Whether you are there on a honeymoon, or it has been your lifelong dream to laze about on the white beaches of French Polynesia, Bora Bora is one of the most attractive island destinations in the world. With its tangerine sunsets, crystalline waters and ocean reefs you could simply wade into, this island paradise lures with the promise of a neverending summer.
One could simply arrive to this island with an intention to swim and get a tan, but isn’t that something you could do anytime, anywhere? The magic of Bora Bora is best discovered with a combination of water-based activities – some of them for the brave, some of them for the easy-going. There are only two rules here: book ahead and bring sunscreen.
What better way to experience an island than by boat? Take your pick between tours to some of the more popular diving spots (although, everything is a diving spot in the lagoon), to the uninhabited, private motus (perfect to stop and have a picnic in, as boat tours usually do), or simply cruise around the island. If you are not lucky enough to be staying in a Bora Bora overwater bungalow, or if you are staying in one, and like the idea, you could rent a glass-bottom boat tour for under $100. This is a great way to experience the diverse marine life if someone in your party is not an accomplished swimmer or diver. Boat rentals, however, start at $200 dollars, and come with a knowledgeable guide. Honeymoon tours start at around $300, and are interesting because of the privacy you may not get on a regular cruise. They usually come with complimentary champagne and a photoshoot, and they can easily be arranged for non-honeymooners looking for a trip with a twist as well. The time you can spend on a rented boat varies from operator to operator, but keep in mind that unless you have a special arrangement with the crew, most of the tours incorporate a quick cruise, some remote snorkeling, and a motu barbecue – a day well-spent by all means!
You could literally dive anywhere near Bora Bora and not be disappointed. The clear lagoon gives you a good idea of where the most inhabited reefs are to be found. Swim with the schools of tropical fish, soaring manta ray, and surprisingly docile black-tipped reef sharks. Visitors could sign up for diving lessons, and veteran divers could do what they wish. There are several assisted diving activities available as well, better suited for the inexperienced. Helmet diving allows for longer stays underwater, not swimming, but walking across the ocean floor, leaving you with more time to interact with the fish. It is important, however, not to disturb the fragile coral. This type of dive starts at $100 per person. Willing divers but less-than-adequate swimmers can rent a submarine scooter for $300. This in no way means that the activity is available for bad swimmers, but if you’re good for some time, but uncertain of how you would handle swimming submerged for a longer period, go for it. Paying to snorkel might seem a little bit like a rip-off, since the whole island is snorkel-friendly, and if you wish to go a little extravagant, you may do so on a motu cruise, double whammy! However, if you are looking for a shark feeding experience, you can find operators that provide shark safari as well, and just under $100.
Skiing, kitesurfing, etc.
Now, though Bora Bora’s underwater experience is immense, there is plenty to do above water as well. Speed-junkies can rent jet skis to circle the island, though at $300 per jet ski, it really is best left to fans of the sport. Kitesurfing is a whole deal to itself. Also pricy, at around $200, this watersport is the marriage of wind and wave. With the region’s perfect weather conditions year round, this is an interesting experience for beginners and experts alike. Similar, but not the same, is parasailing. This is an interesting choice that incorporates a bit more than Bora Bora itself. The start-off point on Bora Bora is located at Matira Beach, and it can last 15 minutes, but it is usually longer. All of it is worth it, to gaze upon this pristine white island in an azure lagoon, with Mount Otemanu piercing the skyline, and yourself almost entirely free in the air.
If you are fishing locally, you could try something different on Bora Bora. Tropical fishing isn’t all that different from the mainland kind – except the catch is far more exciting! Trade your cod for rainbow runners, blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, barracuda or blue fin trevally. Fishing charters are a tad more expensive than regular cruises, starting at $500.