Bora Bora is a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. Surrounded by sand-fringed motus (islets) and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef, it’s known for its scuba diving!! It’s also a popular luxury resort destination where some guest bungalows are perched over the water on stilts. At the island’s center rises Mt. Otemanu, a 727m dormant volcano!!
Must Do Activities
Overwater Bungalows – Unlike any other hotel room you’ve stayed in before, these traditional thatched-roof bungalows are perched above the turquoise lagoon waters. In many of the overwater bungalows, tropical fish swim below as you look through the glass floor or coffee table. With all the amenities of a first-class hotel room, there on your private balcony surrounded only by water and sky, you can enjoy both breakfast, often delivered by canoe, and the sunset, seemingly delivered by the heavens.
Island Tours – There is no better way to gain a sense of everyday Tahitian life and experience the culture of French Polynesia, than passing through the small villages on a circle-island tour. As nearly every island has a coastal road following the lagoon shores, you can either drive around the island by rental car or take a guided bus tour. Explore the island interiors on
a 4×4 safari, guided nature hike, or horseback ride. Skim across the lagoons on a motorized canoe, sailboat, or powerboat. For dramatic views above the islands, take a helicopter tour.
Snorkeling & Diving – World-class snorkeling and diving in Tahiti is one of the South Pacific’s best-kept secrets. Both experienced and beginner divers and snorkelers are amazed by how clear the waters are and how close they can swim to the marine life, such as the gigantic manta rays. With hundreds of dive sites throughout the islands, divers can choose from the amazing drift dives, oceanic drop-offs, sunken ships, and lagoon dives with infinite marine life.
Shark Feeding – This excursion is one of the most thrilling and popular and can be enjoyed on most of the main islands. After a short trip into the lagoon by powered outrigger canoe or powerboat, you’ll float or stand in four to seven feet of clear water behind a secure rope as the docile sharks are hand-fed by an experienced guide. Even non-swimmers can enjoy this exciting scene from the boat.
Tahitian Cultured Pearls – The world-renowned iridescent luster of Mother Nature’s most perfect gem can only be created in Tahiti warm lagoon waters. Commonly known around the world as Black Pearls, each Tahitian Cultured Pearl ranges in size and shape and the colors range from the darkest black to shimmering shades of green, blue, bronze, aubergine, or even pink.
Polynesian Spas – Tahiti is a world-class spa destination with many of the resorts offering new luxurious spas. Surrounded by a backdrop of natural beauty and floral fragrances, there is no better setting for relaxation. Enjoy fresh-flower baths, herbal rain showers, or even a body wrap in banana tree leaves.
Motu Picnic – Enjoy a private or group picnic on your own motu (tiny islets in the lagoon). Your resort or cruise ship can provide an unforgettable experience where Polynesian meals are prepared and enjoyed on a table set either under a coconut tree or in the warm, shallow waters along the beach or at sunset.
Top Resort Picks
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
Reaching out across 44 acres of lush landscaping, edged by powdery white sands and a crystalline lagoon with the majesty of Mount Otemanu for iconic backdrop, The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort represents the epitome of carefree elegance. Showcases for the warm glow of exotic woods accented by handcrafted Polynesian art, its 90 Villas are gracefully designed to embrace indulgent island living, whether in the spacious comfort of the largest overwater accommodations in the South Seas, or the tranquil seclusion of stunning beach retreats. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort offers four restaurants and two bars.
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
Romantically located on Motu Piti Aau (“two hearts” in Polynesian) on the barrier reef between the ocean and the lagoon. 84 spacious overwater villas standing on stilts over the azure lagoon. Polynesian wedding ceremonies in the Blue Lagoon Chapel, or on the beach tailor-made especially for you. Candlelit dinners on your villa terrace and private sunset cruises on the lagoon with a glass of Champagne. Signature spa treatments with deep ocean water in an overwater bungalow for two. Inspired by Marlon Brando, it is the first hotel in the world producing its air-conditioning from water extracted from the ocean.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Suspended between turquoise waters and limitless skies, Conrad Bora Bora Nui is nestled in a sacred cove of white sand and majestic lava rock. Protected from the open sea by a string of tiny coral islets, the stunning lagoon is the perfect tropical playground to be explored with your snorkel, or for the perfect getaway enjoy a picnic on the unspoiled private islet Motu Toopua, just five minutes away by boat. The importance of sacred Motu Toopua in Polynesian mythology is reflected throughout this Bora Bora resort in authentic artifacts, decor and landscaping. Watch the sun set from the terrace of a Polynesian styled garden or hillside villa featuring marble tiles, exotic wood furnishings and precious tapa cloths. Take in spectacular views from the hilltop Hina Spa and sample delicious local cuisine at Iriatai Panoramic Restaurant at Conrad Bora Bora Nui.
Top Cruise Picks
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Designed specifically to glide through the shallow seas of the South Pacific, The Gauguin is the flagship of Paul Gauguin Cruises and a small-ship cruiser’s dream. She delivers travelers to intimate ports inaccessible to larger cruise ships, all the while providing an onboard experience that is nothing short of luxurious. Guests aboard this luxury cruise enjoy spacious suites and staterooms (more than 70% with private balconies), an onboard watersports marina, three dining venues, an extensive spa, and five-star service. Life onboard also reflects the beauty and rich cultural heritage of the islands she calls upon, with a warm, friendly feel, informal setting, and even a beloved troupe of Gaugines and Gauguins — local Tahitians who serve as cruise staff, entertainers, and storytellers.
Lindblad Expedition Cruises
Designed and purpose-built specifically for expedition travel, National Geographic Orion was created from the outset to explore the far corners of the Earth in complete self-sufficiency. You’ll encounter wild and beautiful islands, intriguing cultures and history, and explore the kaleidoscopic reefs of the South Pacific while enjoying the superb amenities, exploration tools, and engaging expedition team of the National Geographic Orion. Engineered for maximum comfort and safety, Orion is equipped with the latest technology including large retractable stabilizers, sonar, radar and ice-strengthened double hull. She can accommodate 102 guests in 53 cabins, including several with balconies. She is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer panoramic views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Orion fosters a welcoming atmosphere where like-minded guests share in exceptional experiences and enrichment.