Ultimate Travel Guide: Bora Bora
Bora Bora is the place where all tropical postcards have come alive.
Bora Bora, a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia, is the tropical dreamland that exists purely for relaxation, exploration and luxury. Surrounded by sand-fringed motus (islets) and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef, the destination is known for its crystal clear water, snorkelling and iconic over-water bungalows.
Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful beach destinations there are, which makes writing a travel guide fairly easy; all one has to do to enjoy their time in Bora Bora is go there. However, we do have plenty of recommendations, such as…
Villa Mahana is one of the most romantic and exclusive restaurants in Bora Bora, as it has only nine tables available per night. The quaint two-story restaurant prides itself for its impeccable service and exquisitely crafted dishes. The restaurant offers five courses, all of which are served under silver cloches to conceal edible pieces of art. The menu constantly changes in respect of what is in season and freshly caught, but never fear, chef Damien Rinaldi Dovio is a master of gastronomy, having trained at restaurants all over France, so you can be assured that whatever the meal, Villa Mahana will provide.
La Villa Mahana – Povai Bora Bora, 98730, French Polynesia
Since Bloody Mary’s opened in 1979, it has become a well-known institution with the likes of famous television, movie and music stars gracing the sandy floors. Bloody Mary’s describes itself a being like a Hollywood movie set, and once you’re inside, you’re guaranteed to have a good time and enjoy some good food. The restaurant is famed for having a speciality in seafood. The lunch menu consists of mouth-watering burgers, meat, fish, sandwich and salad options. The dinner menu changes depending on the freshest catch of the day and every night there is an explanation and presentation to recommend dishes and pairings. Bloody Mary’s is a must, as it is a piece of the ‘old Bora Bora’ and a cherished part of the history.
Bloody Mary’s – Povai Bay, Nunue, French Polynesia
Arii Moana, Four Seasons Bora Bora
Arii Moana, a restaurant in the Four Seasons Bora Bora, specialises in a Polynesian and French-infused cuisine. Dishes can be enjoyed beneath the thatched roof of this romantic waterside restaurant where the seasonal menu is an ode to all things Bora Bora. You don’t want to miss the langoustine tails, steamed in lagoon water and served with fresh house-made gnocchi. The Exotic is our highly recommended desert, which couldn’t get more tropical with its pineapple, shortbread and mango. The restaurant has low lighting and is open to the outside so it is easy to fully appreciate the surroundings, which is exclusively crystal clear water.
Arii Moana – Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bora Bora Yacht Club
The Bora Bora Yacht Club has been developed to become the gateway to the marvellous destination of French Polynesia and welcome travellers from the ocean. The Yacht Club is open to dine, drink and enjoy the gorgeous views, all the while operating as a yacht maintenance service. The food at the Yacht Club is divine, however the drinks, when enjoyed at sunset as the sky turns orange, are something one could only imagine, realised.
Bora Bora Yacht Club – BP 123, Vaitāpē 98730, French Polynesia
Restaurant le St James is located in the back of a small shopping centre in Vaitape – an odd location, but once you have entered the restaurant, you understand why and how St James got it’s well-regarded name. The restaurant has stunning views of the water and as one would expect, but both the drinks and the food are the true heroes of the venue. In regards to food, the emphasis is on French specialities with a nod to local ingredients, while the drinks vary widely. Everything can be enjoyed in the comfortable and relaxed atmosphere looking out over lovely bay views.
Restaurant le St James – Centre Helene’s Bay, Vaitāpē 98730, French Polynesia
The Lucky House
The Lucky House (or Fare Manuia) is the place to go in Bora Bora when you feel that you want to mix up all the fine dining with something a little more local and down-to-earth. The Lucky House is the closest thing you’ll get to a pub in Bora Bora, and is a local favourite that is frequented often. There you will find young Tahitian locals knocking back beers and cocktails, the quality of which are nothing to turn your nose up at, a lively atmosphere and most likely a sports game of some kind on in the background. The Lucky House has charisma and charm, something that can be refreshingly genuine and eye-opening when exploring a new place.
The Lucky House – The Lucky House Restaurant, French Polynesia
Matira Beach has often been described as the best beach in the world, and it isn’t hard to see why. Apart from the white sand, turquoise water and the luscious tropical background, the beach is revered because of its public status, so everyone can enjoy, the proximity to the shops and cafes that lie behind it and the view that is so unique to Bora Bora.
Bora Bora Spa
As Bora Bora has endless spas and wellness centres to spare, you can be guaranteed that it will be an enjoyable experience. Tell us, is there anything better than being on the ultimate relaxation holiday to then go and get more relaxed through pampering? We think not. Most spas can be found as part of the hotels, such as Four Seasons Resort and the InterContinental Resort, however there are many different options available.
Bora Bora Spas – Various locations
Explore the Seas
Whether this be through a glass boat tour, kayaking, snorkelling or going beyond the reef and gazing down upon the (friendly) sharks, there is plenty of choice. The options include Aqua Safaris with helmets, shark and ray snorkel safaris, sunset cruises and star tours, wakeboarding, jet ski, kitesurfing, and swimming. If it’s on or in water, Bora Bora has it.
Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort
The Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort is a luxury hotel that sits on the white sandy beaches of Bora Bora and extends out to over-water accommodation. The hotel is the quintessential Bora Bora beach resort, as it has access to the beach and the tropical landscape of the island. The resort serves French international and Polynesian cuisine, exquisitely prepared by Sofitel’s talented chefs as well as chilled island cocktails which can be enjoyed overlooking the lagoon. The resort provides the ultimate relaxation as they have a well-being centre which specialises in indulgence and pampering.
Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort – Nunue, Bora Bora, Vaitape 98730, French Polynesia
Le Meridien Bora Bora
Le Meridien Bora Bora is fresh from a recent renovation and ready to welcome you with open arms. The resort is located on a magnificent islet and surrounded by the cerulean waters of a private lagoon, which sets the scene for an indulgent and ultimate tropical escape. With views of Mount Otemanu, over-water bungalows and a unique location on the islet, the resort is a spectacular way to relax, explore the tropical wonderland of Bora Bora and swim to your heart’s content. Le Meridien has an ecological centre situated beside the inner lagoon, which began in 2000 and is dedicated to the protection and care of local marine life. It is the only of its kind in French Polynesia and is proud to also have a coral preservation program, which began in 2012. The resort offers activities to learn, feed turtles and care for them in a “live my life” full-day experience.
Le Meridien Bora Bora – Motu Tape, BP 190, Bora Bora French Polynesia
Villa Rea Hanaa
Villa Rea Hanaa is unique accommodation located at the edge of Bora Bora lagoon with stunning views of Mount Otemanu. Originally owned by Garrick Yrondi, the residence now features his art which are carved and painted throughout the rooms. There are six rooms, all of which have a kitchen and either gorgeous views of the lagoon and mountain or of the villas pool. The villa is designed as an open space and invites guests to mingle while enjoying the views or the common areas. The residence also has a gallery of Garrick Yrondi’s artwork, a beautiful space dedicated to the original owner.
Villa Rea Hanaa – BP 58 98730 Bora Bora, Vaitape, French Polynesia