination for many travelers due to its stunning turquoise lagoon, lush landscapes, and luxurious overwater bungalows. When visiting Bora Bora, tourists typically engage in the following activities:
- Overwater Bungalows: Many visitors choose to stay in iconic overwater bungalows, which offer direct access to the lagoon and breathtaking views of Mount Otemanu.
- Lagoon Excursions: Tourists often take boat tours around the lagoon, which may include shark and ray feeding excursions, snorkeling in coral gardens, and romantic sunset cruises.
- Water Sports: The crystal-clear waters of Bora Bora are perfect for activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, paddleboarding, jet skiing, and parasailing.
- Matira Beach: This is Bora Bora’s most famous public beach, known for its soft white sand and calm waters. It’s a great spot for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the sunset.
- Mount Otemanu: Adventurous travelers can take guided hikes or 4×4 tours to the base or partway up this extinct volcano, which is the highest point on the island.
- Spa Treatments: Many of the luxury resorts offer spa treatments that incorporate Polynesian techniques and natural ingredients. It’s a perfect way to relax and rejuvenate.
- Polynesian Culture: Tourists can experience traditional Polynesian dance shows, often held during dinner at resorts. Some tours also offer visits to ancient marae (temples) and other cultural sites.
Bora Bora is more than just postcard-perfect views and luxury resorts. It’s a destination that offers a blend of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion. From its iconic lagoons to the local Polynesian traditions, there’s a depth to this island that many travelers might overlook.
Sure, flying to Bora Bora is a top pick for honeymooners, but solo adventurers, families, and groups will find plenty to keep them engaged. Whether you’re diving into its underwater world, exploring its rugged terrains, or simply chatting with locals at a Vaitape café, Bora Bora has a way of leaving an indelible mark on its visitors. It’s not just a place to visit; it’s an experience to be savored.