Bora Bora, French Polynesia

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Explore Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Less than an hour flight from the islands of Tahiti or Moorea, the island of Bora Bora, with a lagoon resembling an artist's palette of blues and greens, is love at first sight. Lush tropical slopes and valleys blossom with hibiscus, while palm-covered motu (a little island made up of nothing but coral, sand, limestone, boulders, etc) circle the illuminated lagoon like a delicate necklace. Perfect white-sand beaches give way to emerald waters where colored fish animate the coral gardens as they greet the giant manta rays. This could easily be described as the center of the romantic universe, where luxury resorts and spas dot the island with overwater bungalows, thatched-roof villas, and fabled ambience. Simply said, Bora Bora is the most beautiful island in the world.

  • Watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean on a Bora Bora cruise.
  • Snorkel the glittering lagoon alongside kaleidoscopic fish.
  • Explore hidden coves and deserted islands by outrigger canoe or sailboat.
  • Take a 4x4 tour on scenic roads climbing green volcanic peaks.
  • Hike the luscious white sand of Matira Beach.

Things To Do

Local Attractions

This slice of Polynesian heaven is only 6 miles long, but it packs a wallop when it comes to tropical scenery. Bora Bora has a sprinkling of chic boutiques and a smattering of historic buildings, but that’s not really why you’re here. Your cruise to Bora Bora is for pampering, relaxation, and sublime water recreation amid glorious South Seas surrounds.

  • Sip a fruity mai tai in world-famous Bloody Mary’s Restaurant & Bar.
  • Shop for glistening French Polynesian black pearls strung in necklaces or set in rings.
  • See giant manta rays and green turtles swimming in Bora Bora’s lagoon.
  • Set sail for a romantic day on a private motu.
  • Sway to the lilting rhythms of South Seas music.

Fun Facts

  • Vaitape, the largest town on the island, has some 5,000 residents—half of the island’s total population.
  • Bora Bora was settled in the 4th century by Polynesian people.
  • During World War II, the United States used Bora Bora as a critical military supply base in the Pacific. You can see old U.S. Navy gun sites on 4x4 safari excursions.

Within Walking Distance

Vaitape Church

From the tender pier, stroll northward through Vaitape, Bora Bora’s largest town. As you walk you’ll see the town’s pretty evangelical church, topped with a red steeple, standing at the base of soaring Mount Pahia.

Beyond the Port Area

Most visitors to Bora Bora, French Polynesian, prefer spending their time out on the sparkling water—and who can blame them? The translucent seas encircling this island gem and its motus (islets) teem with marine life that few aquariums can match: Moray eels, green turtles, manta rays and more. Explore the lagoon and Bora Bora's turquoise seas with a snorkeling excursion to coral gardens swarming with tropical fish. You can also get out on the jewel-like waters in a glass-bottom boat.

Mount Otemanu

Carnival cruises to Bora Bora offer adventures for land lovers. Discover the island’s lush valleys and climb its’ highest peak, Marira, by four-wheel-drive and you will see some of the most breathtaking, panoramic views. The island’s circle road curves along the shore of Povai Bay, where Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia tower above—providing the best views on Bora Bora. From here, head to Bloody Mary's Restaurant & Bar, where you can sip Polynesian-style mai tais, dine barefoot on the soft sand floors, and enjoy views of Mount Otemanu across the water.

Beaches in Bora Bora


Powdery white sand trace small peninsulas that stretch deep into sandy-bottom lagoons, where pristine waters are shallow all the way to the coral reef. Here you can experience marine life up-close and personal with Bora Bora Aqua Safari Helmet Dive. If you’re looking for a one-of-kind underwater adventure, Bora Bora Certified Scuba offers divers a very special viewing experience. Look for lemon and black-tip sharks, napoleon wrasses and jack fish, tuna and moray eels.

Shopping in Bora Bora

Bora Bora

Most of the shopping on Bora Bora cruises is in Vaitape, where you'll find several souvenir shops and upscale black-pearl dealers. Other boutiques and shops are scattered along the main road, especially in the Matira hotel district.

Travel Tips


  • French and Tahitian are the official languages, although English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
  • The French Pacific franc is the official currency.
  • Bora Bora enjoys a balmy tropical climate and tropical showers can pass overhead at any time of the year.
  • Bora Bora cruises anchor offshore in Pofai Bay and tender passengers to the Vaitape dock.