What to do in Bora Bora
It’s decided, your next destination will be Bora Bora, the mystical island of French Polynesia. You are probably wondering what to do in Bora Bora, so follow the guide! Unique experiences and unforgettable activities, there are many things to do in Bora Bora. Couple, family, or friends, if you have some time to spend in the Pearl of the Pacific and are looking to organize your stay, get inspired by our advices and local tips.
As a paradise island surrounded by the most beautiful lagoon in the world, it is not surprising that the must-do activities in Bora Bora take place outdoors. On land, on water, or in the air, this little paradise has a lot to offer. Visitors come from all over the world attracted by white sandy beaches, unspoiled nature, fascinating culture and cuisine with a taste of the tropics. Ia Orana e Maeva (welcome) to Bora Bora!
- Explore the lagoon of Bora Bora by boat, jet ski, kitesurf, paddle…
Our lagoon is the most photographed and visited of the French Polynesia ! It is the reason why you come to Bora Bora! Its crystalline waters, abundant underwater life, coral garden of a thousand colors, luxuriant motus, and its dreamlike landscapes make it the most beautiful lagoon in the world. Your stay wouldn’t be complete without an adventure in these infinite shades of blue. And for that, you will have the choice: by kitesurf, boat, jet-ski, or paddle, the lagoon of Bora Bora can be discovered in many ways.
The essential activity in Bora Bora is the boat tour with a snorkeling session that seduces all visitors. This excursion will take you around the main island and give you a complete overview of the lagoon. You will be able to admire the beautiful scenery, Mount Otemanu, the motus (islets), and explore the turquoise waters by snorkeling (swimming with fins, mask, and snorkel). This is an opportunity to discover the local fauna and flora as you have never seen them before: rays, sharks, coral garden and its colorful fish, and perhaps manta rays. When choosing your activity, choose a provider who does not practice “feeding”, a forbidden and harmful process for wildlife. It is possible to extend the pleasure by choosing a full-day tour that includes a stop on a private motu for a Polynesian-flavoured lunch.
The boat trip is therefore a classic, but if you are looking for more sporting activities, why not try the kitesurfing or jet skiing in Bora Bora? If you want to go around the lagoon at full speed on turquoise water, we recommend the jet ski tour, guaranteed to be a thrill! If you have a little more time, try your hand or perfect your skills at kitesurfing. For extreme sports enthusiasts, it is possible to practice supervised extreme sports on the lagoon. Water skiing, towed buoy or wakeboarding are yours in Bora Bora. For an peaceful ride at your own pace, opt for paddle or canoeing, available for hire, or from the hotels.
There are still plenty of ways to explore the lagoon. Between July and November, nature lovers can enjoy a unique experience: whale watching in Bora Bora. Take the opportunity to admire and perhaps swim with these magnificent cetaceans and their young. Or would you rather be tempted by a romantic moment in Bora Bora? Then the lagoon will be your ally for a romantic sunset cruise that can be followed by a romantic dinner. Finally, diving in Bora Bora remains a “must-do”, trust certified instructors to take you to great spots for a first dive or further if you have a Level 1 or higher.
Whatever your choice among all these water activities, you won’t regret it because if there is one thing to do in Bora Bora Bora, it is to discover the big blue sea!
Local tips: Book your trip to Bora Bora in advance because the activities on the lagoon are very popular and the number of places is limited. How far in advance? As soon as you know the dates of your stay. If your budget allows it, don’t hesitate to book your activity privately to ensure more availability.
- Relaxing on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Matira Beach
Whether you are dreaming of a refreshing swim, a walk hand in hand with your loved one, or meeting the locals who go there with your family, Matira beach is a great idea! This kilometer-long stretch of white sand is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In addition to being public and free, it is also very rarely crowded. Located at the southern tip of the island of Bora Bora, the beach is lined with sun-ripened coconut palms and surrounded by green hills. There is nothing like warm water and fine sand to relax in. The offshore reef offers protection from the ocean waves, making Matira an ideal beach for swimming and snorkeling, especially for children. At low tide, it is possible to walk from the tip of the beach to the reef, as the water is very shallow. Matira beach is also the perfect place to admire the sunset.
Local tips: during the day and in the evening, you will find restaurants and snacks along the beach, for all tastes and budgets. Most of them offer takeaway food and drinks, so why not enjoy a picnic on Matira beach!
- Reach the sky: mountain hiking and flying over bora bora
If the lagoon remains its main asset, Bora Bora also rhymes with mountains, vegetation, and hiking. When you arrived by plane you couldn’t miss the two emblems of the island, Mount Pahia, and Mount Otemanu, which rise majestically above the limpid waters. But be careful, it is difficult and even dangerous to attempt to climb these two mountains. Instead, prefer an easy ascent to Mount Popoti. At 249 meters high, it offers the most beautiful hike in Bora Bora because the colors of the lagoon seen from above are incredible. To access the hiking trail, go to the Faanui district and ask the locals to tell you where the trail is located, as it is not signposted.
If it is possible to reach Mount Popoti on foot, you can also explore it in an original and fun way on an ATV excursion. You will discover mountain paths that are not easily accessible other than by ATV and breathtaking views. You will enjoy the panorama, probably the most beautiful on the island, from the top of Mount Popoti: a 360-degree view of the Bora Bora lagoon. The shades of blue of the South Pacific extend before your eyes, it is difficult not to fall under the spell of the supernatural beauty of the horizon. In the distance, you can even see Tupai, a famous heart-shaped atoll. Photography lovers will be delighted by the many stops along the way.
