Surrounded by essentially the most stunning aquamarine water I’ve ever seen, Bora Bora is each bit as wonderful as these journal advertisements and tourism workplace movies make it out to be. I lately spent 5 nights at this romantic South Pacific vacation spot as a part of a 12-day trip in French Polynesia. My husband and I deemed it our greatest trip ever.

We fell in love with Bora Bora for its jaw-dropping magnificence, its water actions above and beneath the floor, its tremendous pleasant residents, and, after all, its romantic and luxurious overwater bungalows — we actually felt like newlyweds once more at this fashionable honeymoon spot.

That stated, Bora Bora isn’t simple to get to, and it’s a moderately costly locale. When you’re planning your first journey to Bora Bora, right here are some things you need to know earlier than you arrive on this exceptional and distinctive island vacation spot.

Bora Bora's clear lagoon is ideal for snorkeling.
Bora Bora lagoon (Photograph Credit score: Quent Williams)

1. Bora Bora Is Truly Made Up Of A number of Islands

Bora Bora, shaped by volcanic eruption thousands and thousands of years in the past, consists of a essential island that’s solely about 12 sq. miles. It’s surrounded by a beautiful turquoise lagoon and a hoop of motus, or islets. Some vacationer lodging are discovered on the primary island, whose principal city is Vaitepe, whereas others, together with essentially the most upscale resorts that includes a number of overwater bungalows, are on the extra distant islets. 

2. You Should Fly To Tahiti First

All worldwide vacationers who arrive by air should land at Tahiti’s Faa’a Worldwide Airport (PPT) first. Relying in your flight arrival time, you may switch instantly to a home flight to Bora Bora. Or you could possibly keep for the evening (or longer) on the island of Tahiti

When you’re planning only a fast in a single day on Tahiti, take into account one in every of these properties near the airport: the funds Tahiti Airport Motel (naked bones and primary) or the extra upscale InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa (a beautiful property with a number of swimming pools, overwater bungalow choices, and an excellent oceanfront location for watching the sundown). 

InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort.
InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort bungalow (Photograph Credit score: Kara Williams)

3. The Bora Bora Airport Is On A Motu

Upon touchdown on the Bora Bora Airport (BOB), you’ll solid your eyes on the crystal-clear water that the island is understood for. Then, when you’re completed gaping and make your means into the airport (you’ll deplane on an open-air tarmac), you’ll search for your resort’s consultant among the many many lined up at water-taxi stands.

That’s as a result of the airport is on one of many lengthy skinny motus and the overwhelming majority of lodging on Bora Bora are solely reachable by boat. The fanciest resorts cost an arm and a leg for a water taxi. For instance, the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort prices $70 per particular person for water-based transportation from the airport to the lodge. 

There are methods, nevertheless, to pay a fraction of that value in case your lodge, just like the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora, is positioned on Bora Bora’s essential island. As a substitute of reserving the resort’s water taxi, we took the free Air Tahiti Bora Bora Navette to the primary island’s city of Vaitape, after which hailed a ready taxi to take us on a 12-minute experience to the resort. That solely value us $24 complete, as a substitute of $140!

French Pacific Territories money.
Janusz Pienkowski /

4. The Native Forex Is The Pacific Franc

I quote transportation prices in {dollars} above, however the local currency is the Pacific franc. I’ve additionally seen it known as the Central Pacific Franc or French Pacific Franc. It’s abbreviated CFP, however its worldwide abbreviation is XFP, so you may even see it referenced various methods. 

Earlier than our journey, we ordered a pair hundred {dollars} value of CFPs from our hometown financial institution so we’d have some accessible to us instantly as soon as we landed in French Polynesia. However you may also withdraw native cash from an ATM (I noticed them repeatedly at grocery shops) or on the Tahiti airport on arrival. Your lodge’s entrance desk could not provide the very best fee to change cash, so I’d solely do this in a pinch.

Bank cards are accepted repeatedly at eating places, grocery shops, native tour corporations, and naturally accommodations. It’s possible you’ll discover that memento shops and grocery retailers settle for U.S. {dollars}, however the change fee supplied most likely gained’t be nice. I’d attempt to use a bank card as typically as attainable (be certain that yours doesn’t cost international transaction charges) and the native CFP forex for money transactions like taxi rides.

