Bora Bora is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the South Pacific, and it’s not hard to see why. The island is characterized by an aquamarine lagoon surrounded by sandy islets, and protected by a coral reef. The lagoon draws many species of marine life, including fish, sting rays, manta rays and sharks. It’s no wonder why most visitors immediately make their way to the water, for snorkeling and diving tours.
While contemplating which tour to take in Bora Bora, make sure to ask for the following:
1. Swimming with Black-Tipped Sharks (and/or Lemon Sharks) – Don’t worry! These creatures are gentle and will not bite. They are well-fed from all the tour guides, making them friendly towards humans. The sharks will swim in waist deep water right by you!
2. Sting Ray Feeding and Kissing! – Make sure your tour includes the chance to feed and kiss sting rays. Fun experience and a great photo opportunity!
3. Searching for Manta Rays – Manta rays are quite elusive creatures, so there is no guarantee you will see one. However, make sure to book a tour that will at least look, because swimming with these magnificent creatures is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
4. A Visit to “The Aquarium” – Within the lagoon is a coral reef which attracts thousands of fish, which your tour guide will give you bread to feed! Get your camera ready for the chaos to begin as hundreds of fish nibble at your loaf (and fingers!)
5. Traditional Polynesian Meal – Many tour operators include a traditional Polynesian meal and performance; some even have their own private islands! Try to get a tour that includes this unique cultural experience.
6. Island Circle – A complete ride around the island takes around an hour and a half, and your guide will take you past over-the-water bungalows, boating clubs and much more!
The water of Bora Bora is unlike any other on this planet, from the crystal blue waters to the vast array of marine life. On the other hand, I feel the island itself, although beautiful, is un-inspiring. As with many South Pacific ports, the divide between wealth and poverty is highly apparent. The entire economy surrounds tourism, which is why many hotel chains have swooped in and built resorts to accommodate travelers. The beautiful resorts are located just around the corner from neighborhoods consisting of shacks and bare-footed children.
Other than a taxi island tour, there isn’t much to do on the island. As green as the land is, there are no accessible hiking trails or activities of any sort. Water sports are (understandably) prohibited to protect the reef and wildlife. There are some bars and restaurants, which are inevitably overpriced and under quality.
The worst experience I have had was with the “World Famous Bloody Mary’s Bar.” Bloody Mary’s is a bar frequently visited by tourists and many famous people throughout history. As you enter, you pass by a wooden board with the carved names of celebrities who have visited over time. Safe to assume that this place was going to serve the best Bloody Mary you have ever had, right? Wrong. My partner ordered the classic drink, which was $13, poured out of a cardboard carton with cheap vodka and served in… a plastic to-go cup! We were both shocked and disappointed. The bar itself is interesting to stop by, with a beach theme and sandy floors. However, I wouldn’t waste your money on a sad excuse for a Bloody Mary!
If traveling to Bora Bora, stick to exploring the waters and relaxing on the beach front. I believe that the most pleasant and economical way to visit the island is via cruise ship, but there are dozens of wonderful resorts and condos for rent all over the island if you’d like to go for a longer period of time.
Have fun! And don’t forget to follow my page and subscribe to my YouTube channel for video updates on my travels around the world! ❤ Jess