Bora Bora Island – A Pearl Of South Pacific

Posted On January 6, 2010 

The turquoise water of the lagoons, an exhilarating ride over it by canoes, jet ski or a catamaran sailboat, a sunset view that takes your breath away, cruising along the panoramic views, a vibrant marine life that you can come close to by snorkeling and diving and the souvenir shops that allow you take home the memoirs from here, in short, this is the much acclaimed Bora Bora Island.

The name Bora Bora comes from the Tahitian word Pora Pora, which means “first born”. Legends describe it as the first island to rise when the Supreme God Taaroa fished it out of the waters after the creation of Havai’i. When Captain Cook heard the name, he mistook Pora Pora for Bora Bora and that’s how the name gained currency and is used till date.

As per an early transcription found in 18th and the 19th century accounts, the name of the Island is recorded as Balobolla or Bollabolla.

Bora Bora Island


The Bora Bora Island belongs to the Leeward group of the Society Islands Archipelago of French Polynesia, in the South Pacific Ocean. The Island, stretching to about 18 miles, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef.

When to go

The Bora Bora Island has a tropical climate that favours tourism all through the year. The Polynesian summer is the wet season here, in the months from November to March. The months of February and March are the hottest months which also record a high amount of rainfall. The Polynesian winter or the dry season comes in the months from May to October.

The dry season is also the peak tourist season here with a number of tourists coming in at that time.

How to go

The Island of Bora Bora has a small airport on the Motu Mute. The airstrip at Motu Mute was built during the World War II, by US marines as a refueling stop on the America to Australia supply line.

You need to take a connecting one hour flight from Papeete in Tahiti Island to get here. Papeete is about 8 hours away by flight from Los Angeles.

Air Tahiti serves a 20 minute flight to Tahiti from Huahine and Raiatea, has regular flights to the Tuamotu Atolls as well as weekly flights to the Marquesas.

From the Motu Mute airstrip, you need to take a short ferry trip to get to the village of Vaitape and then take a shuttle or other means of transport to explore the Island.

While in the Bora Bora Island, you can ask your hotel to arrange a shuttle service for you or you can rent a car, scooter or a bicycle to explore the Island at your own leisure. These rental services are available at the Vaitape Village.

Attractions of Bora Bora Island

The Bora Bora Island is not just a scenic beauty. The Island offers a number of thrilling activities that you can enjoy.

The hotels here can make arrangements for fishing, diving, water skiing, sailing, canoeing, cruising or snorkeling and other water sports of your choice. You can paddle you way on kayaks to the lagoon. You can also opt for cruises.

There are jet tours that you can take for an excursion to the lagoons here and also explore the inland areas through an organized tour.

Snorkeling and diving can give you the joy of swimming with marine life like manta rays, eagle rays, sharks and over one thousand species of tropical fishes in the lagoon of the Bora Bora Island.

Some of the popular snorkeling and diving sites are over the coral gardens in and around the Bora Bora Lagoonarium and the Anau – a site between the former site and Point Haamaire.  The lagoon off the eastern side of Motu Toopua and the islet nest to it, the Motu Toopua Iti too are good sites fro both snorkeling and diving.

Motu ToopuaOff Motu Tapu, the islet south of Teavanui Pass, is the most easily accessible site for diving in the Bora Bora Island. At some distance that can be covered by lengthy boat rides are two more dive site, the White Valley, off the airport and Tupitipiti, to the south east corner on the reef. They are however, meant for expert divers as they can experience strong currents.

The “Aquarium”, a snorkeling site off the southern end of Motu Pitiaau and around Motu Piti Uuuta, is one of the best snorkeling sites of the Bora Bora Island. To reach here, you would need to ride there by boat, or you can walk to the outer reef from the southern tip of Point Matira. Flying Underwater here too is a good snorkeling spot.

You can also go for night dives.

Shopping too can be fun here. The shops here are well known with souvenirs like local and international original art, Tahitian pearls and handicrafts made of wood.

If you are not comfortable diving or snorkeling, or even other wise, you can enjoy the view of coral and schools of tropical fish through a glass bottom boat. Motor boats give you a fast paced way to explore the lagoon.

If you want, you can enjoy the Shark and Ray feeding tours as well as you snorkel.

Going to Motu Tapu, a small islet about a few hundreds yard away form the Island of Bora Bora is just ideal if you want to relax in a secluded surrounding. Matira Beach

Another major attraction of this French Polynesian Island is the Matira Beach, one of the world’s most popular beaches.

There are guided hikes to Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, remnants of two extinct volcanoes in the center of the Island, too that you can go for.  The Mount Otemanu is the highest point here, measuring about 727 meters. Along the coast are ancient marae temples that are worth a visit.

The ambience of this South Pacific Island of Bora Bora creates a mood that is simply romantic, something that you dream of. The white sandy beaches, the turquoise water of the ocean, the lush green tropical slopes and the rich and vibrant, colourful marine life makes the place look like an artists imagination that has come live from a canvas.  The Bora Bora Island is certainly a place you should visit once in your life time.

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