Bora - Unquestionably the most mythical of the Pacific islands remains
the island of all dreams.
Honeymooners and romantics from around the world have laid claim to Bora Bora where the castle-like Mount Otemanu pierces the sky above the crystal lagoon with its unique over the water bungalows that offer a magical oneness with this extraordinary environment.
Lush tropical slopes and valleys blossom with hibiscus, while palm-covered motu circle the lagoon like a delicate necklace. Perfect white-sand beaches give way to emerald waters where impossibly colored fish animate the coral gardens. So much has been written about Bora Bora, and yet it is hard to find
the right words to describe the magic that emanates from this island.
Seen from the air, Bora Bora has been compared to that of "a tiny
emerald in a setting of turquoise, encircled by a sheltering necklace
of sparkling pearls".
The airport, built by the US forces in 1942, is located on a palm fringed motu about 20 minutes by boat from the main village of
other remnant of the US presence are 2 large cannons hidden in the lush
hills overlooking the lagoon.
The view of Bora Bora from the airport is truly breathtaking,
and as you travel across the spectacular lagoon you will soon understand
why it is the main area of attraction for most visitors.
Bora Bora itself is rather small, and can be circled by car in about
The lagoon is 3 times the size of the land mass and offers an amazing
range of hues of blue and turquoise as you navigate its crystal waters.
To the southeast of the island is the Coral Garden, a natural underwater
park where all types of fish and corals are found.
Off the Point Matira there is an area where the huge and graceful manta
rays congregate for your viewing pleasure. There are other types of
ray such as the beautiful spotted ray and the friendly gray ray which
love to be petted during the "ray feeding" excursions.
At the entrance of the pass, the "White valley" teems with
gray sharks and barracudas in a never ending ballet.
Most of the temples (Marae) having been destroyed during the
last century by the English missionaries, and unfortunately there is
little archeological remnants left.
Bora Bora lagoon offers a multitude of activities and excursions, one of the
most popular being the Shark
(video) where from chest-deep water you watch local divers feed 4' to
5' reef sharks by hand. It's a lot of fun and totally safe. The same
routine is done with a large group of friendly gray
You can also take a circle-the-lagoon excursion with motu picnic, rent a small boat, visit
the Lagoonarium near Le Meridien Hotel and take a 4x4 excursion to the
panoramic view points and the US cannons.
km northwest of Papeete
Population: 6225 inhabitants
Post Office, infirmary, banks.
Rentals available: Cars, bicycles,
motorboats, outrigger sailing canoes .Jet-skis
Excursions: Glass bottom boat, shark feeding,
ray feeding, SCUBA diving, safari mountain excursions,etc.
Access: 6 daily flights from Tahiti-Faaa airport:
45 min. direct flight, 68 min flight with stop at Raiatea
Bora Bora Hotels and Resorts with Over Water Bungalows
Bora Bora Resorts have been welcoming couples for over 40 years and their special amenities have been fine tuned to perfection. From sunrise to sunset, each resort has designed their own blend of unique romantic experiences for their guests to choose from.
Most of the recent hotel/resorts have been built on islands (motu) in the lagoon surrounding Bora Bora. They mostly face into the lagoon and the mountain of Bora Bora and offer privacy, over water bungalows, pristine water and extraordinary views.
The Bora Bora Hotel was the first hotel ever to feature over the water bungalows. With a few exceptions, overwater bungalows are still only ever found in French Polynesia due to the protected lagoons and the very even tides.
All the resorts listed below offer beach and over the water bungalows, ranging in price from $650 (le Maitai) to $3,500 (St Regis) per night
Read our Hotels and Resorts Reviews
Hotels Located on the motus (islands) around the lagoon:
- the St Regis Resort and Spa ***** Deluxe
- the Four Seasons Resort and Spa ***** Deluxe
- the Intercontinental Thalasso-spa Resort *****
- the Bora Bora Hilton *****
- the Sofitel Motu *****
- the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort ****
- the Le Meridien ****
- the Pearl Beach Resort ****
Hotels Located on Bora Bora island proper:
- the Le Moana Intercontinental****
- the Sofitel Bora Bora Resort ****(new)
- the Le Maitai ***
Best of Bora Bora
For the visitor, the colorful and majestic setting of Bora Bora offers unlimited possibilities:
- Enchantment from the turquoise lagoon with unending days of snorkeling and diving in the clearest and warmest water in the world.
- Excitement above the waters by canoe, HobbyCat, wave runner, parasail, and nightly sunset sails.
- Exploration of the panoramic overlooks found on a 4x4 safari.
- Discovery of the world-renowned shopping for original art, pearls, and handcrafts.
All the resorts have excellent restaurants offering great views and upscale gourmet fare. It's well worth trying other resorts dinner options. We recommend the restaurant at the St Regis, the Intercontinental Thalasso, the Four Seasons or the Intercontinental Le Moana. Ask your front desk to make reservations for you.
