Bora Bora is a small island in French Polynesia northwest of Tahiti in the South Pacific. It is hard to imagine any place on Earth with so much beauty concentrated in just one spot. The small, lush island is surrounded by tiny islets fringed with sparkling white sand and a blue lagoon surrounded by a barrier coral reef. In the heart of the island is an extinct volcano with its one peak, Mount Otemanu, piercing the sky at 2,385 feet.
© Courtesy of eSchmidt - Fotolia.com
Matira Beach is often mentioned as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This mile-long stretch of superb white sand is located at the southern tip of Bora Bora and is lined by stately palm trees with magnificent a background of lush green hills. Bordered on both sides by private beaches, Matira is the only public beach on the island worth visiting and access is free to anyone. The swimming and snorkeling are superb here and the fine white sand gently slopes into a soft sandy lagoon that is perfectly warm and shallow. The sea bottom is flat and sandy, free of sharp coral, so it is easy to walk on. It is a perfect place to bring the kids for a frolic in the calm, warm water. During low tide, it is possible to wade from Matira Point to the barrier reef, the water is very shallow.
© Courtesy of Konstantin Kulikov - Fotolia.com
You can see Mount Otemanu from any spot on Bora Bora. Its black rugged slopes are spectacular in contrast to the lush jungle surrounding it and azure blue lagoon below. While all of Bora Bora is the result of an ancient volcano, fortunately now extinct , Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia are the most evident remnants. Mount Otemanu reaches 2,385 feet and is a popular hiking destination. You can hike only to the base, and even that is best done with the help of a local guide. The summit is impossible to reach because of the fragile volcanic rock, which cannot support the weight of an average human, although that does not mean that avid climbers are not trying. According to the locals, nobody has managed to do it yet. However, the mountain is so beautiful and picturesque that the trip to the base is worth it just to get some really spectacular photos. Look for the old American WWII cannons scattered about the jungle as well as some ancient local altars.
3.Tahiti Pearl Market
© Tahiti Pearl Market
Tahitian pearls are among the most beautiful and most desired in the world and the Tahiti Pearl Market is a family business that cultivates, sets into jewelry, and sells magnificent locally harvested pearls. Their adventure started on the atoll of Takaroa and has grown into a much larger operation that now cultures pearl oysters on five atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago. Different locations produce a wide range of colors, sizes, and quality. This Tahiti traditional trade gives employment to a large number of native people - just one of these farms employs 40 people on the small atoll of Ahe. They include divers who collect the pearl oysters from 20 feet under water. Tahiti Pearl Market offers their customers the unique opportunity to select the pearl of their choice among thousands of pearls and have them mounted on the setting they wish.
25, Rue Colette, BP 3396 PPT, Papeete 98713, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-40-54-30-60
4.Paroisse Saint Pierre-Celestin Church
© Paroisse Saint Pierre-Celestin Church
The only Catholic Church in Bora Bora, Paroisse Saint Pierre Célestin, is located in the heart of Vaitape and is one of the town's main attractions, but also a place where locals gather for Sunday Mass and various religious holidays. This little gem was designed by architect David Chanvin in the style that nicely blends with the surrounding local architecture. It was built at the initiative of Father Emile, at one time the parish priest of the Leeward Islands. Beautiful, colorful stained-glass windows represent the seven sacraments and were made by Atelier Mari & Femme. Instead of glass, they are made of durable laminated glass in order to resist strong winds in the area.
Centre de Vaitape, Village Principal de l'île, Vaitape, French Polynesia
5.Things to Do in Bora Bora: Aqua Safari
© Aqua Safari
Bora Bora is famous for its spectacular watersports, especially scuba diving. But even if you are not scuba certified and are not willing or able to invest the time to learn to dive, you can still enjoy the beauty of Bora Bora's underwater world with the help of Aqua Safari and their unique diving helmet. You will be walking on a sandy bottom in about three meters of water surrounded by colorful fish, sea grasses, and all sorts of underwater plants and animals, and you will not even get your hair wet. The Aqua Safari team will pick you up at your hotel, give you basic safety instructions, and, once they place a helmet on your head, guide you under water. This activity is so safe that even 6-year old kids can enjoy it. The experience of being so close to the colorful clownfish, eagle rays, or maybe even a shark is unforgettable.
