Bora Bora is one of the Tahitian Islands in French Polynesia. It is located in the Southern Hemisphere between Australia and South America. The timezone of Bora Bora coincides with the Hawaii timezone. To give you a good idea of how far Bora Bora is from the United States, a flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti will take approximately 7 and 1/2 hours. Air Tahiti has a four 45-minute flights each day to Bora Bora from Papeete, the Capital of Tahiti.
Bora Bora is just one island in the cluster of islands together called the Society Islands (The other islands are Taha'a, Raiatea, Huahine, Moorea and finally the Tahiti island itself).
What makes Bora Bora a romantic travel location and a couples retreat in the style of eden resorts? Many couples consider planning their honeymoons in Bora Bora, and not without a good reason. So, what makes Bora Bora in Tahiti Islands such an attractive location for so many couples who are looking to spend a few days, or even months, on this romantic vacation adventure? In this exclusive Authentic Society article we will attempt to explain why this popular travel location featuring naturally sugary white sand beaches, vibrant marine life, rugged mountains and colorful history remains an exotic and reasonably affordable travel destination to visit for many couples, spend a honeymoon on or even a have a tropical beach wedding.
Swim, snorkel and kayak during the day and dine on seafood and champagne by night. Want to capture the island from a different angle? Take a four-wheel-drive safari trip and get a bird's-eye view of the lagoon and the peaks of Otemanu and Pahia. Enjoy the beautiful setting, have a favorite concoction mixed at the bar while hanging out in one of the over the water bungalows.
Bora Bora doesn't have to be a super expensive vacation. Some places such as the famous Club Med accommodations located in a small corner of the island offer affordable prices. This is a place popular among families with children and groups of friends. Also affordable is the nearby three-star Novotel Beach Resort, in Matira Bay which is fronted by a sandy beach with 80 air-conditioned rooms in 10 Polynesian-style thatched two-story buildings.
Just around the corner from Novotel, is the Sofitel Bora Bora beach resort, formerly known as Marara. This location has modern over-the-water bungalows with a glassed floor area allowing a glimpse of the exotic sea life. Inside, you will find red curtains and timber shutters, perfect for when you just want to get away from the sun and relax indoors with a bottle of champagne. Dine on seafood at Sofitel's Sakura, a Japanese restaurant called in the style of tepanyaki.
A romantic vacation wouldn't be complete without a private sunset cruise, which is another attraction that the Bora Bora lagoon offers to couples or families with kids. Or just about anyone for that matter. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing, water surfing during the day, or visit the beautiful coral gardens. It is believed that the thousands of colors of the lagoon cannot be correctly captured with a regular camera, and remain a thing to be seen with the naked eye.
Snorkeling is an extremely popular recreational activity, in particular at the tropic resort and scuba diving locations such as the ones that are available on the Bora Bora and the nearby Tahitian islands. In fact snorkeling is the most popular activity of the resorts located here. The appeal of this activity is the grand view of the sea world landscapes, and with 150 feet of visible space in all directions underwater. The water surrounding the sugar-white sand of the beaches around the island of Bora Bora has that crisp, clear see-through quality.
Another appeal of snorkeling is that it is easier than scuba-diving, that it does not require a diving certification, and that this is a great opportunity to see and observe underwater life in a natural setting without the need of understanding complex equipment, such as the one used for advanced scuba diving. Bora Bora offers easy access to the lagoon from many locations. It is said that the best spots are often located in front of a hotel waterfront or in places where you can be easily shown by local residents. Another advantage of choosing a waterfront location for snorkeling is that most Bora Bora hotels offer guest snorkeling equipment. However, this does not disqualify the idea of bringing your own gear, if you already have it.
It is a well known fact that after years of operation, most snorkeling businesses and operators are extremely familiar with the diving areas. This does not exclude the Bora Bora island. These companies can offer you suggestions for most reliable snorkeling available on the island and they are more than interested in guiding you and helping you to discover the fantastic underwater terrains on your snorkeling adventure and create the best experience for you.
