Bora Bora

Bora Bora may not be the largest or most politically important, but it is definitely the most beautiful and oft-visited of the French Polynesian islands. Bora Bora is situated northwest of Tahiti and is surrounded by a crystal-clear lagoon. Further out, the lagoon is enclosed by a barrier reef, atop which lie gorgeous sand-fringed islets that greet the South Pacific waves. The island’s history dates back to the 4th century AD when it was settled by the Tongans. The island was first sighted and explored by James Cook and was later ceded to the French in 1842.

Today, Bora Bora is the hangout of international celebrities, honeymooners, and well-to-do travelers. It is post-card famous for its resort water bungalows that are stilted over the lagoon. The island is also renowned for having some of the most spectacular beaches and waters in the world. The island itself is a volcanic caldera, and so the interior lagoon and waters are shielded from the tumultuous ocean. Point Matira is perhaps one of the better beaches in Bora Bora. It stretches for more than 2 miles and is located on the southern end of the island.

Water activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, water skiing, and wakeboarding are popular in Bora Bora. The Shark and Ray Feeding Excursion is a tourist-must. For this excursion, boat tours take you around the lagoon where you’ll get to feed the manta rays in the shallow waters and then you’ll be driving several miles out into the Pacific for a chance to feed teems of small sharks. Various land activities are tourist favorites as well. You can go horseback riding, biking, hiking, climbing, and jeep touring into the mountainous interior of the island. For the latter, be sure to check out Bora Bora’s iconic basaltic tombstone, Mount Otemanu, which towers over 2350 feet high, and its twin Mount Pahia, which rises 2,165 feet high.