Bay of Povai, French Polynesia, Tel. +689-87-28-87-77
© Aquabike Adventure
Imagine exploring one of Bora Bora's turquoise lagoons on board an open underwater scooter for two! You can only experience it in Bora Bora and on Maurice Island and nowhere else. Your scooter will be slowly immersed in water from a platform and once underwater, you will be able to explore the lagoon and the rich marine life in the company of a scuba diver. Your head will be covered with a glass helmet and you will be able to breathe normally. The aquabike is powered by electric propulsion and is autonomous - you can move freely. The dive will take about 40 minutes and you will travel about 1.5 km at the depth of about 15 feet. You have to be 16 to pilot the aquabike and the kids have to be eight years or older to be passengers.
BP 795, Bora Bora 98730, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-87-76-60-61
7.Bora Art Upstairs
© Bora Art Upstairs
Located in the center of Vaitape village, the gallery Bora Art Upstairs features the best permanent collection of paintings in Bora Bora, representing ten local artists with more than 100 original artworks inspired by Polynesian culture. The artworks are created in different styles and techniques using different media: Acrylic and oil on canvas, paper or wood, watercolors, lithographs, reproductions, prints, posters, tiki, tapa, and pareos. The gallery also offers books on local art. One of the local artists represented in the gallery is Marco Lundi, who has a number of paintings in acrylic and oil, on canvas or paper, as well as some of his reproductions and posters.
Vaitape Village, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-40-67-71-82
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8.Bora Bora Explorer
© Bora Bora Explorer
To truly enjoy Bora Bora's breathtaking beauty, you need an experienced guide. Bora Bora Explorer offers land and water adventures, half day or full day, during the day and at night. There is something for everyone here and their experienced and knowledgeable guides will take you on their comfortable off-road vehicles to Bora Bora's less known and most secluded spots. They will share island stories and legends of Polynesian chiefs and gods and show you World War II canons and tell you how the war affected the island. You will swim or stroll along sands of Matira, one of world's best beaches, and if you decide to go on a sea tour, the boat will pick you up at your hotel and take you exploring in Bora Bora's magnificent lagoon, swimming with stingrays and sharks, before taking you for a locally made lunch on a small private island. You might even want to combine land and sea tours for a really unforgettable experience.
Vaitape, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-89-45-45-45
9.Bora Dream Pictures & Lagoon Tours
© Bora Dream Pictures & Lagoon Tours
Whether you are coming to Bora Bora on a honeymoon or just enjoying the breathtakingly beautiful scenery, you will want to take some great photos to remind you of your perfect visit. With Bora Dream Pictures and Lagoon Tours, you get to combine a tour of the lagoon on a luxury boat with photos taken by a professional photographer. There is a range of excursions to choose from, offering the discovery of less-known spots in the privacy and total comfort of a beautiful boat. Your guide not only has a university degree in earth and sea sciences, but is also a professional, highly experienced photographer. You will receive high-definition fantastic photos of your trip after they have been edited and processed. You can also choose a trip without photos, or just hire a photographer for a photoshoot wherever you want on Bora Bora.
BP 1448, Vaitape 98730, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-87-33-65-85
10.Lagoon Service Bora Bora
© Lagoon Service Bora Bora
Hop aboard one of the lovely traditional outrigger canoes and enjoy a full circle of Bora Bora island surrounded by crystal-clear waters filled with marine life. Stop to snorkel in the colorful coral gardens and watch your guide feed the stingrays. Snorkel among reef and lemon sharks outside the reef. If you opt for a full-day tour, you will also have a picnic lunch on a private motu and enjoy delicious the fresh local food. For a romantic tour, enjoy a sunset cruise around the lagoon or a romantic dinner cruise - after the sun is set your guide will take you to a small private motu where you will enjoy a romantic three-course dinner of lobster, Champagne, and wine set at the table over the water.
