A small island located in French Polynesia in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is a postcard come to life. The lush green isle with the green peaks of Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia features pure white beaches, the bluest lagoon imaginable and a surrounding reef bejeweled with tropical fish. One of the most-photographed islands in Tahiti, this place is a tropical paradise perfect for both couples and families.
Swimming, diving, jet-skiing and snorkeling are, of course, virtually required things to do in Bora Bora, as the lagoon here is beautiful and kept calm most of the year by its encircling barrier reef. As on a lot of islands in Polynesia, scuba diving is also a very popular activity and features a dazzling variety of marine sites for divers to explore at their leisure. Some of the largest manta rays are found here and, from August through October, migrating humpback whales can be spotted out in the open water on their way through the South Pacific. Other aquatic activities to check out include deep-sea fishing and shark feeding.
For those seeking active entertainments on dry land, there are frequent tours of the island via 4-by-4 vehicles. Tours start at Vairao Bay and take you to Mount Popoti. Locals guide the excursions and impart local lore and historical facts to make the time truly enlightening and memorable.
An even better way to get above it all is on a parasailing excursion from the Bora Bora Activity Center in "downtown" Vaitape. The trip up and down takes only 10 minutes but hoists you 600 feet in the air for a perfect view of the island, the sugar-sand beaches and the vibrant blue lagoon.
Shopping and Dining
Arts, crafts and black pearls are some of favorite souvenirs for travelers to bring home from Bora Bora. Most of the shops and boutiques are located in and around the island's best hotels but there are plenty of other charming stores and galleries to explore. Galerie d'Art Alain & Linda is the largest art gallery on the island and sells many creations of homegrown artists. Art du Pacifique has authentic traditional tapa cloth paintings and local sculpture.
Shops selling South Pacific black pearls abound on the island. The black pearl is one of the treasures most sought by tourists and your friends will expect you to have at least a pair of earrings when you get home. You can find pearls at the many jewelry stores located in Vaitape, Amanahune, Matira Point and Pofai Bay.
Since Bora Bora has plenty of visitors year-round, restaurants are abundant here. Some of the best venues for authentic Polynesian cuisine, made with fresh fruits and fishes, are les roulottes, the rolling food trucks that serve affordable and delicious island cuisine.