A dazzling turquoise lagoon, a milky way of islands encircling a lush green volcano, and those iconic bungalows hovering over the water on stilts. It’s no wonder Bora Bora is the dream destination of so many travelers. This mystical island paradise in the South Pacific has something for everyone, from snorkeling through coral gardens to hiking Mount Otemanu, feeding sharks and stingrays to relaxing in overwater bungalows.
The island is best accessed via a short flight from Papeete, on the main island of Tahiti, to Bora’s tiny airport on the motu (islet). Upon arrival, the breathtaking beauty of the island becomes immediately clear as the plane dips into the calm, crystal-blue waters and lands at the airport’s airstrip.
Bora is one of the oldest and most beautiful islands in French Polynesia, its sandy beaches covered in colorful hibiscus. The emerald-green lagoon is warm and calm all year round like a giant swimming pool. The two prominent mountain peaks, Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia, jut up from the horizon over the turquoise water, creating a dramatic view.
All hotels are situated on the main island of Bora Bora and on various motus by the shore and the coral reefs, with the exception of a few lodges that are located on the pristine private islet of Vaitape. Most of the resorts have a long list of activities and services for guests to enjoy. Guests can indulge in massages at the spa, kayak around the lagoon or explore the underwater world by boat, jet-ski or on foot.
Those who aren’t as active can still be entertained with Polynesian cultural shows and dances that showcase the traditions of the islands. There are also several museums to visit and some of the island’s ancient marae, sacred temples that were used for religious ceremonies. Those interested in the history of the island can learn about the American presence during World War II, when it was a military base under the codename Operation Bobcat.
The pristine white sand and glistening lagoon are the perfect backdrop for unforgettable wedding ceremonies or a romantic honeymoon. Most of the resorts offer a variety of packages that can be customized to meet the needs and budget of each couple. The best resorts are surrounded by the clear, turquoise lagoon and have a beach with a magnificent view of the island’s mountains. Some have their own private islands that can be accessed by boat and are great for couples looking to enjoy some privacy. All of the resorts have wedding coordinators on-hand to help guests plan their dream ceremony and reception. Many of them also have their own chapels that can be used for special ceremonies. These chapels are often decorated with a beautiful flower display, a white carpet, flowers and fresh fruit for the reception afterwards. The resorts also have a large dining room that can accommodate up to 240 people for a formal dinner and dance. The resorts can also provide a DJ for the reception and other entertainment options.