Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Thatched roofed bungalows over crystal blue waters, palm fringed white sand beaches and coral gardens forming a circular barrier reef and lagoon. With impossibly decadent scenery, it’s easy to see why Bora Bora often tops the lists of the world’s most beautiful islands.
You can easily spend the day paddling in the lagoon and lazing on the white sand beaches, but for those who love to keep busy, there’s plenty for visitors to explore. Take in the majestic views from Mount Otemanu, explore the island’s rugged terrain by 4WD or arrange a trip to the outer reef for world-class diving and snorkelling experiences.
One of the most remote island groups on earth, around 5,200 kilometres east of Australia and around 6,000 kilometres west of Chile, it’s easy to see why celebrities and honeymooners have laid claim to Bora Bora for their very own slice of seclusion. After a sun soaked day in port, cruise visitors often make their own vows to return to what is undeniably the pearl of Polynesia.
Bora Bora forms part of the Society Island chain, located 243 kilometres northwest of the Papeete, the French Polynesian capital. Cruise ships arriving at Bora Bora anchor in Pofai Bay, on the western side of the island. Passengers are then tendered a short distance to the island’s main town of Vaitape.
At the end of the pier there are a number of facilities and services that cruise visitors may use.
- Tour information desk
- Rental car hire desk
- A taxi and shuttle bus rank.
On days when cruise ships are in town, a local market is usually held to welcome visitors. There is also an ATM, internet café and post office a short walk from the tender pier in downtown Vaitape.
How to Get Around
With an area of 29 square kilometres, Bora Bora is a relatively easy place to get around, with round trips around the island’s circular perimeter road taking just over 1 hour by car. Many visitors choose to hire a car from the kiosks next to the pier, costing around USD$100 for a full day, or USD$45 for a four-hour rental. Electric scooters and bicycles are also a good way to get around and can be hired in Vaitape. This small town, with its charming boutiques and eateries, can easily be explored on foot – although be warned prices are incredibly high. Le Trucks are an open-air style vehicle with bench seating and are a popular and cheap way to get around Bora Bora.
Many of the best attractions on Bora Bora are accessible with a short taxi ride. Getting from Vaitape to Bloody Mary’s and Matira Beach is a USD$5 trip per person.
Travel times from port:
- It is a 3 minute journey to Vaitape town centre.
- It is a 3 hour journey around the island by bike, on relatively flat, well-maintained roads.
- It is a 9 minute journey to Matira Point and beach.
- It is a 15-minute journey across the lagoon to the islet of Motu Mute where Bora Bora airport is located.
- Currency - French Polynesia uses the French Pacific Franc (XPF) available in 1XPF, 2XPF, 5XPF, 10XPF, 20XPF, 50XPF and 100XPF coin denominations and 500XPF, 1000XPF, 5000XPF and 10,000XPF bank note denominations.
- Time Zone - Bora Bora is in the Tahiti Time Zone (THAT), which is 10 hours behind Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).
- Weather - Bora Bora enjoys a typical tropical climate with a distinct wet and dry season, with most rainfall occurring between November and April. The average yearly high temperature is 29 degrees Celsius.
- Matira Beach and Point - Considered one of the most spectacular stretches of sand in the whole of the Pacific, Matira Beach is Bora Bora’s main public beach, perfect for frolicking and lazing in the sun. Water sports can also be arranged from beachside vendors including kite surfing, jet boating and jet skiing experiences.
- 4WD Off Road Adventures - Get an elevated perspective of the barrier reef and islands surrounding Bora Bora from the impressive (and jagged peak) of Mount Otemanu. Rough off-road riding in four wheel drive safari vehicles is the perfect introduction to the rugged emerald green landscape and includes a stops at a WWII naval gun site and an artists’ village.