Surrounded by probably the most lovely aquamarine water I’ve ever seen, Bora Bora is each bit as superb as these journal adverts 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 definitely felt like newlyweds once more at this fashionable honeymoon spot.

That stated, Bora Bora isn’t simple to get to, and it’s a quite costly locale. For those who’re planning your first journey to Bora Bora, right here are some things you must know earlier than you arrive on this outstanding and distinctive island vacation spot.

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

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

Bora Bora, fashioned by volcanic eruption tens of millions of years in the past, consists of a important island that’s solely about 12 sq. miles. It’s surrounded by a stunning 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 probably 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 would possibly switch instantly to a home flight to Bora Bora. Or you possibly can keep for the evening (or longer) on the island of Tahiti

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

InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort.
InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort bungalow (Picture 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 thought for. Then, when you’re completed gaping and make your approach 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 resort. 

There are methods, nevertheless, to pay a fraction of that value in case your resort, just like the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora, is positioned on Bora Bora’s important island. As an alternative 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 trip to the resort. That solely price us $24 complete, as a substitute of $140!

French Pacific Territories money.
Janusz Pienkowski / Shutterstock.com

4. The Native Foreign money 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 quite a few methods. 

Earlier than our journey, we ordered a pair hundred {dollars} price of CFPs from our hometown financial institution so we’d have some out there to us instantly as soon as we landed in French Polynesia. However you may also withdraw native cash from an ATM (I noticed them recurrently at grocery shops) or on the Tahiti airport on arrival. Your resort’s entrance desk could not supply the most effective price to change cash, so I’d solely try this in a pinch.

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

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

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

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

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 resort buffet breakfast then not sit down for meals once more till glad hour. The moment espresso I introduced helped me save on the motels that didn’t supply free espresso in our resort rooms.

Swing By A Native Grocery Retailer

That is best to do should you’re staying on Bora Bora’s important island; in case your resort is on a distant motu, chances are you’ll have to take a taxi to the native retailer, if there’s even one close by. We have been in a position to stroll from the Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora to a neighborhood retailer for good French wine, tremendous low-cost baguettes, and fairly priced cheese and chilly cuts for a simple and enjoyable picnic meal to get pleasure from on the deck of our overwater bungalow.

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

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

Eat At Native Eating places. 

This will not afford you nice financial savings, as a few of the well-known Bora Bora eating places, like Bloody Mary’s, could price you as a lot as a resort meal, plus you’ll have to pay for a taxi to get there and again. However should you can stroll to an eatery close to your resort, take into account giving it a whirl to save lots of a couple of dollars and assist a neighborhood enterprise. 

6. Make Certain You Pack All Of Your Wanted Toiletries

Simply as food and drinks are costly on Bora Bora (apart 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 tip of our journey, we needed to complement with a bottle bought from a neighborhood market — which wasn’t less expensive than what was provided on the resort present store.

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

Bora Bora is stunning even on cloudy days.
Kara Williams

7. Bora Bora Has A Moist And Dry Season

In keeping with the Islands of Tahiti tourism website, Bora Bora has a moist season and a dry season. The preferred time for guests is from Could to October, the islands’ dry season. You possibly can count on principally sunny and gentle 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 — recurrently. 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 outside actions.

Mount Otemanu nature landscape in Tahiti, French Polynesia.
Mount Otemanu in Tahiti, French Polynesia (Picture Credit score: Maridav / Shutterstock.com)

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

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

That stated, we recurrently heard a few Tahitian phrases that grew to become cemented in our vocabulary inside just some days of arrival in French Polynesia.

First, Ia Orana (yo-rah-nah), that means “whats up,” and each single worker we handed whereas strolling on resort 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 suggests “thanks.” French Polynesians are exceedingly well mannered, and we have been glad to observe swimsuit, thanking everybody for all the things as we made our approach by means of our day on Bora Bora — from restaurant servers to buy clerks to the man who lent us kayaks at resort exercise palapas.

The pleasant residents of Bora Bora and the opposite French Polynesia islands we visited contributed vastly to our enjoyment of our trip on this lovely place. Utilizing a little bit of their native language was the least we may 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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