Vaitape 98730, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-87-75-69-57
11.Things to Do in Bora Bora: MaiKai Bora Bora
© MaiKai Bora Bora
Located in the prestigious MaiKai Bora Bora Marina and Yacht Club, MaiKai Bora Bora is an elegant, upscale restaurant overlooking the sea, offering French, international, and Polynesian cuisine. MaiKai offers casual as well as intimate dining options and treats its guests with beautiful décor and an idyllic setting. Chef Teiva Tapare and his staff use only the best quality fresh ingredients for the daily menu and specials, focusing on steaks and seafood. Vegetarian dishes are also available and the chef is always willing to accommodate guests with special needs, ensuring that every guest enjoys a perfect experience. The MaiKai Lounge Bar offers signature martinis and original exotic island drinks.
B.P. 162, Bora Bora, Vaitape 98730, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-60-38-00
© Maohi Nui
Experiencing Bora Bora with Maohi Nui and local legend Patrick Tairua is very special experience. Patrick will show you his island from the water and from the land and tell you stories and legends, share with you his knowledge of history, nature, and his native culture. You can choose the lagoon excursion on board a traditional outrigger canoe and your guide will entertain you by playing ukulele while you enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the lagoon or swim and snorkel with stings rays, reef sharks, and turtles. You can also go for a Polynesian feast on a private motu, where you will enjoy a traditional meal while sitting in the water with a cold drink in your hand. See the spectacular views from the island heights during the 4X4 safari excursion, or even get married in the Polynesian tradition. There is no more romantic place than Bora Bora.
Matira Beach, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-791-911
13.Moana Adventure Tours
© Moana Adventure Tours
Whatever your idea of Bora Bora adventure, Moana Adventure Tours will help you make it true. They have a fleet of 14 boats and 16 jet skis and you can have totally private tour, go in a small or large group, join one of organized tours, or even have a tour custom made just for you. Some of the tours offered include: The 2-hour-long Romantic Sunset Cruise - enjoy the views of the sea in all its glory with a glass of Champagne in your hand- spend 4 hours on a Blue Lagoon Cruise, take a romantic escape with a barbecue lunch on a private motu, go on a lagoon safari, get your adrenaline flowing with jet ski tours, and so much more. For honeymooners, there is a delicious picnic on a private motu while your feet dangle in the lagoon. There is a glass-bottomed boat for those who would rather stay dry. Avid fishermen can go fishing inside and outside the lagoon, and independent types can rent a boat and have their own adventure.
Pofai Bay, Vaitape 98730, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-87-78-27-37
14.Things to Do in Bora Bora: Moi Here
© Courtesy of MaMi - Fotolia.com
Located just off Bora Bora's main road, which loops around the island, and about a 10-minute drive from Vaitape, Moi Here is Bora Bora's version of a fast food restaurant. Only steps away from the lovely blue lagoon, on the fine white sandy beach of Matira Point, Moi Here is a quaint, traditional thatched hut that serves everyone who comes to Matira beach, the main public beach on the island. You can expect a decent meal that is reasonably priced, with many comfort foods foreign tourists crave when travelling abroad - juicy burgers, steak sandwiches, and much more. The view of the lagoon and the beach from the restaurant is fantastic, the vibe is relaxed and friendly, and you will often find a mix of guests, including some from the big expensive resorts next door.
15.Parasail in Bora Bora
© Courtesy of su171186 - Fotolia.com
You can see Bora Bora from the sea and from the land, and it is beautiful everywhere you look. But just imagine if you were high up above the sea, the beaches, the lagoon, the reefs, and the mountains - and even the eagle rays and turtles swimming in the shallow crystal-clear waters - and could see it all below you like a giant colorful canvas. Parasail in Bora Bora offers unique way to experience Bora Bora by flying below a colorful parachute pulled by a boat. The departure is at the Novotel pontoon close to the Sofitel Marara Beach Resort. Both the takeoff and landing are from the boat, the safest way to parasail. The trip lasts about one hour, but the experience will last a lifetime.
Unnamed Road French Polynesia, Phone: +1 714-795-6550
16.Pure Snorkeling by Reef Discovery
© Pure Snorkeling by Reef Discovery
Pure Snorkeling by Reef Discovery offers a unique snorkeling tour with four stops at different locations around the island. For about 3.5 hours, you'll snorkel in warm, shallow, crystal-clear waters in the carefully preserved healthy, colorful coral gardens of the Bora Bora lagoon. You will see moray eels, anemone fish, eagle rays, manta rays and so much more. You will be accompanied by trained and very knowledgeable guides who will take care of your safety and also teach you about the environment and species you encounter. The tour is suitable for all ages and the groups are small, ensuring full attention to each guest. Snorkeling is the perfect way to see underwater life without having to invest time in the training and equipment necessary for scuba diving.