If you are not satisfied after this adventure at the top, let yourself be tempted to fly over Bora Bora by seaplane. As you get up high, you will see the motus with lush vegetation and lined with white sand contrasting with the turquoise blue of the water. The coral reef can be seen perfectly from the sky. Take advantage of this bird’s eye view of Bora Bora to see the whole island and better understand its geography and size. As airplanes are a quick way to link the islands together, don’t hesitate to choose the seaplane for your inter-island transfers. Even if it is a means of transport, the flight itself is an unforgettable moment.
The panoramic flight over Bora Bora can also be done in a helicopter, treat yourself to this extraordinary experience if your budget allows it. The parasail flight and the parachute jump will delight the most daredevils and amateurs of aerial views. These adrenalin-packed activities are accessible to all and offer an unforgettable view of the lagoon’s wonders, you won’t regret it.
Local tips: It is possible to enjoy a flight over Bora Bora and appreciate the landscapes seen from the sky without weighing down your budget. For this we advise you, during your Air Tahiti flight to Bora Bora, to sit on the left side of the aircraft to enjoy the best view.
- Get around the island of Bora Bora
Few travelers take the time to take a full tour of the island of Bora Bora, yet it is an excellent way to discover its authentic, cultural, and historical facets. You will be able to observe the dwellings, interact with the locals, walk on footpaths, enjoy the views, or make swimming stops. Take the time to discover the main island of Bora Bora and let your curiosity lead you to its hidden treasures!
As is often the case on Bora Bora, a variety of offers are at your disposal. The sportier ones will appreciate to ride the almost 40 kilometers that surround the island by bike but beware of the few hills that can make the ride physical. Scooters, electric bikes, and electric cars can be rented from some car rental companies. The tour of the island will take you a day if you venture off the main road and off the beaten track.
If you want to both explore the island’s interior and learn a few cultural facts, hop on board a 4WD that will take you to historic sites and beautiful vistas. Indeed, Bora Bora has some remnants of the past that are little known to the general public, the hidden side of this paradise. During this 4WD cultural excursion, your guide will take you to historical sites such as the different districts of the island, the Marae (sacred stones), the American bunkers and cannons from the Second World War, or the meeting with the locals who make pareos in the colors of the fenua. This activity is ideal for combining a tour of the island of Bora Bora with a total escape and cultural discovery accompanied by a local.
Local tips: Bicycles can sometimes be lent to you by your hotel or pension. The stop sign also works on the island.
- Visit Vaitape, the city center of Bora Bora
Located on the west coast of the island, the main town will only take you a few hours to visit. If you are looking to bring back a souvenir from Bora Bora or simply want to take part in the daily life of the inhabitants, don’t hesitate to spend an afternoon visiting Vaitape. Although small in size, you will find several restaurants, souvenir shops, two supermarkets, and art galleries in the town center.
If you are looking for a nice souvenir to give as a gift, head to the black pearl shops with glittering windows of authentic jewelry. There is a dozen of these shops in town, so don’t hesitate to push their doors to find what you’re looking for to suit your budget. If you’re looking for gifts at slightly more affordable prices, there are also a host of small shops selling less expensive souvenirs (local products, clothing, or accessories) in the city center. Bora Bora’s craft market, located in the main square, is also a good place to find locally made jewelry and accessories.
While you’re shopping, stop by the fruit and snack stalls and buy a thirst-quenching iced coconut or a local pastry. Then pass the Protestant church with its pink walls and make a diversion to the Vaitape quay where cruise ships and shuttles disembark. Then extend the walk to the colorful art galleries on the outskirts of the city center.
Vaitape also has a tourist office, a car rental agency, a gas station, a post office, banks, a medical center, and a police station. Depending on where you are staying, you can get to the city by taxi, bicycle, and rented a car or scooter. Most hotels offer a shared or private shuttle service to the city.
Local tips: Visit Vaitape on Sunday mornings, when religious services are held and “ma’a Tahiti” (a hearty meal that brings Polynesian families together around a large table) the city comes alive.
- Typical Polynesian dishes and restaurants in Bora Bora
Take advantage of your stay in Bora Bora to taste local specialties such as raw fish with coconut milk, sashimi, or grilled Mahi Mahi with vanilla sauce. Then quench your thirst with Hinano beer, the most popular in French Polynesia, and brewed in Tahiti. Tropical fruits are also a delight: banana, mango, pineapple, papaya with lemon, or even rambutans depending on the season.
There is no shortage of restaurants and snack bars offering these local delicacies. Nestled in the heart of luxury hotels or located on the main island of Bora Bora, you will come across them at all prices and for all tastes. However, there are three good restaurants not to be missed. Known for their friendly atmosphere and welcoming setting that brings together locals and tourists alike, these restaurants will delight your taste buds. Inaugurated in 1979, the Bloody Mary is a mythical restaurant in Bora Bora. Its bar, its Yacht Club, the chef’s specialties made of meat and fish are all good reasons to come and spend some time in this unmissable restaurant. If you are looking for romance, exclusivity, and fine cuisine, book a table at the Saint James where you can dine with a view of the lagoon. The Fare Manuia, located near Matira Beach, offers Polynesian cuisine or pizzas cooked over a wood fire and a well-stocked bar for lovers of cocktails, wines, and spirits.
Fancy an exclusive lunch with your feet in the water? For a meal like no other, head to a private motu where you can enjoy a Polynesian vegetarian barbecue. In a heavenly and intimate setting, looking out over the lagoon and the island of Bora Bora, classics of Polynesian cuisine in the vegetarian version await you.
Local tips: be on the main square of the town of Vaitape from 6 p.m. You will find the “roulottes” (food trucks) anad their cuisine with Tahitian, Chinese and European influences, all at very affordable prices. Bring some change as credit cards are not accepted.
We have unveiled the best things to do in Bora Bora, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on tours in Bora Bora and create a tailor-made activity that suits you.