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Top 7 Things to Do in Bora Bora

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Snorkeling in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Snorkeling in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Escape to bungalows floating above the South Pacific and snapshot magnificent scenery on a Bora Bora vacation that includes these top seven things to do.

Lounge on soft-sand beaches, bob on waves lapping against the shores, stroll through the wilderness to spot endemic wild and birdlife, or take a peaceful cycle around the island. These are a few of the pleasures to savor on an unhurried trip to the French Polynesian island.

Travel with your family or explore with your significant other as you embrace these seven top things to do in Bora Bora, with other highlights showcased in this guide.

  1. 1. Soak Up the Sunshine on Matira Beach
  2. 2. Swim with Sharks and Stingrays at Coral Gardens
  3. 3. Witness the Magnificent Humpback Whales
  4. 4. Challenge Yourself to Climb Mount Otemanu
  5. 5. Capture the Colorful Culture of Vaitape
  6. 6. Soothe Your Mind and Soul with Spa Treatments
  7. 7. Set Your Sights on the Scenery by Bicycle or 4x4
  8. Experience the Top Things to Do in Bora Bora

1. Soak Up the Sunshine on Matira Beach

Matira Beach on the island of Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The white sands and crystal-clear lagoon of Matira Beach invite travelers to kick back and relax under the summer sun, wallow in the warm water, and sip cocktails at thatched beach bars nestled against the coast.

You could spend the entire day lapping up the seaside luxuries of Matira Beach, exploring the long stretch of ivory sand that circles the peninsula or snorkeling along the reefs. You can also embrace the carefree nature of Bora Bora as you flip through a book while reclining on the sand, snapshot spectacular tropical scenery, or wade in the water.

Many of Bora Bora’s best beaches are private, so selecting your accommodation is all about discovering the island’s most secluded sands.

Best Beaches in Bora Bora: Four Seasons Private Beach • Conrad Private Beach • Pearl Beach Resort Private Beach • St. Regis Private Beach • Le Meridien Private Beach

2. Swim with Sharks and Stingrays at Coral Gardens

Snorkeling amongst the coral with sharks and colorful fish in French Polynesia

You can find some of the best snorkeling in Bora Bora near Coral Gardens, a charming islet off the coast of the mainland that is a sanctuary for marine life and coral.

Yachts glide from Bora Bora to Coral Gardens’ natural aquarium, where you can spend time snorkeling or taking advantage of onboard amenities. Views of the sprawling South Pacific and your captain’s insight into the sea creatures and their unique marine habitat make for an unforgettable day trip to the idyllic area.

When you hop off the yacht and plunge into the temperate water, coral spectacles and teeming sea life will greet you. You will swim with sharks and stingrays that quietly go about their business while you capture these close encounters with an underwater camera.

Best Marine Life to Spot in Bora Bora: Whitetip sharks • Manta rays • Giant Napoleon wrasse • Hawksbill turtles • Triggerfish

3. Witness the Magnificent Humpback Whales

Humback whale breaching the surface in French Polynesia

Humpback whales make their way to the warm waters of Bora Bora during the breeding season, escaping the icy temperatures that prevail in the Antarctic.

You can hop onboard luxury liners and set sail for the South Pacific waters circling Bora Bora for up-close encounters with these mighty marine mammals. From the ship, you can hear the males' calls as they sing haunting songs from the depths of the cobalt sea and watch as the massive creatures leap from the ocean.

Captains share stories about the creatures and why they choose Bora Bora as their breeding ground.

Best Time for Whale Watching in Bora Bora: August • September • October

4. Challenge Yourself to Climb Mount Otemanu

Mount Otemanu on the Island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia

Conquer the steep slopes of Mount Otemanu, stroll along trails that weave in and out of the rainforest, or pace yourself on a pilgrimage to historic viewpoints marked by old cannons. There are boundless hikes for all types of travelers and any one of them will be well worth the effort.

Bora Bora’s volcanic landscape provides nutrients that see plants thrive, but does not support wild creatures, with only birds gathering in the canopy.

Best Hiking Trails in Bora Bora: Valley of the Kings • Mount Otemanu • Mount Pahia • Point Fitiuu • Farepiti Cannons

5. Capture the Colorful Culture of Vaitape

Black pearls for sale in French Polynesia

Vaitape is Bora Bora’s largest town and a treasure trove of local culture that remains significant to those who call this tropical paradise home.

Gourmet restaurants serve hungry visitors delicious French Polynesian cuisine and you can follow the aromas of sizzling pork skewered over burning coals and served with fresh pineapple. You can also browse boutiques for authentic French Polynesian keepsakes, such as black-pearl jewelry and pareo garments, clothing which is fabricated from bark and leaves.

Museums and art galleries are also open to visitors who wish to learn more about the history of Bora Bora and the island’s artistic viewpoint.

Best Cultural Experiences in Bora Bora: Alain Despert Studio • Art Du Pacific • Ancient village tours • WWII memorials • Heiva

6. Soothe Your Mind and Soul with Spa Treatments

Massage spa services in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Photo courtesy of Tahiti Toursme

Few spa treatments rival those on Bora Bora, as venues take advantage of the spectacular seaside scenery.

Award-winning wellness centers riddle the small island, surrounded by tropical groves or the picturesque South Pacific. Traditional spa therapies and massages are available, though you should choose from a collection of unique treatments to make your day that much more meaningful.

A range of signature spa rituals includes black-pearl massages and coconut and gold scrubs, as well as treatments that unveil Bora Bora and French Polynesia’s distinct culture.

Best Spa Treatments in Bora Bora: Coconut and gold scrub • Black-pearl massage • Pareo massage • Foot-reflexology massage • Polynesian massage

7. Set Your Sights on the Scenery by Bicycle or 4x4

Biking in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Beyond lavish cruises and illustrious hikes, cycling and 4x4 adventures let visitors explore Bora Bora independently or with guides.

Cycling routes weave in and out of the rainforest, crossing the dusty pathways down to the coastline, where you can find quiet observation decks to capture images of the scenery.

Trips in 4x4s allow you to reach areas inaccessible to other modes of transportation, showing you the best of Bora Bora.

Best Views in Bora Bora: Taurere Lookout Matira • Tā'ihi Point • Point Tereia • Raititi Point • Mount Pahia Summit

Experience the Top Things to Do in Bora Bora

Stand-up paddle boarding in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora is a dream destination for honeymooners, families, and small groups of travelers. Our featured Bora Bora vacations are some examples of experiences tailored to spotlight the stunning scenery and vibrant local culture, and you can customize them further to include these top seven things to do.

You can also find the right time to visit in our guide on the best time to visit Bora Bora, helping you finalize your travel plans in the South Pacific.

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