Also known as Pora Pora, which literally means “first born,” Bora-bora is increasingly becoming a favorite destination for tourists of all ages. And why not, Bora Bora is a portal to a place you’ve never quite seen before, offering nothing but the most enchanting experiences with its crystal-clear, aquamarine waters; pristine-white sands; seemingly endless stretches of coral reefs; colorful marine life; and breathtaking horizons. Below is a guide that you may find useful if you want to visit this majestic French-Polynesian island.
Best Time to Visit Bora Bora
Bora Bora, like most tropical islands, has wet and dry season, from November to April and May to October, respectively. Definitely, the best time to visit is during the dry season when the weather is not too harsh and rain is intermittent. However, you might have to endure the crowd, since this is also the tourist season. Financially, you must be prepared as well, as tourist prices skyrocket during this time.
Getting to and Around Bora Bora
Bora Bora is only accessible from Tahiti and by plane only. Air Tahiti is the main carrier, flying many times daily. It is best to book a flight ahead since most of the flights are often full. The airport is found in northern part. Going to the main island requires a travel by boat. Most accommodations have an airport counter, but it is also possible to look for accommodation at the island. However, you have to ride a ferry going to Vaitap – the main village – where mini buses pick up visitors.
Air Tahiti also provides a shuttle boat service to Vaitape and back to the airport. Visitors are required to board the shuttle boat 75 minutes before their flight departure. It takes 15 minutes to travel from Bora-bora to the airport.
Getting around Bora Bora usually depends on the type of your accommodation as well as its location. Majority of the resorts are on the islets surrounding the main island. Staying in an islet means transferring through boats from the islet to other islet and to the island. In the island, transportations are a bus and taxis. Bike and buggy rentals are also available. Some of the local operators provide a transfer to and fro, the island, though it is better to ask while making a reservation.
Things to Do in Bora Bora
There is never a dull moment in Bora Bora. And how could there be, when there are so many activities to do in the island? Just by merely looking at a picture of Bora Bora already makes you want to do these things:
A volcanic crater, Bora Bora has a lagoon surrounded islets. Apparently, there are many water-based activities including swimming, snorkeling, parasailing, scuba diving and deep sea fishing. The divinity of the lagoon is breathtaking when viewing it from the top. Visitors are welcome to climb the mountain peaks where they may take hundreds of photos for memorabilia.
Among all the water activities, the most interesting is snorkeling particularly in Matira Beach, the most popular beach in Bora-bora. There are about local companies that run snorkeling tours. You need not go far since the multicolored tropical fishes will surround you in no time and even in shallow waters. If you do not want to snorkel or dive, but still want to get up close and personal to the fishes, an underwater water tour that makes use of a breathing device is also offered.
3) Jeep Tours
Apart from the water activities, there are also land activities. There are numerous jeep tours wandering the island from time to time. Some of the places to visit are the World War II ruins, such as bunkers and gun emplacements. The ultimate stop of most of these jeep tours is the summit climb. At the foot of the mountains are hikers who are offering their service as mountain climb guides. The local government does not allow tourists to climb the summit by themselves more so because even the tourists occasionally hurt themselves when trailing the peak.
One of the most popular activities in the island is shark feeding, wherein from chest-deep water, you can witness how local divers feed by hand 4″ to 5″ reef sharks or a large group of curious gray rays. Don’t worry about getting bitten; it’s guaranteed fun and safe! Feel free to snorkel with the rays and get a closer look at how the sharks are being fed. If you are too nervous, you can just stay in the canoe! The excursion, which usually lasts the whole day, is inclusive of a picnic lunch served on a motu.
Set sail for Bora-bora’s neighboring islands, or simply navigate around it. Whichever you prefer, sailing in Bora Bora is simply an exciting experience. Cruise companies on the island can make day-trip arrangements on request. Hop aboard a catamaran or motorized canoe and bond with the sharks and other marine creatures. You can also go shark feeding, snorkeling, reef walking, or beachcombing. Take your pick!
Prime Attractions in Bora Bora
The epitome of an idyllic island paradise, Bora Bora is home to many attractions that justify how the word “beautiful” is a mere understatement of its splendor.
1) Bora Bora Lagoonarium
Guests are also encouraged to include Bora Bora Lagoonarium in their itinerary. As the name implies, it is a portmanteau of lagoon and aquarium. The lagoonarium is a man-made, enclosed zoo that held turtles and dolphins, sting rays and sharks, and other marine life in captivity. There are more than 500 species of aquatic life in the island. If you want a real-life experience–getting up close and personal with these animals–a submarine ride is the sure way to go.
2) Mount Otemanu
Bora-bora is not just about sea and sand, for the island also offers a lofty mountain view. A jagged remnant of an ancient volcano, Mount Otemanu rises sharply more than 2,400 feet above the surface of a sparkling, emerald lagoon.
3) Matira Beach
Get sun-kissed at Bora-bora’s most popular beach. Located on the island’s southern tip, this beach boasts pristine-white sands and a walking trail that leads you to World War II site. During a low tide, beach goers can head out to the reef; otherwise, they can go snorkeling, kayaking, or canoeing. Take your pick!
4) White Valley
Located off the northern tip of Bora Bora, the White Valley is home to a diverse marine life. Some of the fascinating creatures you can find in this spot are the parrotfish, balistes, soldier-fish, and butterfly fish.
5) Coral Gardens
The Coral Gardens are among Bora-bora’s most majestic sights hidden under its turquoise waters. The Coral Gardens give you the best opportunity to swim with virtually every species of tropical fish in the world, an experience you can’t find elsewhere!
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