Pack your own snacks to save money in Bora Bora.
pack your individual snacks (Photograph Credit score: Kara Williams)

5. Consuming And Ingesting On Bora Bora Is Costly, However There Are Methods To Reduce Prices

It’s common to see $15 cocktails, $20 appetizers, and $40 entrees on lodge restaurant menus on Bora Bora. To save cash, take into account the following tips:

Pack Your Personal Snacks

We loaded our baggage with protein bars, oatmeal packets, and beef jerky to assist tide us over between meals, particularly on days once we’d simply eat an enormous lodge buffet breakfast then not sit down for meals once more till blissful hour. The moment espresso I introduced helped me save on the accommodations that didn’t provide free espresso in our lodge rooms.

Swing By A Native Grocery Retailer

That is best to do if you happen to’re staying on Bora Bora’s essential island; in case your lodge is on a distant motu, you might must take a taxi to the native retailer, if there’s even one close by. We had been in a position to stroll from the Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora to an area retailer for good French wine, tremendous low cost baguettes, and fairly priced cheese and chilly cuts for a simple and enjoyable picnic meal to take pleasure in on the deck of our overwater bungalow.

Take Benefit Of Lodge 2-For-1 Glad Hours. 

All of the resorts we stayed at in French Polynesia (a complete of 4 on three islands) supplied buy-one-get-one-free drink specials within the hour or 2 earlier than sundown.

Eat At Native Eating places. 

This may increasingly not afford you nice financial savings, as a few of the well-known Bora Bora eating places, like Bloody Mary’s, could value you as a lot as a lodge meal, plus you’ll must pay for a taxi to get there and again. However if you happen to can stroll to an eatery close to your resort, take into account giving it a whirl to avoid wasting a couple of dollars and help an area enterprise. 

6. Make Certain You Pack All Of Your Wanted Toiletries

Simply as food and drinks are costly on Bora Bora (aside from these fabulous 62-cent loafs of baguette-style bread!), different shopper gadgets are, too. 

My husband and I made a rookie mistake of not bringing sufficient sunscreen with us. Towards the top of our journey, we needed to complement with a bottle bought from an area market — which wasn’t less expensive than what was supplied on the lodge reward store.

We paid $24 for a 6.8-ounce bottle of sunblock. Ouch! That stated, a painful sunburn would have harm much more — higher protected than sorry.

Bora Bora is stunning even on cloudy days.
Kara Williams

7. Bora Bora Has A Moist And Dry Season

In accordance with the Islands of Tahiti tourism website, Bora Bora has a moist season and a dry season. The most well-liked time for guests is from Might to October, the islands’ dry season. You possibly can count on principally sunny and delicate climate throughout this time.

The moist season runs from November to April. Fewer vacationers go to throughout this time, because it’s common to come across rain — together with heavy downpours — repeatedly. Temperatures are hotter and humid throughout this time, as effectively.

My husband and I visited within the first 2 weeks of November, and we lucked out throughout this transition time between the dry and moist seasons. For the majority of our journey to French Polynesia, we loved extremely sunny days with shiny skies and heat temperatures — about 80 levels Fahrenheit. We solely skilled one afternoon and a full day of regular, pouring rain that impacted our out of doors actions.

Mount Otemanu nature landscape in Tahiti, French Polynesia.
Mount Otemanu in Tahiti, French Polynesia (Photograph Credit score: Maridav /

8. English Is Extensively Spoken, However Take into account Studying A Few Tahitian Phrases

All front-facing lodge workers we encountered spoke fluent English. We had been additionally in a position to converse simply with the native of us we got here involved with at airports, ferry terminals, grocery shops, and native eating places. 

That stated, we repeatedly heard a few Tahitian phrases that turned cemented in our vocabulary inside just some days of arrival in French Polynesia.

First, Ia Orana (yo-rah-nah), which means “hey,” and each single worker we handed whereas strolling on lodge grounds would greet us this manner in a sing-song voice. Grocery retailer and cafe workers would do the identical as we entered their institutions. With a smile, we fortunately repeated “Ia Orana” again to anybody we encountered.

We additionally mastered Maururu (mah-roo-roo), which implies “thanks.” French Polynesians are exceedingly well mannered, and we had been blissful to observe go well with, thanking everybody for every thing as we made our means by our day on Bora Bora — from restaurant servers to buy clerks to the man who lent us kayaks at lodge exercise palapas.

The pleasant residents of Bora Bora and the opposite French Polynesia islands we visited contributed tremendously to our enjoyment of our trip on this stunning place. Utilizing a little bit of their native language was the least we might do to acknowledge their hospitality that made us really feel so welcomed to their slice of paradise.

For extra Bora Bora inspiration, take into account Kara’s tackle why you must stay in this Bora Bora overwater bungalow once in your lifetime.

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