It may be a place you can only afford to visit once in a lifetime, but Bora Bora provides a French Polynesian experience that visitors say is near perfect. The water and air are clear and fresh, the island is beautiful, and the accommodations and services are exquisite. Summer, from November through April in their Southern Hemisphere location, is rainy and humid but less busy. May through October is dry with temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit and quite busy. Places to stay include hotel rooms, luxurious bungalows over the water and rooms on boats such as catamarans.
From exclusive villas to four-star hotels like the Intercontinental and Four Seasons, high-end luxury is popular here. There are many hotels to choose from, though and every location has charm and style. If your hotel is near Matira beach, you'll have the most popular public beach available whenever you want to relax. Keeping in mind that nearly everything in Bora Bora is pricey such as $30 cocktails and $120 meals for two, standards are high, and it is worth indulging while you're here. You'll find spa treatments, yoga classes, delicious meals and a concierge who will make sure your experience is just how you want it to be.
Your accommodation will make a difference when it comes to exploring the main island here. There's lots to do including boating, shopping, dining and eating from food trucks, all in paradise. If you're not in a beach hotel, however, you'll have to take a shuttle from your location. Bungalow resorts tend to offer complimentary water shuttle trips during the day, but charge a lot in the evening when crowds head out for dinner. You can get around the island on bicycles, motorcycles, taxis, 4x4s, and cars to find your ideal destination.
Bora Bora is surrounded by small volcanic motus or tiny islands. From some of these motus extend walkways over the water which lead to bungalows with great views of not only the dormant Mount Otemanu volcano and the rest of the main island but the ocean water below. A typical bungalow has all the luxury and service of a hotel room, but privacy treasured by honeymooners. A fun benefit of bungalow life is the waterslide from your room directly into the water.
Cuisine in Bora Bora is typically local dishes with seafood featured or French-style cooking with imported meats. You can enjoy meals in your hotel, at elegant restaurants on the main island, at snack stops for basic but delicious food, from food trucks which are nicely priced or even grab-and-go food from local markets which is quite affordable. Some hotels offer a service where you are responsible for the fish you eat: they provide the equipment and the chef to prepare your fish once you've caught it.
In addition to catamaran accommodations, you can take a trip on these well-balanced and nicely appointed vessels. It's a great way to see the whole of the island or just enjoy the open Pacific Ocean for a while, even overnight. Sailboat trips are also available, and you can imagine what it would be like to sail the Pacific on your own private journey. Other boats are available for day rentals to explore the lagoon and beaches.
Bora Bora is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef which allow peaceful snorkeling without being affected by the ocean's waves. With crystal clear water and colorful ocean life including not only fish but manta rays, sharks and sea turtles, spending time with nature is a memorable experience here. Of course, guides help swimmers to have a safe and comfortable visit with sea life.
Tropical weather in Bora Bora is balanced between wet summers from November through April and dry winters the rest of the year. The weather in summer can be unpredictable during the course of a day, or it may rain for several days in a row, providing cooler temperatures. Storms do happen here, but anything more dramatic is extremely rare.
Bright tropical flowers are the decoration of choice here, whether it's in your hotel bathroom, on your dinner plate, or in your hair. Look for the Tiare Tahiti, hibiscus or pureu in the local language, frangipani, orchids, jasmine, and many more exquisite varieties. Weddings are especially beautiful here because of the flowers. Flowers are also used to reveal relationship status: if the woman places a flower behind her left ear, she's taken. Behind the right ear, a flower signals her availability for flirting and polite male company.
The Four Seasons and other hotels offer private villas for guests in addition to hotel rooms and bungalows. They typically have several bedrooms for a group traveling together. Some online homestay services offer villa accommodations on Bora Bora. Bora Bora One has five luxurious bedrooms in a spectacular location with gardens, infinity pool, private chef, staff and boat plus more but at a weekly cost which is ten times or more what an average visitor would pay here. Still, if you're going to enjoy outstanding luxury, Bora Bora is the place for it.
Some people find ways to live less expensively or just don't worry about cost and return to Bora Bora regularly to relax and refresh. It's peaceful, beautiful and far from the stress of life. Others save for the vacation of a lifetime and enjoy the memories of fragrant flowers, delicious food, swimming in azure water and watching the clear, starlit night sky.