The Best Bora Bora Experiences That Must Be On Your To-Do List - Lonely Planet (2023)

Bora Bora is world famous for its vibrant turquoise lagoon,soft white sandy beachesand luxury resorts. With such a dreamy setting, this magical island is unsurprisingly a great place to plan a short break. But that doesn't just mean you have to spend it sipping cocktails in a lounge chair by the pool.

Sure, Bora Bora may be known for its luxury resorts, but this French Polynesian paradise has so much more to offer. With activities for sea lovers, hikers and culture vultures, here are ten top things to doBora Borato make the most of your stay.

Snorkel with sharks and rays

Many of the Society Islands, including Bora Bora, have snorkeling sites teeming with blacktip reef sharks and stingrays. It all started when the local fishermen used to clean their daily catches here and this attracted wildlife which in turn attracted the tourists. You're no longer allowed to feed the marine life (though unfortunately some tours still do), but getting in the water with them is safe and fun.

The sharks tend to be shy and keep their distance, but some of the stingrays are quite friendly and will come right up to you as if to say hello and welcome you to the island. Always be respectful of marine life and do your best to give them plenty of space. This sandbar in the lagoon is a popular dive site and is far from the main island - it can only be reached by boat. You must join a snorkeling trip, day trip, or rent a boat to visit.

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Explore Bora Bora by land and sea

Spend a full day exploring the lagoon surrounding Bora Bora by taking a lagoon excursion. Offered by multiple companies, this activity includes multiple snorkeling stops (including the shark and ray spot described above) and a seaside lunch on a motu. lunch israw fishThis is a raw tuna dish served with lime juice, coconut milk and a mix of fresh vegetables. You'll also likely get rotisserie chicken, fresh fruit, rice, and other island picnic essentials. It's a fun way to spend a day exploring Bora Bora by water.

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Hike through the mountains of Bora Bora

Bora Bora is a popular hiking destination, although many of the island's most popular trails are well hidden in the lush, tropical jungle - with a guide for the big trails like thatSacred Cave of AnauorMountain Persiais significant. These trails are not for the faint of heart; You can expect a time of around 6+ hours plus some climbing. However, those who make it will be rewarded with stunning bird's-eye views over the island and the motus of Bora Bora and the lagoon.

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For a less strenuous hike, you can take a 3-hour guided hike through the Valley of the Kings. This takes you past old villages and historic cultural sites. Again, you'll want a guide as the trails aren't well marked. Plus, your guide can tell you about the local plants and history of the area. If you are interested in hiking Bora Bora, contact your accommodation and they will help you find a guide.

The Best Bora Bora Experiences That Must Be On Your To-Do List - Lonely Planet (2)

Dive with majestic manta rays

Bora Bora isn't considered one of the top diving destinations in French Polynesia, but those who take the plunge won't be disappointed. It is home to a few manta ray cleaning stations, the most popular of which is Anau. Divers visiting early in the morning can expect to see about a dozen manta rays gliding by in the morning light. Keep calm and still and they will get very close to you.

Note: Anau is also a snorkeling spot, but visibility isn't great and the manta rays tend to be deeper, so scuba diving is a better option.

(Video) 10 Things to do in Bora Bora French Polynesia

Try kite surfing

From May to December, Bora Bora transforms into a fantastic kitesurfing destination. Whether you are brand new and interested in learning or a kitesurfing expert looking to add some tricks to your repertoire, you can get in touch with usKitesurf School Polynesiato create a lesson that matches your experience level. They will pick you up from your hotel and provide you with all instructions and equipment. All you need is the essentials (sunscreen, bathing suit, sunglasses, water shoes) and a desire to learn!

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View Bora Bora from above on a parasail

If kitesurfing sounds a bit too intense but you still feel like an adventure, why not go parasailing?Bora Bora Parasailingoffers 25-minute tours with a rope length of approx. 305 m (1000 feet). You can enjoy some incredible views of the island, the resorts and even the sharks and manta rays in the lagoon below.

Discover Bora Bora's viewpoints by quad bike

A fun way to explore the island, learn about its history, and enjoy impressive views is to join a quad bike tour with a local. This half-day activity takes you around the island, stopping at several viewpoints, some of which still have themcoastal gunsbrought over by the Americans during WWII when they were using the island as a base. The benefit of going with a local guide is that they will also fill you in on some of the island's history, making this activity a cultural and adventurous sightseeing tour. Get in touch with manyBora Bora Quad Adventurefor an exciting half-day quad tour. Added bonus: his mom makes delicious coconut cake for a snack!

(Video) Best Things to Do in Bora Bora

Cycle around the island

Bora Bora is not very big.You could even walk them, but it's probably more convenient to rent a bike and circle the road around the island. The freedom of having a bike means you can stop whenever you like, be it for a photo from a viewpoint, a refreshing swim in the lagoon, or even a cold drink at one of the seafront restaurants. You can rent a bike from most car rental companies or check with your accommodation.

Appreciate the local culture at Heiva I

If your visit is in July, extend your stay on Bora Bora for the hugely popular Heiva I Bora Bora, or 'Celebration of Life'. Heiva I Bora Bora is the island's most important festival. It's being heldVaitapeat Place Tu Vavau and everyone is invited to come and enjoy the festivities. The festival consists of singing, dancing and sporting events. If you want to experience the best of French Polynesian culture, it might be worth planning your visit around this festival. If you don't make it in July,There are many other wonderful events throughout the year.

The Best Bora Bora Experiences That Must Be On Your To-Do List - Lonely Planet (4)

Relax in an overwater bungalow

If you've always dreamed of staying in an overwater bungalow, Bora Bora is the place to be. While you can now find these luxurious accommodations around the world, they actually originated in French Polynesia and you can immediately see why so many other destinations have adopted the idea.

(Video) Bora Bora - French Polynesia | Full Guide To Paradise

There's no shortage of luxury resorts with overwater bungalows here, but perhaps this is the best ratedFour Seasons Resort Bora Bora. Considered one of the best resorts not only in Bora Bora, but in the world, the overwater bungalows here offer gorgeous views of the lagoon, white-sand beaches, and Mount Otemanu. Well, we can't pretend that staying in one of these stunning suites is cheap. But if you view your resort stay as an experience rather than just a place to sleep, it's well worth the money and will leave you with some great memories of your time in Bora Bora.

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