On Bora Bora island:
Villa Mahana - arguably the best food on the Island. Located in a private villa, the ambiance is beautiful and romantic. There are five tables on the main level, and two tables up a few stairs that get reserved early. Your host, Chef Damien Rinaldi, creates a warm and inviting atmosphere serving outstanding French cuisine with Asian and Polynesian influences. The restaurant features ala carte dining, as well as, two prixe fix menus nightly. We highly recommend the "Discovery Menu" where you will have the opportunity to indulge in all of his latest creations. Save this restaurant experience for your last night in Bora Bora, as once you have dined here, nothing else can compare.
If you can, try to get the table at the very top, but if you can't, don't worry, there isn't a bad table there. Reserve well in advance - Tel: (689) 675 063 www.villamahana.comhttp://www.villamahana.com
Fare Manuia – 5 min. walk from the Intercon Moana Beach (Matira), nice place, intimate, top rate food with reasonable prices.
Top Dive - Upscale/fancy restaurant, romantic, good to excellent food, very expensive.
Bloody Mary’s - Fun casual ambiance, Ok food and service, very touristy, and expensive.
La Bounty - casual outdoor dining, rated very well on most forums.
Pirate Bar – on the water, occasional Manta Ray viewing, nice atmosphere, reasonable prices.
Bamboo House - nice relaxed ambiance, mixed reviews.
Snack Matira - sandwiches, burgers, fries, etc.
Ben’s Pizza - pizza, burgers, fries, etc. Open until 5:00 pm.
Restaurant Patoti - snacks, burgers, fries, and also serves a variety of fish, steak, duck, and desserts.
Kaina Hut : http://www.kainahut.com/menu.html
The Snack Matira Beach - Close to the Hotel Matira. Can be accessed from the road or from the beach. Good breakfasts for reasonable prices. Decent Ham and Cheese omelets for less than 1000cfp. They also serve lunch and dinner. Cheeseburger and fries is 1300cfp.
L'Appetisserie: In the back of the main little shopping center in town (Vaitape) - good little sandwiches and snacks, croissants, ice cream, and a few computers to check your E-Mail. Serves beer and wine.
Snack Bora Burgers - Next to post office; small fast food place; has good burgers and fries as well as croque-monsieur
Shark and Ray Feeding - Tevia Tours, Taremoana Tours, and Patrick’s among others, any hotel or travel agent can book them.
4x4 Island Tour- Patrick’s among others.
Private Picnic - Etienne’s Tour, Patrick’s, or Keishi Tour will arrange these outings. I highly recommend Keishi (ask for Pierrot, Phone 79 26 56). He sets up a table in the lagoon water next to a private Motu. Lunch features Lobster, Crab, Steak, Chicken, Fruit and Champagne. Snorkeling around the Island, Shark and Ray Feeding, Manta Ray viewing and whatever else your heart desires. These run around $500.00 for two, plus $100.00 for each additional person. The operator will usually pick you up at your hotel around 9:30am and drop you off at 3:00pm.
Patrick’s tour is also very nice. He serves a traditional Tahitian feast of foods cooked in an ahima'a (underground oven). Meals consist of roast pig, breadfruit, plantains, taro leaves, and the ever present poisson cru. Patrick is from Bora Bora and is a gracious host.
HorseBack Riding - Ranch Reva Reva, on private Motu for Beach and interior ride.
Bora Bora Lagoonarium - next to Le Meridian, swim with the sharks and many other sea creatures, can also purchase a movie of you swimming with the Sharks.
Sunset Cocktail Cruise - aboard the “Taravana” with Captain Richard, sails from many of the hotels, can be booked through your hotel or travel agent.
Boat rentals – based at Matira Beach near Le Matai, small aluminium boats with 6 hp - no permit required, larger boat (15 hp) requires a boat license. Also a taxi service to and/or from any place on the Island (Phone (689) 67.60.61 ). Renting a small boat is a great way to see the lagoon at your own pace. You can rent 4 hours or day. But watch for the shallow coral heads.
Parasailing – Bora Bora Parasailing, offers single and double person rides, no age limit. Contact Bora Bora Tel/ Fax: (689) 67 70 34 , cell: 78 27 10
JetSki: Milki Miki Tours - leave everyday at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm from Matira. Two hour tours are $187.00 US dollars. You will be with a guide.
Book from your hotel room by calling (689) 67.76.44
Black Pearls - many places around the Island, rent a FunCar and shop around.
Souvenirs and Shops - the Flea Market Building near the wharf in Vaitape. Tiare Market, turn left out of the Sofitel Marara, it’s about a five-minute walk. China Lee Market in Viatape. O.P.E.C., on the road from Viatape to Matira Point. Boutique Fareani north of the ICB, it sells ice cream bars and nick knacks.