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Your guide to Bora-Bora
Welcome to Bora-Bora
This tiny volcanic island in the middle of the South Pacific — part of the Leeward Islands in French Polynesia — has become a popular romantic destination thanks to its secluded beauty, relaxed vibe, and luxurious spa culture. Bora Bora’s dramatic centre is formed by the lush green rainforest peaks of Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu. The extinct volcano makes for a rewarding hike, although for many it’s little more than a beautiful backdrop to lazy days on the deep-blue lagoon that surrounds it.
Maybe the most magical elements of Bora Bora are the motu, the sand-fringed islets that encircle it like a fairy ring; they are equally astonishing whether explored by boat or viewed from the air. The surrounding waters and coral reefs are teeming with neon-bright tropical fish and majestic manta rays, spotted endlessly by the legions of snorkellers and scuba divers that descend on the island. Bora Bora is also a destination for helmet diving, kiteboarding, paragliding, and perhaps most popular of all, honeymooning.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Bora-Bora
Bora Bora enjoys a classic tropical climate in which temperatures are warm all year round; the dry season is May to October, and the rainy season lasts from November to April. If you’re interested in snorkelling and diving, aim to book a villa during the dry season, when the water is at its clearest. But if you fancy hiking and other outdoor activities, consider June to September, when the temperatures are coolest and the humidity is bearable (although this is also peak visitor season). Two boat races are important dates in the island’s calendar: Hawaiki Nui Va’a, considered one of the toughest canoe races in the world, takes place at the end of October and connects Bora Bora with its neighbouring islands. And every other May, Bora Bora plays host to the largest sailing event in French Polynesia, the five-day Tahiti Pearl Regatta.
Top things to do in Bora-Bora
Bora Bora’s main public beach is a stretch of gorgeous white sand that runs along both sides of a mile-long spit on the south of the island. It’s an idyllic spot, with plenty of waterfront dining at hand. When the tide is low, you can wade out to a barrier reef and snorkel among the coral.
Reaching 2,400 feet above sea level, the jagged green summit of Mount Otemanu is one of the defining sights of Bora Bora. Reaching on foot requires a six-hour round-trip hike, but you can also explore the remains of this long-extinct volcano in a 4x4 or helicopter, or even by boat.
People don’t generally come to Bora Bora for the urban experiences, but there’s plenty of charm to be found in the island’s main town. Vaitape’s pretty harbour bustles with all kinds of watercraft ranging from cruise ships to Polynesian canoes; its traditional village markets sell a mixture of local produce and crafts.