Imagine sipping a cool Pina Colada on white sandy beaches caressed by crystal clear waters of a sparkling lagoon. With a majestic Mount Otemanu rising from the horizon, this picture perfect vision of paradise draws artists and romantics alike to its shores.
It’s no wonder Bora Bora has been called the most romantic island in the world. The resorts here have perfected the art of romance with their special amenities ranging from breakfast served on your overwater bungalow’s private balcony to gourmet picnic lunches and dinners enjoyed on a motu (islet). A trip to Bora Bora wouldn’t be complete without a romantic sunset cruise or an island excursion in an outrigger canoe regaled with flowers.
The enchanting landscape of Bora Bora’s volcanic mountains and exotic lagoon have inspired countless writers, artists and directors. Herman Melville wrote two novels of his life on the island and Paul Gauguin painted Noa Noa (“Fragrance of the Gods”). Bora Bora has also had a very interesting history; it became the home of the London Missionary Society in 1820 and served as an American supply base during World War II. The island’s wartime history inspired the Broadway musical and movie “South Pacific.” Producer and director De Laurentis even shot several of her movies on the island, including “Hurricane” and “The Shark Boy of Bora Bora.”
The marine life around Bora Bora is just as impressive as the land-based wildlife. A variety of tropical fishes live in the sea and lagoon, but sharks are a particularly intriguing sight. It is easy to spot Black Tip sharks during a lagoon or snorkeling tour, and you can also observe Lemon Sharks outside the reef, White Tip Reef sharks, Nurse Sharks and occasionally Whale Sharks (especially during Whale Season).
There are many other animals that live in the forests on Bora Bora as well, from land-based reptiles such as geckos and skinks to airborne creatures like terns and boobies. The island is also a nesting ground for the endangered Laysan Albatross, which can be seen during a whale watching or dolphin encounter tour.
Originally, the islands were inhabited by Polynesian settlers who arrived in about the 4th century AD. The marae on the top of Otemanu was the center for religious & other ceremonies. This is where Cpt Cook witnessed a human sacrifice, where the victim was held securely in place on a platform while the priest smashed his skull with a mace. The marae was eventually replaced by a church, after the arrival of the missionaries. Bora Bora supported the leader Pomare in his push for supreme power over all Tahiti, resisting a French protectorate until it was annexed in 1888.