Bora Bora - So much has been written and yet it is hard to find the right words to describe the magic that emanates from this island. The most mythical of the Pacific islands, Bora Bora remains the island of all reveries and dreams.
Seen from the air, it has been compared to "a tiny emerald in a setting of turquoise, encircled by a sheltering necklace of sparkling pearls".
The airport for Bora Bora, built by US forces in 1942, is located on a lush, palm fringed motu about 20 minutes by boat from the main village of Vaitape. Another remenant of the US presence are 2 large cannons hidden in the green hills overlooking the lagoon.
The view of the main island 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 all who come here.
Bora Bora itself is rather small and can be traveled by car in about an hour.
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 pure, transparent waters.
Most of the temples (Marae) were destroyed during the last century by the English missionaries, and unfortunately, there are few archeological features left.
To the southeast of the island is the Coral Garden, a natural underwater park where you will find a spellbinding world of fish and coral.
And off Point Matira you will visit waters where the huge and graceful manta rays congregate for your viewing pleasure. There are other types of rays 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.
Bora Bora offers an terrific selection of activities and excursions for honeymooners and vacationers. One of the most popular is shark feeding, where from chest-deep water, you can see local divers feed by hand 4' to 5' reef sharks or a large group of friendly gray rays. It's a lot of fun and totally safe.
Another favorite Bora Bora excursion is the Circle-The-Lagoon with Motu Picnic. You can also rent a small boat, visit the Lagoonarium near Le Meridien Hotel, and take a 4x4 excursion to dramatic panoramic vistas and the US cannon sites on Mount Otemanu.
Most of the recent hotel/resorts have been built on islands (motu) in the lagoon surrounding Bora Bora. They generally face into the lagoon and the mountains of Bora Bora and offer privacy, pristine water, and extraordinary views.
Bora Bora was the first ever to offer over-the-water bungalows over 30 years ago, beginning at Hotel Bora Bora. With a few exceptions, this unique accommodation is still found only in French Polynesia where there are protected lagoons and very even tides.
Hotels and Resorts
Located on Bora Bora island proper:
- the Hotel Bora Bora *****
- the Le Moana
Intercontinental *****- recently renovated
- the Bora Bora
Sofitel Resort ***** - totally rebuilt in late 06
- the Le Maitai ***
Located on the motus (islands) around the lagoon:
- the St
Regis Resort and Spa ***** opened in June 06- now the most luxurious
resort in Bora Bora
- the Intercontinental
Thalasso-spa Resort *****opened in May 2006 - the next best resort
- the Starwood Bora Bora Nui *****
- the Sofitel Motu *****
- the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort *****
- the Le Meridien *****
- the Pearl
Beach Resort *****
If you are not sure which resort is best for you, we recommend you subscribe
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This is by far the best way you can truly compare the resorts, short
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The hotels and resorts of Bora Bora are carefully situated and understated
enough to not alter the unique beauty of the landscape.
Best of Bora Bora
Hotel Bora Bora - very gourmet, very romantic, great show and killer ambiance for their BBQ.
Villa Mahana - fairly new, arguably the best food on the Island. 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. 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 - http://www.villamahana.com
Fare Manuia – 5 minutes walk from the Intercon Moana Beach (Matira), nice place, intimate, fine food, 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, plus servies 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, 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 a private Motu for beach and interior rides.
Bora Bora Lagoonarium - next to Le Meridian, swim with the sharks and many other sea creatures. You can also purchase a movie of your adventure, 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 boats (15 hp) require 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 beach Resort, 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, sells ice cream bars and nick knacks.