If you’ve ever been entranced by the fairy-tale The Little Mermaid (1837),by Hans Christian Andersen and its popular movie adaptation by Disney in 1989 ,in your early childhood and have always wished to breathe in the depths of the sea, dine with the sea creatures jostling around you, sleep in the castles floating on the sea, ride the dolphins ,pet the sharks and live like a Tropical King ,Queen, or as an almost mermaid Princess, this is where all your dreams will come true!
The Bora Bora Islands, clouded with legends, mysteries and romances emerge to its fabled mystical presence not only for its lush beauty but also for its sybaritic intemperance that drives every person to wanting more. And, a part of this bewitchment is to be inculpated on the almost unimaginable beauty of the island. The image of a fairy-tale island with two towering jagged volcanic peaks juxtaposed at the centre of the island, against the breath-taking backdrop of crystal-clear aqua lagoons that hypnotize the mind and heart. This wicked seductress, the island, is possibly the single most famous dream destinations in the world that has lured heiresses, business tycoons, movie stars, and honeymooners to its white sandy beach shores with a Pandora’s box stuffed with guilty pleasures, leaving the traveller to decide if the cumbersome expense attached is really worth it or not.
An argument still enrages on its position as one of the costliest destinations and some say it is sinfully overpriced, as the cost for both top-notch and basic accommodation is more than anywhere else in the French Polynesia. And, it stands out to be one such paradise which is not so worth purchasing as its beyond the scope of being purchased, owing to its ‘overpriced, overdeveloped and overhyped’ nature!
However on the other hand, some believe that the island once baptised by James Cook as the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’ deserves every penny of the très cher entrance fee. If you’re up for a serious indulge, Bora Bora has plenty of options laid down for you, from its prismatic five-star resorts to mollycoddle your every desire to those glass-floored bungalows that hover over the turquoise seas, and night nosh-ups with a candle-lit affair or even early meals served from an outrigger canoe. And if all this means a pocket pinch to you, Bora Bora has plenty of olde worlde family pensions (guesthouses), usually stationed on some of the best real estate, where you can spend your nights.
But before everything we need to know its location and the best way to get there. So we meet The Star of all Islands-Bora Bora, on the leeward group of Society and French Polynesia, in the midst of rich coral reefs, a huge blue lagoon and a spacious harbour on the west side, and realize that it is about 6 miles long by 2.5 miles wide, with an area of about 14.7 square miles. There is the castle-like Mount Otemanu (2,385 feet) there, which pierces the sky above the crystal lagoon beautified by the alluring ‘over the water’ bungalows offering magical oneness with the astounding habitat. Mount Pahia (2,159 feet), is again one of the island’s highest points which drops sharply to the lagoon.
And, the grandest way to arrive here is simply by air (via a 45-minute flight from the international airport in Papeete) while witnessing the breath-taking view of the much eulogized Islands.
Places to stay:
Getting the best place to sojourn in Bora Bora is one of the most tedious tasks ever, owing to its huge variety and options, however it should be done instanter! Here are some awesome resorts and hotels where you have a lavish King or Queen-size stay!
- Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa: Located on Motu Piti Aau(“ Two-hearts” in Tahitian) near the Le Meridian, and is one of the top Five Star Hotels on Bora Bora. It has 80 overwater villas,2 restaurants, and a bar.
- Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora : Located on Motu Tehotu next to the St. Regis is offers six different categories in Overwater Bungalows( their names describe the view each bungalow offers):Mountain-View, Lagoon-view, Resort-view or Beach-view Overwater Bungalow. And, for that true binge, opt for the Otemanu Overwater Bungalow with Plunge Pool and an Overwater Bungalow with Plunge Pool!
- Le Méridien Bora Bora – Located on Motu Tape and has been recently renovated accommodating 85 overwater bungalows(Beach Bungalows, Lagoon Bungalows, and Overwater Bungalows),14 beach and pool villas,3 restaurants and one bar which serves only snacks.
- And, then if you want comfortable, friendly Polynesian island hospitality on affordable prices for accommodation there is a plethora of choices. One of them is, the Blue Heaven Island near Bora Bora airport which provides 5 Polynesian bungalows set in tropical gardens each having either a king bed, queen bed, or twin beds, and a bathroom with solar hot water and a shared open air living area and sun lounges alongside the lagoon. Then, comes the Rohotu Fare Lodge, an exotic pension sitting high up on the mountain slope above Pofai Bay, south of Vaitape having a Mt Otemanu view. And, it also has the honour of being the only Bora Bora pension awarded 3 tiaras by the Tahiti Tourist Office. Characterised by the pebbled pathways leading through botanical fruit gardens to 3 bungalows and that have a kitchenette, an outdoor bathroom with hot water shower and gorgeous private garden and the complimentary bikes, everything makes it a nice place to stay!
The crystalline lagoon of Bora Bora allows every traveller to indulge into an experience in their own desired way with an assortment of activities to choose from, like windsurfing, jet skiing, scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming, simply sunbathe on the white sands, or watch shark-feeding and the list goes on! Here is a hand-picked list of things that cater to the tastes of both the relaxed, lazy traveller and the action-packed thrill-seeking adventurer.
- Start with a tour of the Lagoon and witness the dramatic peak of Mt Otemanu from every angle with the ever-changing blue hues of the Bora Bora lagoon in the foreground. Taking a Bora Bora excursion tops the list of ‘best things to do in Bora Bora’. Don’t forget to carry a full charged camera having a huge memory space as this place is going to give many scopes of clicking postcard perfect photographs all day long!
