Bora Bora , French Polynesia
Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is within the Society Islands group in the French Polynesia. It is located 230km northwest of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia.
The main island of Bora Bora is an extinct volcano consisting of two peaks named Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu. A shallow lagoon surrounds the main island, and a barrier reef encircle it, providing protection against the open ocean. Islands that have emerged out of the barrier reef are called “motus”, or “isles”.The name comes from the Tahitian word “pora-pora”, which means “first born”.
Bora Bora is believed to have seen human habitation since the 4th century, when the people of Tonga arrived there. However, it was known to the West after James Cook arrived in 1777. It was used as a military supply base during the Second World War, even though it never saw any fighting. The airstrip at Bora Bora was the only international airport for French Polynesia, until the Faa’a International Airport at Papeete was opened in 1962.
As of August 2007, there are just about nine thousand people living in Bora Bora, mainly in Vaitape, on the west side of the main island. Bora Bora today is heavily dependent on tourism. It caters mainly to upmarket tourists and many 5-star resorts have been built here. The resorts are often built on the motu or on stilts over the crystal clear lagoons. The guest can enjoy a wide variety of sea-related activities including shark and ray feeding excursions. Snorkelling and scuba diving are two other popular activities.
How to go to Bora Bora
Air Tahiti has 5-6 daily flights between Faa’a International Airport (PPT) and Bora Bora. Airlines flying to Faa’a International Airport include Aircalin (to Nouméa), Air France (to Los Angeles), Air New Zealand (to Auckland), Air Rarotonga (to Rarotonga), Air Tahiti (to Afaraeitu, Avarua, Fare, Rarotonga, Tiputa, Tuherahera, Uturoa, Vaitape),
Air Tahiti Nui (to Auckland, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Osaka-Kansai, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Sydney, Tokyo-Narita),
Hawaiian Airlines (to Honolulu) and LAN Airlines (to Hanga Roa, Santiago de Chile).
Budget Travel within Bora Bora
If you are staying on an offshore atoll or island, your resort will have a boat transport at the disposal of guests to take you to Matira, the main island. On the main island itself, there is only one tarred road, so you can expect transportation to be limited. You will quickly find out about the bus that goes up and down the street half way round the island.
An option is to rent a bicycle or motorcycle to ride around on your own, allowing you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Take note that although Bora Bora is an “expensive destination”, the roads are not always well maintained.
- Bora Bora
One of the most beautiful islands within the Society Islands group.
A beautiful island within the Society Islands archipelago.
- Raiatea and Taha’a
Twin islands in the South Pacific dotted with high-end resorts. Raiatea has an archaeological site considered the cradle of Polynesian civilization.
The main island of the Society Islands group. The only one with a major town, Papeete, which serves as capital of French Polynesia.
Destinations in the French Polynesia
- Austral Islands
A small archipelago on the southern part of French Polynesia, far off the beaten track.
- Gambier Islands
Island group that are the eroded remains of a gigantic crater, it comprises Mangareva and small islands on its fringes.
- Marquesas Islands
Northeastern archipelago in the French Polynesia. The most beautiful islands here are Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa.
- Tuamotu Islands
Vast archipelago in the center of French Polynesia, ringed with coral reefs and atolls. The most significant island here is Rangiroa.