Top Things to Do in Bora Bora: Ultimate Travel Guide

Bora Bora, often hailed as the “Pearl of the Pacific,” is one of the world’s most famous tropical destinations. It lies in French Polynesia in the South Pacific, nearly midway between Australia and South America, and roughly 2,500 miles south of Hawaii. This tropical paradise offers a captivating blend of relaxation and natural beauty. It’s a favorite among honeymooners and adventure seekers, with its sparkling turquoise lagoons and lush, green landscapes. The best things to do in Bora Bora take advantage of its beauty, from its famous overwater bungalows to its foliage-covered mountains.

With so many options and limited time, creating an itinerary of what to do in Bora Bora may seem daunting. But never fear—we’re about to run through the most unique and immersive activities. Whether you want to immerse yourself in Polynesian culture or enjoy its pristine beaches, this island lives up to the hype.

Sleep in an Overwater Bungalow

An overwater bungalow in the lagoon on Bora Bora | Davidsbeenhere

Sleeping in an overwater bungalow is easily one of the best things to do in Bora Bora. It offers an unparalleled experience, blending luxury with the island’s natural beauty. Here’s a glimpse into what makes these accommodations a must-do:

The island’s overwater bungalows are iconic around the world. These high-end accommodations offer guests a picturesque and unique lodging option that’s as close to the lagoon’s vibrant life as possible. They also offer luxurious amenities, including large glass floors for fish viewing! Others include net hammocks for relaxation and direct access to the lagoon for snorkeling. Some even feature private plunge pools for that extra touch of exclusivity.

  • Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts combines modern décor with Polynesian elements. One of its stand-out features is its commitment to sustainable tourism.
  • The Hilton-owned Conrad Bora Bora Nui is located on a private cove at Motu To’opua. It’s celebrated for its privacy, and offers a serene atmosphere and stunning ocean views with less boat traffic. This resort was popularized by the Kardashians, who stayed at the resort in 2011.
  • The Marriott-owned St. Regis Bora Bora Resort offers glass panel floors. The transparent floors give guests a look at the beautiful waters below. Its guests also have access to 24-hour personal butlers, a spa, and a fitness center. One of its unique features is a private underwater sanctuary called a “Lagoonarium.”
  • The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora elevates the luxury experience with spacious villas and all-inclusive options. Activities ranging from wellness retreats, private sunset cruises, and canoe breakfasts.

Staying in an overwater bungalow is a great way to immerse yourself in the island’s tranquil beauty. It’s also an unforgettable luxury experience that is well worth the price. Without question, it’s one of my favorite things to do in Bora Bora.

Explore Matira Beach

The white sands and crystal clear waters of Matira Beach | Davidsbeenhere

Matira Beach is a well-known staple on the island. Celebrated for its pristine white sands and warm, shallow waters, it’s a haven for sunbathers and a paradise for snorkelers. There, you’ll find vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, making it a snorkeler’s dream.

Activities to Enjoy

  • Snorkeling: Discover the underwater world at two prime spots known for their rich marine life.
  • Jet Ski and Quad Bike Tours: Experience the thrill of jet skiing across the lagoon or exploring the island on a quad bike from Matira Point.
  • Paddleboarding and Kayaking: Glide over the crystal-clear waters to enjoy the island from a new perspective.

For those looking to unwind, Matira Beach’s soft sands are perfect for sunbathing. Meanwhile, its calm waters are ideal for a relaxing swim. As the day winds down, the beach becomes one of the most picturesque spots to witness the sunset. When the sun dips below the horizon, it often casts a warm, golden glow over the entire lagoon. It’s as stunning as it sounds!

Take a Lagoon Tour

A dock on the lagoon in Bora Bora | Davidsbeenhere

Embarking on a lagoon tour is like stepping into an entirely new world of azure waters and alien underwater landscapes. Here’s a breakdown of what these tours offer:

Types of Tours

  • Classic Tours: Available as Full Day or Half Day morning options. .
  • Private Tours: For a more personalized experience, choose between 4-hour and 6-hour options, with lunch included in the longer tour. These tours offer an intimate exploration of the island’s lagoon.
  • From musical ambiance that complements the serene landscape, to snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, and discovering the lagoonarium, each tour is designed to offer a comprehensive experience.
  • Exclusive to the 6-hour private tour, enjoy lunch on a private motu.
  • Aqua Photo Lagoon Tour: The fantastic Aqua Photo Lagoon Tour comes with an underwater photographer to capture photos of your adventures.
  • Lagoon Jet Ski Tour: Adventure enthusiasts will relish this tour, which provides a thrilling ride around the lagoon’s legendary waters.
  • Full-Day Combo Tour: Combining land and sea, this comprehensive tour includes jet skiing and snorkeling. It offers guests two dynamic ways to experience the totality of the island’s natural beauty.