- Set foot on the dreamy parcels of white sand paradise, motu, facing the Mt Otemanu. But, as they are all privately owned, to experience them you will need to take a Bora Bora excursion that stops on one. Polynesian picnic is one the best motu excursions. Being a guest at the Hilton Bora Bora can fetch you a visit to the legendary Motu Tapu for the day.
- Bora Bora is a water lovers paradise! If you imagine the lagoon as a colossus, sultry, pellucid water lido and recreational playground available to all types of water lovers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! Action-packed activities waiting to be experienced, such as world class scuba diving, snorkelling, sailing, swimming, and jet skiing and also the aqua safari, water-skiing, rule the list of most popular activities in Bora Bora. No wonder, most of Bora Bora’s adventurers solely come to this magical abode just for the water sports!
- Swimming with live sharks is another most seeked adventure waiting in Bora Bora. Though it sounds unusual and scary, the tour providers wouldn’t be dangling tourists to the sharks if it was so dangerous. Here, you can dive into the royal blue Pacific Ocean and stay afloat over thousands of black tip, reef sharks exquisitely swimming just below you, for as far as you can manage to see. Lucky divers often get to see the lemon shark too! Even though the water is deep, its brilliant transparency provides perfect visibility and you can watch dolphins and divers moving far, below in the distance.This experience of floating closest to the much dreaded sea creatures is both exciting, adventurous and serene and worth cherishing.
- One more awesome thing, you should do is go for a submarine ride. Yes, a real submarine! Just when you’d thought we’d got over with all the possible options, this pops out and sets the spirit of Adventure! During this outlandish and fascinating experience you get to witness the usual marine life suspects: snappers, damselfish, jack fishes, stingrays, multi coloured beauties, and stunning corals all about the place. Depending on the time of year or water conditions, you may also see turtles, moray eels, sharks, and more amazing creatures. However, doesn’t matter what you see or not this very submarine activity definitely provides an unique Bora Bora experience.
- And, even after all this, if you still want more adventure, day hiking the most forbidding and steep mountains of the interior is your thing! The Otemanu and Pahia (Bora Bora’s highest point) mountains, the two remaining peaks of an extinct volcano provide as amazing destinations and challenges for the experienced and serious hikers. Moreover you can also take a four-wheel-drive excursion along the overgrown forest roads enjoying the natural habitat and tranquillity of the island’s interior.
- And, then the best way to end all the over-hyped adventure is with a visit to the exotic “Lagoonarium” where you can get in the waters and actually interact with the sea creatures of the lagoon such as turtles, sharks and rays, tropical fishes etc., while swimming alongside them, but of course with an experienced underwater guide. Through its various activities, the traveller gets an opportunity to feel and interact with the untamed Nature closely, and this is concretizes the entire experience!
A trip to Bora Bora without a Taste of the Poisson Cru is just so incomplete. This dish is an authentic Tahiti delight, a recipe of marinated raw fish seasoned with fresh coconut milk and lime, a paradisiacal exotic dish which you’ll find in almost all the restaurant menus in Bora Bora. One of the best places to serve it is the Tahitian Trio at the Hilton, where they serve a trio of heavenly Tahitian dishes as a shared entrée in the most picturesquely delicious presentation. In Bora Bora, also known as a popular celebrities’ abode, one should surely visit the Bloody Mary’s Restaurant and Bar, a popular local hangout, and check out the bar’s wall of fame which adorns the names of the many celebrities who have dined there, including, Goldie Hawn, Jimmy Buffet and Pierce Brosnan and hope to witness some paparazzi maybe while sipping on a cocktail and enjoying the wonderful ambience one of the extremely romantic islands in the world.
You’re in an island lauded all over the world for its veil of mystery, romances, legends and natural beauty and still hope to go back, just with a mind full of memories, and camera stuffed with photographs? You can’t be this hopeless after all this frenzied variety of adventures ventured onto and that too on the very Shopper’s Paradise! Therefore, Bora Bora brings you at the end of the trip, to the place of treasures, where you can buy and own pieces of treasures, most popularly the finest of Black pearl and unique arts and crafts reflecting the uniqueness of the Tahitian culture. The majority of shopping in Bora Bora is to be found in little honeycomb of shopping centres along the island’s encircling road. Though many hotels also stores, boutiques, and businesses of their own, buying stuffs while wandering in the local market areas while having an opportunity to interact with the locals is the best preferred option. These stalls possess a myriad medley of Pacific Island related products, like island handicrafts, beautiful clothing, paintings, shells, books, art, knick-knacks and so on, while the Tahitian pearl jewellery tops the list! Shops here, are usually open on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with long lunch breaks taken at midday, and until around noon on Saturdays. However, the only shops open on Sunday are located in hotels and resorts possessing no sales tax.
A sea-paradise, the Bora Bora Islands is one of such unique places, which is worth a visit at least once in a lifetime. Though, this paradise is in its best appearance for almost the entire year, there are obviously some special occasions, when the hotel rates here, touch the skies and the shores are flooded with tourists and the entire Island gyrates in the rhythm of merriment. Such festivities take place during the Tahiti Heiva in June, which the biggest party of the year in Bora Bora and also during Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day. Moreover, the events of the World Tourism Day and the Tahiti Guitar Festival, from February 20-22 held in Le Meridien Tahiti are really popular. Therefore, if its best to start planning a trip to this Elysium from this very moment, because Bora Bora seems to asphyxiate you to feel like you’ve never had enough of it and escort you to the ultimate indulgence!