Port of Bora Bora
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The island is a high-end playground dependent on tourism (i.e. you'll find more resorts than old fishing villages and simple lifestyles here), but it's still not as slick and Hollywood-chic as you might expect. Internationally acclaimed novelist James A. Michener once wrote that Bora Bora was the world's most beautiful island, and we have to think he was in the right ballpark with that one. Within the warm turquoise waters and snow white ring of sand is a mountainous interior dominated by two majestic peaks -- Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, the remnants of an extinct volcano.
You can make a day of it in Bora Bora simply lounging on the beach or floating in the lagoon. But if you find it surprisingly difficult to do nothing, as so many of us do, there are active pursuits to enjoy. Bora Bora is much more geared to outdoor excursionists than shoppers or culture vultures; snorkeling and scuba diving are world class, with surprisingly friendly sharks and rays. Bicycles are the recommended method of transport; you can easily circle the whole island, stopping for sightseeing and shopping along the way, in a couple of hours.
Top Bora Bora Itineraries
Paul Gauguin7 Night South Pacific CruiseTahiti , Huahine, Bora Bora, Bora Bora, Moorea, Moorea, Tahiti , TahitiNow
Paul Gauguin11 Night South Pacific CruiseTahiti , Huahine, Rarotonga, Bora Bora, Bora Bora, Moorea, Moorea, Tahiti , TahitiNow
Wind Spirit11 Night South Pacific CruiseTahiti , Tahiti , Rangiroa, Raiatea, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, Tahiti , TahitiNow
Wind Spirit7 Night South Pacific CruiseTahiti , Moorea, Raiatea, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Bora Bora, Huahine, TahitiNow
Maasdam34-day Kon Tiki VoyagerFort Lauderdale , Quepos, Puntarenas , Lima, Lima, Tahiti , Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti , TahitiNow
Where You're Docked
Ships typically anchor in Pofai Bay near Vaitape, the island's main settlement; you'll tender to Vaitape.
Good to Know
Much of Vaitape is closed on Sunday evenings and on national holidays. It's also expensive -- even compared to typically high island prices. Expect to pay about $20 more for a rental car here than in Moorea, for example.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The local currency is the French Pacific franc. Check XE.com for the latest exchange rates. You can find ATMs at the bank branches of Banque Socredo and Banque de Polynesie in Vaitape.
French and Tahitian are the official languages and both are commonly used, but English is spoken and understood in most restaurants and tourism establishments.
Pareos (silk wraps), whether mass-produced or hand-painted, are available in infinite varieties, as are the region's ubiquitous black pearls.
Although mai tais -- cocktails made of light and dark rum, curacao, simple syrup, and lime juice -- were invented in California, the name is the Tahitian word for "good." You can enjoy this refreshing Polynesian-named drink at Bloody Mary's, one of the most famous and funky restaurants in all of French Polynesia. Or, opt for the beverage for which the restaurant is named -- a bloody mary.
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