Bora Bora French Polynesia Splendor
Totemic South Pacific Mountains slope down to a lagoon striped with bands of deep-blue-green to neon-turquoise water. Around the lagoon, palm-fringed atolls and coral reefs trace a wispy pentagon, and everywhere, suspended boardwalks lead tentacle-like to this island’s irresistible lodging cliche, the over-water bungalow (OWB). The whole ensemble is romantic, tropical-getaway perfection: Nothing says “ultimate honeymoon” quite like Bora Bora. The word is out—and has been for some time—about this French Polynesian island’s extraordinary natural beauty, and though newlyweds seem to compose the overwhelming majority of vacationers here, Bora Bora’s remoteness and high prices have kept the island’s luxurious mystique intact.
Enchanting Bora Bora belongs to the exclusive, so-preposterously-gorgeous it-doesn’t-seem a natural club of travel destinations. Even the most jaded of globe-trotters duly drops his jaw when confronted with the spectacle of the lagoon and the iconic silhouette of Mount Otemanu in the background. Many visitors, in fact, never get farther than that perfect tableau of paradise—they stick to their OWB love nests and resort dining, signing up for every watersport offered on the crystal-clear lagoon (shark feeding is the signature activity), and admiring the blissful views from parasail harnesses. But excursions to the main island and its lofty interior are how you’ll get to the real heart of Bora Bora. Tearing yourself away from the plush lagoon life may seem counterintuitive, but as you ascend the lush slopes and the hum of jet skis fades away, you’ll be glad you made the effort.
The basalt pyramid of Mount Otemanu (725m/2,379 ft.) lords over Bora Bora like a petrified Polynesian god, mantled in dense tropical flora. Just next to it, the spike topped Mount Pahia is only slightly lower(660m/2,165 ft.). Treks to the summit regions of either peak are for experienced hikers only and should be undertaken with a guide: Try Pahia Heights Adventure 689-677773. Otherwise, 4×4 excursions over the mountain roads of Bora Bora will whisk you up to forested heights and fabulous views it’s a thrill ride and nature discovery outing all in one. A gentler way to feel adventurous and still take in those rapturous island panoramas is by hiking along splendid Matira Beach (keep to the road that starts at Hotel Bora Bora and make your way southeast toward Matira Point). The flat, 3km (13⁄4-mile) walk, skirting Rofau Bay, is probably the most scenic in the South Seas.
However you choose to spend your time on Bora Bora, there is one place you must go before you fly back home: Bloody Mary’s 689-9677286). Part barbecue fish joint, part island watering hole, this beloved spot incorporates elements of the Polynesian to great effect, from the thatched-roof dining room to the sugary sand floor (you eat barefoot) to the rustic tables and stools made of coconut palm wood. The food, drink, and service are all top-notch.
Bora Bora Comité du Tourisme, Vaitape 689-677636); also www.tahititourisme. com.
Airports- Bora Bora-Motu Mute (connections to Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, and Raiatea, on Air Tahiti Nui).
4 Star Hotel- Four Seasons Bora Bora,Motu Tehotu 689-603130; www. fourseasons.com/borabora Hotel Maitai, Matira Point 689-603000; www.hotelmaitai.com