Located in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is a small island of about 11 square miles that boasts amazing turquoise water, white sand beaches and a climate that tends to stay between 80 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 Celsius) all year. Centered by an extinct volcano, Bora Borahas long been a popular destination for luxury vacations.
Getting To Bora Bora
Bora Bora is part of the Leeward Islands, one of the five major island groupings that make up French Polynesia. These islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean, very remote from any of the continents. The nearest nations are New Zealand and Australia to the southeast.
French Polynesia itself remains an overseas territory of France that is run by the local democratic government. France provides support services and military protection to the island. France does have visa requirements for entering French Polynesia that differ depending on your country and residency status; see this consulate page for further detail.
Most people get to French Polynesia by air by way of Tahiti, which is the closest major population center. Tahiti is French Polynesia’s largest island and is about 277 kilometers (172 miles) to the southeast of Bora Bora. Given the great distance between the two islands, most people opt to take a second flight between them with local service Air Tahiti, which arrives at and departs from the Motu Mute Airport atBora Bora‘s north end.
Options by boat between the two islands are very slim. There are several cargo ships that take on passengers, but they generally only make two or three trips per week. Air Tahiti offers an affordable 28-day pass that grants you limited trips to each island in French Polynesia, and this is the option that most travelers tend to find the most economical.
A number of different cruise ship lines that originate from the west coast of the United States and from Australia regularly stop in Tahiti. The visa requirements for entry by boat are generally more relaxed. There are also several inter-island cruise options within French Polynesia that stop at Bora Bora, such as the Aranui 3 and the Paul Gauguin.
Lodging On Bora Bora
An important thing to know about Bora Bora is that it is primarily a luxury resort vacation destination. It does not really have the budget options, such as hostels and guest rooms, that some other South Pacific islands are known for.
If you are looking for an exclusive vacation in a remote, beautiful area with a full-service resort at your disposal, however, then Bora Bora is the place to be. The most upscale of the resort options on the island are the Four Seasons, the Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora, the Le Meridien Bora Bora and the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort and Spa. The two-star Hotel Bora Bora and the Sunset Hill Lodge apartments are really the only lodging options that approach the “affordable” range on the island, and they will still likely cost several hundred dollars per night unless it is the low tourist season (December to March).
Bora Bora Beaches And Things To Do
The main beach on the island is Matira Beach, which is open to the general public. This white sand beach offers snorkeling, jet skiing, swimming, and some of the best sunset views to be seen in the world. Some of the resorts have their own private beaches that are open only to their guests.
If you’re looking for adventure you can hike Mount Otemanu, the extinct volcano that centers the island. The mountain offers exceptional views of both the sunrise and sunset.
Tours by boat and 4×4 around the island are also popular as well as whale watching trips. Tours are also organized that allow you to swim with the dolphins or safely dive amidst sharks.