About 160 miles northwest of Tahiti lies one of the most beautiful islands in the world -- romantic, exotic Bora Bora. Bora Bora's most stunning feature is its blue, jewel-toned lagoon and the twin peaks which jut from it, creating changing, gorgeous views throughout the day.
If relaxing on a beach, watching crabs scoot through the sand isn't your thing, there are a variety of water sports, activities and boat trips to take part in on Bora Bora. The snorkeling and scuba diving are very good and you can also take an excursion to feed sharks and sting rays.
Bora Bora is one of the few places (if not the only) where you can stay in an overwater bungalow. Most bungalows are equipped with glass-topped tables that open, allowing you to feed fish and various other seacreatures right from your room. If you decide to join the fish for a quick swim, you can do so from your personal deck.
The offical language of Bora Bora is French, but by the end of your trip, you'll be saying "mauruuru" -- the polynesian word for 'Thank You.'
Weather & When to Go
One of the first questions most people ask about Bora Bora is "What will the weather be like when I'm there?". The Society Islands are a tropical destination so humidity, rain, sunshine and heat are all to be considered. Bora Bora sits at 16 31S Latitude and 151 45w Longitude with an elevation of ten feet. Tahiti and her islands have warm tropical year round temperatures. There are two seasons: The Summer which is from November through March and Winter which is from April through October. The average temperature in Summer is about 85 degrees and in the drier Winter the average temperature is about 82 degrees. Most rainfall is during the Summer months with high humidity...although its been known to be gorgeous in the middle of January! The best time weatherwise with the least risk of storms is in their Winter months. The very best part about the weather in Bora Bora is that the water temperature hovers in the low 80's on average. Historical weather can be found at www.weatherbase.com
Things to do
Bora Bora is an island paradise. As such, much of the activities available revolve around the ocean.
Scuba diving or snorkeling - Bora Bora's waters are filled with all sorts of fish, rays, sharks and other sea creatures. Many tours are available for diving and snorkeling and most hotels have great snorkeling from their own beaches - even from your own room if you get an overwater bungalow, common across French Polynesia.
Sailing - again, many tours are available, whether you are looking for a sporty catamaran ride or a sunset cruise.
Deep sea fishing - many options available.
Parasailing - many major resorts offer this.
Beaches - There are lovely beaches throughout Bora Bora for swimming and relaxing.
4x4 excursions - you can go offroading if you can tear yourself away from the ocean.
Arriving and Departing
The first step in getting to Bora Bora is flying into the capital city of Papeete in Tahiti, via Air Tahiti . Flights from New York City, Boston, and Miami take about 14 hours, from Chicago itís about 13 hours, and just over 8 hours from Los Angeles. From Papeete, you have a few options: Air Tahiti offers five or six flights a day to Bora Bora, or takes passengers by catamaran to the main village of Vaitape to meet pre-arranged hotel transfers or pick up a taxi or rental car. Inter-island ferry transportation is also available, but is far from fast or reliable.
Banks & Money
Currency and Exchange: The Pacific French Franc (known as XPF) is the currency in French Polynesia. There are banks at the International airport in Tahiti and on many islands. ATM machines are on Tahiti and Moorea. Hotels exchange money but the rate isn't as good as at the bank. US dollars are accepted at most restaurants, hotels, and larger shops. A higher rate of exchange is given for travelers cheques than for cash. If you are going to use your credit cards you should notify the credit card company that you will be out of the country. If they see unusual activity on your card and can't get a hold of you by telephone they may freeze your card. Also, some credit card companies charge a fee to convert foreign charges. Be sure to ask if this is the case on your particular card. One final note: keep a copy of your credit card number, phone number for the company, and a copy of your passport in a separate place in your luggage. This could save you hours of frustration if they are lost or stolen.