Bora Bora is an island of paradise that’s the perfect spot for a romantic getaway or an adventure filled family vacation. This enchanting French Polynesia destination is renowned for its beaches, lagoon, and luxury resorts. With its pristine white sand and crystal clear waters, the island is also rich in culture and traditions that are reflected in dance, wood carving, tattooing, and other forms of art.
Bora’s main attraction is its still intact underwater world, accessible to tourists via glass bottom boats or snorkeling. The coral reef is full of colorful fish and is a magnet for snorkelers and divers. Feeding sharks and barracudas is a popular activity for visitors.
Once home to the ancient Polynesian Marae (temples) that were used for religious rituals, Bora Bora was first inhabited by European explorers in 1767 and 1777. Both English navigator Samuel Wallis and French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville laid claim to the island, but it was Captain James Cook who officially named it “Pora Pora” (literally: out of the night or from the gods).
Despite its small size, the island is a great place for exploration and there are numerous activities that can be enjoyed. A helicopter tour offers a bird’s eye view of the island, while hiking or 4×4 outings to the interior of the island will allow you to experience its natural beauty and wild life. Lagoon rides in glass bottom boats or outboard canoes; snorkeling or diving; sailing on standard or luxury yachts; deep-sea fishing; and picnics on a motu are just some of the many ways to spend your time outdoors.
In the evening, take in a performance of traditional dancing, Polynesian music, or a traditional fire show at one of the island’s shows. A visit to the ruins of an ancient marae is also a must, as well as the remnants of Operation Bobcat, the American military presence on the island during WWII.
Overwater bungalows are one of the most famous features of Bora Bora. They are beautifully designed in a Polynesian style and offer the unique opportunity to sleep over the sea. The rooms have glass floors that give guests a view of the turquoise water below. Some of the more luxurious options even have a private plunge pool on their deck.
A romantic must is to enjoy a drink on the beach or at your hotel a half hour before sunset and watch the sun set over the lagoon. This is a gorgeous sight and one of the best things to do in Bora Bora. And of course, don’t forget to try some of the local Hinano beer or mango juice!