Vaitape 98730, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-87-76-43-43
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17.Restaurant Matira Beach
© Restaurant Matira Beach
Restaurant Matira Beach is an elegant, beautiful restaurant on the popular public Matira Beach, on the very edge of the sand and overlooking the crystal-clear waters of the lagoon. Spacious dining rooms are all open to fresh breezes and spectacular views, while the comfortable, classy furniture creates a luxurious vibe in a traditional Bora Bora setting. Chef Tuaiva and his wife Margiane offer a light snack menu for lunch, great sushi at the sushi bar, and New Zealand beef and local specialties for dinner. The restaurant is as inviting for large group dinners as it is for romantic meals for two. There is a cozy bar, a reception room, a lovely outdoor terrace, and even a room for kids.
Matira, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-40-67-79-09
18.Vitamin Sea Bora Bora
© Vitamin Sea Bora Bora
The colorful catamaran Vitamin Sea is well-known feature around Bora Bora, famous the world over for its fantastic tours of Bora Bora. You can opt for a half-day trip, in group or private, that includes a smooth sail through the lagoon, spectacular views of Otemanu Mountain, passing beautiful rays in the clear, shallow waters and taking you close to the spot where the lagoon opens onto the ocean. Enjoy a swim in clear, warm waters and, even more, a floating bar with drinks and fresh snacks. The Circle Island Tour is a wonderful opportunity to see the whole of Bora Bora Island in 6 hours and includes lunch at the Bora Bora Yacht Club. The Local Motu Experience Tour includes a stop at stunning Paradise Bay for a drink at the floating bar and lunch on the little motu.
BP 345, Vaitape 98730, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-87-37-77-27
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19.Alain Despert Studio
© Alain Despert Studio
Alain Despert is French artist who settled in Bora Bora in 1986 and became world famous for his paintings of vivid, colorful scenes of Bora Bora life, tikis, the lagoon and the open sea beyond. His studio, located on the hill above Matira Beach, can be visited by appointment. Despert paints using enamel and acrylic on canvas and his paintings cover a wide range of subjects such as Cars of the Fifties, Dante's Divine Comedy, Absolute Despert, and others. His paintings hang in the number of galleries all over the world and are part of many private collections. Visiting his studio in Bora Bora is a unique opportunity to see a large number of his paintings and actually meet the artist.
BP 524, Vaitape 98730, French Polynesia, Phone: +689-87-71-78-06
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20 Best Things to Do in Bora Bora
- Matira Beach, Photo: Courtesy of eSchmidt - Fotolia.com
- Mount Otemanu, Photo: Courtesy of Konstantin Kulikov - Fotolia.com
- Tahiti Pearl Market, Photo: Tahiti Pearl Market
- Paroisse Saint Pierre-Celestin Church, Photo: Paroisse Saint Pierre-Celestin Church
- Things to Do in Bora Bora: Aqua Safari, Photo: Aqua Safari
- Aquabike Adventure, Photo: Aquabike Adventure
- Bora Art Upstairs, Photo: Bora Art Upstairs
- Bora Bora Explorer, Photo: Bora Bora Explorer
- Bora Dream Pictures & Lagoon Tours, Photo: Bora Dream Pictures & Lagoon Tours
- Lagoon Service Bora Bora, Photo: Lagoon Service Bora Bora
- Things to Do in Bora Bora: MaiKai Bora Bora, Photo: MaiKai Bora Bora
- Maohi Nui, Photo: Maohi Nui
- Moana Adventure Tours, Photo: Moana Adventure Tours
- Things to Do in Bora Bora: Moi Here, Photo: Courtesy of MaMi - Fotolia.com
- Parasail in Bora Bora, Photo: Courtesy of su171186 - Fotolia.com
- Pure Snorkeling by Reef Discovery, Photo: Pure Snorkeling by Reef Discovery
- Restaurant Matira Beach, Photo: Restaurant Matira Beach
- Vitamin Sea Bora Bora, Photo: Vitamin Sea Bora Bora
- Alain Despert Studio, Photo: Alain Despert Studio
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of iPics - Fotolia.com