Hike to Bora Bora’s Peaks

The mountains on the island are perfect for hiking | Davidsbeenhere

Bora Bora’s rugged landscape is popular among hikers, with trails for both beginners and expert hikers. Here’s a closer look at some of the most exhilarating hikes:

  1. Valley of the Kings and Ancient Villages:
  2. Trail: 3-hour tour near Tereia Point in the northwest.
  3. Highlights: Explore ancient villages and Marae, immersing in the island’s rich history.
  4. Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia:
  5. Mount Otemanu Hike: A challenging 2.5-hour trek leading to panoramic views and the famous Mount Otemanu cave.
  6. Mount Pahia Hike: A 6-8 hour trek designed for experienced hikers, offering breathtaking views of the island and the Pacific Ocean.
  7. Faanui Cannons Hike: Leads to the World War II cannons with spectacular views of the lagoon and motus.
  8. Point Fitiuu Cannons Hike: Offers stunning views of both Mt Otemanu and the lagoon.

I highly recommend wearing boots or sturdy shoes while hiking. That means no flip-flops or beach shoes! I also suggest taking sunscreen (regardless of your skin color or complexion), plenty of water, and a hat with you. The island’s extinct volcano, lush vegetation, and magnificent beaches serve as a stunning backdrop. It makes hiking a must for nature enthusiasts.

Snorkel with Marine Wildlife

A stingray, sharks, and colorful fish swimming in the lagoon of Bora Bora | Davidsbeenhere

Snorkeling in on this tropical paradise is not just an activity; it’s an immersive experience into a vibrant underwater world. Each offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the local marine life. Turtles, sharks, rays, octopi, corals, eels, dolphins, and dozens of vibrant and colorful fish all call these waters home! Here are some of the top snorkeling tours, each offering a unique perspective of the island’s marine life:

Guided Snorkeling Adventures

  • Bora Bora Aqua Safari provides a unique helmet diving experience, which lets guests experience underwater breathing without scuba gear [$120 – $130 per person].
  • Bora Bora Lagoonarium tour showcases sharks, rays, and a plethora of fish species in their natural habitat [$100 per person].
  • Moana Adventure Tours stands out by offering snorkeling excursions with a unique twist–they’re led by marine biologists [$250 per person for a private tour; $100 per person for a half-day tour to the Coral Gardens]!

Specialty Tours

  • Bora Bora Turtle Sanctuary is for the turtle enthusiast in your life and focuses on swimming with turtles. It’s a unique activity that combines conservation with adventure [$80 per person].
  • Lagoon Service elevates the experience with a sunset snorkeling tour, complete with a champagne toast, blending romance with exploration.

Exclusive & Private Options 

  • Bora Bora Beach Club offers a snorkeling tour to a private motu, including a picnic lunch, and a more secluded experience [$150 per person].
  • Bora Bora Blue Nui provides an intimate snorkeling tour with a marine biologist, ideal for couples or small groups [$500 for two people].

Shop for Authentic Local Crafts

A carved totem on a beach on the island | Davidsbeenhere

Shopping for authentic local crafts is one of the best things to do in Bora Bora. It’s a fun way to take a piece of this paradise home. Here are some of the top places and items to look out for:

Artisan Village & Markets

  • Artisan Village: Home to local artisans selling handmade products like woven hats, sarongs, and hand-painted pareos.
  • Public Market: A bustling hub for a wide range of local products, including handmade crafts.
  • Vaitape Market: Known for pareos, local clothing, and other souvenirs, perfect for gifts or personal keepsakes.

