The term ‘paradise’ is one which, to say the least, is a little overused. The word has become low-hanging fruit for marketers and advertisers the world over, so you’d be forgiven for being unmoved and unconvinced when, in describing Bora Bora, we call it an oasis paradise of calm and tranquillity. Please trust us, however, when we say that in this instance the term is more than justified – Bora Bora is fully deserving of its world-famous reputation.
Known as ‘The Jewel of the South Seas,’ the island’s name comes from its ancient name, Pora Pora, meaning ‘first born,’ in reference to the landmass being the first to emerge when the god Taaroa fished the Tahitian islands from the ocean following the mythical creation of Hanai’i, now known as Raiatea. The name was later changed to Bora Bora following a mishearing on the part of none other than Captain Cook himself, upon discovering the island in 1770.
A small island located an hour’s flight north-west of Tahiti in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is one of the world’s most renowned luxury destinations, and a first-choice for the newly-weds who are fortunate enough to be able to spend their honeymoon at one of its resorts. And why wouldn’t it be? From the lush blanket of palms that stretch over its hills and mountain, and the emerald indigo waters of the lagoon, Bora Bora is a vivid splash of colour, life and contentment.
Bora Bora’s formation is a unique quirk of geography that has seen a rich ring of coral reef grow around the central island, itself a now-extinct 727m volcano named Mt. Otemanu. This ring has created an inner lagoon which positively teems with sea-life, including shoals of fish, manta rays and sharks, all of which can be seen on one of the many diving expeditions or boat trips that frequent its surrounding waters.
On the edge of this natural outer barrier can be found a number of ‘motus’ – small islets that have formed where the encircling coral reef has breached the water’s surface. It is on these smaller outer islands that Bora Bora’s signature over-water stilted bungalows and open-air apartments nestle, perched just over the waterline for guests.
With a number of resorts and hotels available, catering for budgets ranging from reasonable to eye wateringly palatial, Bora Bora may not be a low-cost trip away, but it is accessible for those seeking a magical once-in-a-lifetime experience at one of the world’s most naturally beautiful locations. Most importantly, this beauty is unspoiled.
Before visiting Bora Bora, we’d advise bringing along your trusty French for Beginners handbook – as the name of the region implies, French Polynesia is just that: French. All of the tourist areas will be predominantly English-speaking, but should you wish to pay a visit to the island’s quaint capital of Vaitape – a place which combines beautiful old-colonial European architecture with castaway-esque beach shacks, shops, bars and restaurants – you may find you’ll get a little more from the experience. Much as you’d find if you were visiting France itself, especially Paris, an opening of Bonjour” will open doors!
If you’re thinking of coming to Bora Bora to see all its romantic glory with your own eyes, there is a wealth of information to be found online on what to see and do, and the holiday packages that are available to you.
To find out more please visit the Islands of Tahiti Tourisme here