Bora Bora

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Bora Bora is a honeymooners’ paradise and most travelers are content to soak up the scenery, gaze into their loved one’s eyes, and recuperate from the wedding. Should you happen to be can’t-sit-still types or be visiting with family or friends, however, the island offers a wide range of activities ranging from shopping to water sports to hiking. Although children are welcome (and enjoy swimming with sharks and stingrays) only a few resorts have actual kids programs.

Things to do in Bora Bora

Centre d'Artisinale de Bora Bora

Located in the tourist office in Vaitape, this collection of stalls is the best place to find affordable, locally produced handicrafts including baskets, pareus, carved mother-of-pearl jewelry, tikis, fragrant soaps, and monoi oil.

Vaitape, Bora Bora,
Tags: shopping | art | things to do | jewelry | souvenirs | crafts

Circle the Island on a Wave Runner

To really experience the endless variations of blue in Bora Bora’s magical lagoon, head out on a guided tour atop a two-person Wave Runner with Matira Jet Tours. For two fun-filled hours, you’ll skim over the surface of water that’s a few feet to a few hundred feet deep, zip into bays, and stop for a swim and a fresh-from-the-tree coconut and banana snack on a deserted beach.

BP 200 Vaitape, Bora Bora, 011-689-67-62-73, www.boraborawaverunner.com
Tags: beach | things to do | tour | adventure

Do Absolutely Nothing

Be it sitting on the private deck of your overwater bungalow or lounging beneath an umbrella on the beach, staring at the impossibly turquoise water is one of the best things you can do in Bora Bora (with your clothes on).

Bora Bora,
Tags: beach | romance | things to do | ocean views

Enjoy a Massage With a View

How can you resist a spa treatment called the “Million Dollar View Experience?” You can try it at the hilltop Hina Spa at the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, where couples can enjoy a two-hour organic body polish and massage in an open-air cliff-side setting with a breathtaking view, followed by a poisson cru and tropical smoothie snack.

BP 502, Motu Toopua, Bora Bora, 011-689-60-33-00; 800-445-8667, www.boraboranui.com
Tags: luxury | romance | spa | things to do

Explore Underwater

Bora Bora is known for its spectacular shallow, deep, and pass scuba diving. Witness 500 species of fish (including manta rays, lemon sharks, and Maori wrasse) as you dive more than a half dozen top sites inside and outside the lagoon. Non-divers can take an “Aqua Safari,” where a helmet linked to an oxygen tank allows you to walk with the fishes for an hour (www.aquasafaribora.com).

Top Dive, Vaitape, Bora Bora, 011-689-60-50-50, www.topdive.com/bora-bora-diving.html
Tags: things to do | outdoors | wildlife | sports | diving

Get a Tattoo

The art of tattoo has been popular in the South Pacific for hundreds of years. For a permanent souvenir, schedule an appointment with Jean-Yves “Matatiki” Tamarii one of the island’s top tattoo artists, who works from the Manea Spa at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa. He specializes in original designs inspired by traditional Polynesian motifs.

Manea Spa, Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, Bora Bora, 011-689-60-52-00, www.spmhotels.com/resort/bora-bora
Tags: things to do | culture | souvenirs | adventure

Go Four Wheeling

Several operators on Bora Bora, including Tupuna Mountain Safari, offer half-day, four-wheel tours up the spine of the island to the undisturbed forests in its interior. The views are spectacular. There are also drives to historic sites and cannon remnants left by the American military when they were stationed here during WWII.

Tupuna Four Wheel Drive Expedition, Bora Bora, 011-689-67-75-06
Tags: historic | things to do | outdoors | tour | adventure

OPEC

One of several places to buy the island’s must-have black pearls is OPEC (Office Polynesien d’Expertise et de Commercialisation), located in Vaitape, where they appraise the treasures using state-of-the-art gemological equipment. Buy pearls individually or embedded in necklaces.

Vaitape, Bora Bora, www.opec-borabora.com
Tags: shopping | things to do | traditional | jewelry | souvenirs

Parara Mountain Artist

Most of the pareus in Bora Bora’s tourist shops are mass-produced in Asia. For locally hand-painted pareus, seek out Parara Mountain Artist, the studio of Emmanuel Masson in Faanui in the Valley. The wraps may be pricy, but they’re still a bargain for a work of art.

Emmanuel Masson, Bora Bora, 011-689-67-65-31
Tags: shopping | art | things to do | traditional

Sail the Lagoon

Emerald-green mountains rise out of crystalline waters that range from pale turquoise to sapphire as Mount Otemanu changes shape – from a flat slab to a towering spire – while you circle the island. Inquire about options at your resort, but a sunset cruise (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 5pm–7pm) aboard the Fanfan, Hinano in hand, is both fun and romantic.

Bora Bora, 011-689-79-11-62
Tags: romance | things to do | outdoors | tour

Say "I Do" or Renew Your Vows

You can celebrate your union with a traditional Tahitian wedding ceremony at many resorts. A Tahitian priest officiates and Polynesian performers sing and dance. Weddings here are now legal for overseas visitors, but paperwork takes between 3 and 5 months; vow renewals are much simpler. The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa  has a cool (literally as it is air-conditioned) overwater wedding chapel with a glass aisle and fabulous view of Mount Otemanu.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, Motu Pita Au, Bora Bora, 011-689-60-76-00, www.boraboraspa.intercontinental.com
Tags: romance | things to do | traditional

Take a Hike

While Bora Bora’s lush green terrain offers many simple scenic walks, the strenuous hike up the volcanic peak of Mount Pahia rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramas of the island and the sea. The steep and difficult trek takes two hours each way and should only be done with a guide.

Otemanu Tours, Bora Bora, 011-689-67-70-49
Tags: hiking | views | things to do | outdoors

Tamaaraa

A tamaaraa is a Tahitian feast of fish, pork, chicken, and yams cooked in an underground oven called an ahima’a and accompanied by Polynesian dancing performed by gorgeous costumed men and women. You can experience a version of it during a “Polynesian Night” at most resorts (it’s touristy, but worth it to see what human hips are capable of).

Bora Bora, 011-689-60-55-00, www.sofitel.com
Tags: nightlife | dancing | things to do | traditional

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