Specialty Shops for Unique Finds

  • Jewelry by Tahia: Offers exquisite Tahitian black pearls, known for their unique and high-quality designs.
  • Arc en Ciel: The go-to place for Tahitian Black Pearls and Mother of Pearls Jewelry. This shop showcases the island’s famous black pearls produced by black-lipped oysters.
  • Coqui Coqui: Features a wide selection of Monoï oils and luxury beauty products made with natural ingredients. The shop embodies the essence of Polynesian wellness.
  • Bora Home Galerie: A great shop for travelers interested in Polynesian culture. This gallery offers tiki statues, wood carvings, and stone carvings/

Cultural Immersion and Polynesian Dance

A traditional hula dancer on the beach | Davidsbeenhere

Despite being highly touristic, experiencing traditional art is high on the list of what to do in Bora Bora. There are many opportunities on the island to experience authentic traditional music, dance, and arts. The rhythmic beats of pahu and toere drums, along with the melodious tunes of the vivo or nose flute, set the stage for a cultural immersion unlike any other.

Traditional Polynesian Dance Performances

  • Otea: Known for its dynamic hip movements, this dance is performed to the energetic beats of Tahitian drums. It’s known to captivate audiences with its intensity and spirit.
  • Aparima: A storytelling dance, the Aparima combines fast-paced music with expressive hand gestures to narrate ancient Polynesian legends and folklore.
  • Paoa & Hivinau: These dances foster community participation. The Paoa involves dancers sitting in a circle chanting as a couple performs in the center. Meanwhile, the Hivinau features a collective dance and chant by all participants.

Where to Experience

  • Resort Performances: Many local resorts, including the Intercontinental Le Moana and Four Seasons Bora Bora, host weekly Polynesian dance shows. They often feature fire dance shows, traditional Tahitian ovens, and spectacular Tahitian dance performances, complete with hand-made costumes crafted from natural materials like grass, palms, and seashells.
  • Cultural Centers: Many local cultural centers serve as a hub for experiencing Polynesian dance, with performances by local troupes trained in traditional dance styles.

Romantic Things to Do in Bora Bora: Go on a Sunset Sail

A small boat on the water at sunset in Bora Bora | Davidsbeenhere

Capturing the sunset on a romantic boat ride should be high on any list of things to do in Bora Bora. These sails transform any evening into a magical, romantic experience. Here’s what guests can expect:

Luxury Sunset Sails:

  • A 3-hour journey aboard a 50-foot luxury catamaran, accommodating up to 12 guests for an intimate setting.
  • An open bar featuring champagne, cocktails, wine, and soft drinks, complemented by gourmet canapés to enhance the evening.
  • Additional amenities include snorkeling equipment, stand-up paddleboards, and onboard Wi-Fi to capture and share the moment instantly.
  • Pricing is set at $195 for adults, with special rates for children and infants.
  • The option of a 4-hour private sunset cruise caters to those seeking exclusivity, priced at $500 for two, with the ability to add guests.
  • The 4-hour romantic sunset sail offers a private boat, captain, gourmet dinner, champagne, and live music at $350 per couple.
An overwater path leading to a group of bungalows | Davidsbeenhere

To fully experience the island, I recommend a minimum stay of 4-5 days. That should give you ample time to get a taste of most of the island’s offerings. However, 7-10 days is ideal and allows you to fully enjoy the island without rushing or cutting activities short. It also gives you more time to relax and makes it so you don’t feel bad about missing a day or two in case of less-than-ideal weather conditions. Some visitors even spend half their time on the island in one accommodation before moving to another to experience the variety in its resorts and Airbnbs.

Experience the Top Things to Do in Bora Bora Today

A beach in Bora Bora, with overwater bungalows in the background | Davidsbeenhere

Between its pristine beaches, luxurious accommodations, vibrant marine life, and cultural immersion, the things to do in Bora Bora are as varied as they are exciting. From the serenity of snorkeling among its reefs to the thrills of hiking its rugged peaks, every day on the island is an adventure. These curated experiences not only promise unforgettable memories but also a deep connection with the island’s natural beauty and rich Polynesian culture.

Many modern travelers choose to skip this tropical paradise due to its commercial and tourist appeal, but I think that’s a mistake. Every adventure and experience is what you make of it, and the island is still full of opportunities for every type of traveler. Book a trip today to experience what to do in Bora Bora as soon as possible!

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