"When a Dream becomes Reality: Tour of Bora Bora" Top 5 Page for this destination Bora-Bora by Kakapo2
Bora-Bora Travel Guide: 295 reviews and 592 photos
Bora Bora is small enough to be explored in a day. This is correct and - more so - NOT correct. Of course, you need more time to enjoy the spectacular turquoise blue lagoon of this South Sea dream destination, or climb a mountain. More time and more money ;-) We cycled around the island on a one-gear bicycle and washed the sweat away in the crystal clear waters that surround this French Polynesian island with the name that is synonym for paradise.
With an age of about 7 million years, Bora Bora is the oldest of the Society Islands. It is nearly an atoll, a kind of semi-atoll, age-wise half way between the Tuamotu atolls (10 to 40 million years old) and the high islands of Tahiti and Raiatea (only 2 to 3 million years old). This means that Bora Bora has the features of both types of islands, all of which have volcanic origin, the huge flat lagoon, and relatively high mountains. The two mountains that give Bora Bora its unique look are the twin towers Mt. Otemanu (771 metres) and Mt. Pahia (661 metres), best admired from the sea and at sunset, but also impressive from many angles when you travel around the island.
Bora Bora is 275 kilometres north-west of Tahiti. The huge transluscent lagoon it is so famous for, is three times as large (80 sqm) as the island’s surface. The lagoon is surrounded by rather a wide barrier reef and a chain of islets, the so-called motu(s). In the south-east is a coral garden (Jardin de Corail) which is incredibly rich of about 700 species of colourful tropical fish. So a diver’s and snorkeller’s paradise – not just for honeymooners ;-) If you want, you can swim with manta rays, also grey and leopard rays. (Well, not me LOL) Ah, and I nearly forgot to mention that you can watch and feed grey sharks and barracudas…
The reef has only one passage to the open sea, the Te Ava Nui pass, between the motu Toopua and Tevairoa, just off the main town Vaitape. Our cruise ship, for example, sailed through this passage and then anchored inside the lagoon.
The island is 9 km long and at its widest point 4 km wide. A 32 km long circle island road leads around Bora Bora. A short stretch of this road is unsealed, and if you look closely at some bare patches on the red soil you will see that this road is made up of coral. You will travel along some spectacularly picturesque bays, some more turquoise blue, others turquoise green, the waters transluscent and glimmering and glittering in the sun, just below the horizon you spot those motus along the reef, some – like the Motu Piti Aau – like long green barriers, some just little green islets dotted in those dream-like waters, crowned by coconut palms. On those motos you find the overwater bungalows of Bora Bora’s most magical hotels. The best beaches of the mainland are in the south, Taahana and Matira Beach which also is the main tourist area.
The island is totally dedicated to the tourist industry, and depends on it one hundred per cent. As it is the most expensive place you can imagine, you will not be surprised that most visitors come from Europe, the United States, and Japan. But also the newly rich from China and Russia have discovered it by now.
You can find traces of the ancient Polynesians on Bora Bora, but they are less spectacular than those on Raiatea, for example. Most temples (the marae) have been destroyed by the protestant missionaries in the 1800’s. A place named Vaiotaha was the most sacred place on Bora Bora, the equivalent of Taputapuatea on Raiatea. But if you have time, you can still find petroglyphs at the foot of the mountains. It is at Povai Bay (also spelled: Pofai Bay in many guides). On the north-east coast, near Anau, are the remains of an ancient fortification (a so-called pa) and some temples (Nonohaura). On the opposite side of the island, Faanui Bay, are the remains of the marae Taaianapa which was restored in 1963, and of Farerua which once was the biggest one of the island.
It is difficult to spot those sites. We saw signs only to one of the sites, so you have to ask the locals where you have to go to. If you do not have a lot of time, best you take a guide or go on a guided tour.
The same applies to the sites where you find the remains of the gun emplacements and some of the guns the Americans placed on the island during World War II. The easiest place to find would be on a little hill at Matira Point, opposite Hotel Matira and Intercontinental Beachcomber. It is a reminder that even such a paradise was kind of desecrated by war although – lucky islanders – Bora Bora was only a refuelling station between Panama and Australia, and no actual battle or act of war took place there.
You will find general information about things that are similar on all French Polynesian islands on my French Polynesia page.
- Pros:This lagoon... transluscent water... all hues of blue
- Cons:Everything is hugely expensive
- In a nutshell:You just have to see and feel this South Sea paradise
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