Bora Bora Vacations
Beach Huts Floating Over Azure Waters
Bora Bora is the island of once-in-a-lifetime honeymoons, over-the-top romance, and an ambiance so seductive you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Bora Bora is part of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Originally inhabited by Polynesian settlers in 4 A.D., this paradise is now home to almost 9,000 island-dwellers today. It was discovered by James Cook in 1769 when he baptized it ‘the pearl of the Pacific,’ and later became an overseas colony of France in 1842. Today, French and Tahitian are its two primary languages.
Bora Bora is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef, while the island’s interior contains the now extinct remnants of a two-peaked volcano - Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu. The interior is largely untouched and there’s not much exploration to be had save making the challenging ascent up the mountain. For views of a lifetime you can make the treacherous hike to the top of both peaks but physical fitness is key, as the hike is enduring and can take the greater part of a day.
However, those magnificent peak views will certainly be etched in your memory for a lifetime. The scenery here is dramatic to be sure and the island has been named time and time again as the most beautiful island on the planet. All this comes at a price, and Bora Bora has one of the biggest price tags of all island destinations in the world.
Budgeting For Bora Bora
Getting there is where you’ll spend a big bunch of cash - you fly to Tahiti and then on to Vaitape, Bora Bora’s main town. Matira is home to Bora Bora’s longest stretch of sand. It’s on this beach where many hotels and restaurants lie. Check out Bora Kaina Hut for a lovely dining experience for the budget-minded. Where else can you eat breadfruit gnocchi while relaxing your feet into the sand floor? The mahi mahi with lilikoi sauce cooked over volcanic stones ain’t too shabby either.
For the ultimate in luxurious dining experiences, you won’t want to miss a dinner at La Villa Mahana, where you are given ‘cuisine avec amour.’ The wildly-intimate setting on a candle-lit patio is the perfect place to bring the love of your life. Signature specialties include mahi mahi with curry and banana served over mango sauce, paired with the perfect Sauvignon Blanc. However, the tasting menus are quite popular and you may wish to go all out while you’re here. If that’s the case, opt for the ‘Menu Exotique’ or the ‘Menu Epicurien.’
Hotels & Villas
Bora Bora is where you’ll find those other-worldly five-star resorts with glass-floored bungalows which seem to float effortlessly over technicolor blue seas. This is where breakfast is served to you by outrigger canoes and five-course dinners by candle-light while you and your sweetie toast the jaw-dropping sunsets are de rigeur. Some of these dreamy resorts include The Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort and Spa, the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa, The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora and the Intercontinental Bora Bora and Thalasso Spa.
For the more frugal-minded among us, guest houses are the answer. The Bora Vaite Lodge is off the beaten path and perfect for those wanting a reasonably priced and more down-to-earth island experience. This place is located on an isolated part of Bora Bora’s northern tip. Breakfast is included in the price of your room and dinners are served alfresco on the veranda overlooking lagoon life.
Vaitape is the major settlement, found on the western side of the island and a spot that merits exploration. There’s a notable art gallery near the post office called Galerie Pakalola. Pick up Polynesian art by local artisans here after buying some beautiful stamps at the post office to send off your picture-perfect postcards. Alain Despert’s new art studio and gallery is located on the hill in Vaitepe. He only does originals and they are expensive. Even if you can’t afford one of his island-inspired masterpieces, do drop in for a visit, preferably around sunset when you can chat with the talented artist while enjoying a stunning sunset from his airy studio.
Since we are on a tropical island, natural beauty is free. You can spend every part of your dream vacation here enjoying nature’s playground. Snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, swimming in the peaceful lagoons, trekking about the island and enjoying those breathtaking sunsets are just a few of the island’s freebies.
For island adventures with a price tag, there’s parasailing, scuba diving, motor boat rentals, glass-bottom boat trips, and other boating excursions that offer an array of special experiences such as barbecues, snorkeling, and shark and ray-feeding demonstrations.
For the shopaholics, there’s not a lot to choose from, but what does remain to fulfill your material wants is luxurious island jewelry and those infamous black pearls. There are at least half a dozen black pearl shops in Vaitape. If you’ve got pearl fever, you won’t be sick for long. Paintings, carvings, pottery and sculptures are also on display in Vaitape. If you’ve got the money, they’re for sale, too. Handicrafts are available too and you’re sure to find something to meet your budget.
Bora Bora is truly a valhalla in the middle of the South Pacific. May you be fortunate enough to see it at least once in your lifetime.
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