Types of divesThere are three basic types of dives: pass dives, outside-the-reef dives and lagoon dives. Lagoon dives are ideal for beginners or for someone who is just starting to learn how to scuba dive. Shallow waters of the lagoon are perfect for taking diving lessons and practice your diving skills. Bora Bora offers a variety of dives ranging from simple shallow water dives to more extreme deep canyon diving where you can witness sea creatures such as manta rays, eagle rays, moray eels and exotic tropical fish. Deep water dives are available for certified divers only — another good reason to learn scuba diving. Outside of the Bora Bora's coral reef, the ocean floor drops off at an increasingly steep angle. Diving in this location is also open for certified divers only, because of strong water currents, however this experience is quite rewarding because of what you can see and discover. This is the natural habitat of lemon sharks, grey sharks, black and white sharks, moray eels, Napoleon fish, jack fish, barracuda, tuna fish, various types of sea turtles; large and small, and dolphins. Theavanui Pass is another location open for experienced divers with proper certification. It is the opening that connects the lagoon with the ocean.
Multicolored LagoonThe Multicolored Lagoon is far from being the only scuba diving location on the island of Bora Bora. Plenty of others exist and the open waters of the deep sea are there to be discovered by anyone, amateur and professional scuba divers alike. What kind of creatures does one expect to see in the open sea's deep waters? One of the most amazing events is perhaps the migration of the humpback whale families during the months of August and through October. There are smaller fish and underwater life that awaits divers: various species of sharks (lemon, grey and the black tipped), dolphins, rays, large moray eels, surgeon fish, napoleon fish, red snapper, jackfish, tuna and even barracudas.
Manta Rays and other sea lifeIt is not uncommon to see the gigantic Manta Rays in the lagoon, as well as the open sea waters. After all, Bora Bora contains vast amounts of the plankton, that the Manta Ray feeds one. The Manta Ray is not the only type of rays observed by the divers, there are many other types waiting to be discovered. There are estimated 500 fish species in the lagoon and outside in the surrounding aquatic areas of the Bora Bora island.
Required level of diving experienceDo you need any previous experience or knowledge of scuba diving before coming to experience it at the Bora Bora island? Not really. In fact, many, if not most people who pursue this fun activity learn how to do it for the first time on the island of Bora Bora! If you have previous experience diving, all the better, however it is not absolutely required and you will be assisted by professional operators that enable support and the feeling of safety during your underwater adventures. For the most part they simply ensure that the behavior of species you meet underwater is not disrupted, in other words, you cannot touch fish or the corals, but you can take photos of any close encounters.
You will be assisted by professional and experienced scuba operators who are knowledgeable about all the important events, whale migration periods and the habits of many other underwater life forms. And if you are visiting the Bora Bora island in Tahiti, just after the summer's end, you are likely to witness the migration of the humpback whales.
Diving conditionsAlthough you can scuba dive in the Bora Bora islands during just about any time of the year, the best diving conditions are between April and November. At all times local underwater visibility can reach to up to 130 feet. Water temperature ranges between 79 degrees Fahrenheit (28 Celsius) to 84 Fahrenheit (30 Celsius).
If you are planning on surfing in the Tahiti islands, two extraordinary locations for it would not be Bora Bora, in fact Authentic Society strongly suggest checking out the Huahine and Moorea islands. Like Bora Bora, these two islands are a part of a group of islands called Society Islands. Huahine and Moorea islands have better waves and they are easier to get to. However, if you cannot get to those two islands, for whatever reason (tickets were already bought, your vacation package doesn't include those islands, etc, etc...) please note that it is not impossible to catch a wave in Bora Bora, it'll be just more of a hassle to get out into the ocean through the lagoon pass.
Alternative surfing locations in Bali Hai, Huahine
Try doing research on Bali Hai in Huahine, if you have the ability to go there and you are a surfer. The reasons are pretty obvious. Bali Hai is a small island and the following locations are to be found there: Puahua, Tahatea, Farehau, Maroe and Ferreru. Bali Hai is exposed to reef breaks that have a fairly consistent surf. It goes without saying that Summer is the best time of year to go there if one is to expect ideal surfing conditions. You will find that the offshore winds blow from the east southeast. The ideal swell angle is from the north, since groundswells are more frequent than windswells. A reef breaks right, and the quality of the surf isn't affected by tide. One of the greatest things about Bali Hai is that you get the benefits of a perfect surfing location, and it is usually not crowded. Watch out for sharks.
Avoid the strong currentsIt is easy to get carried away and walk as far as one can imagine and still be only knee or waist deep in water. However deceiving it may seem, the beginners, or weaker swimmers may need to avoid going out too far from the shore on the idea that it is just shallow water. On certain occasions Bora Bora lagoon currents can get pretty strong and knock inexperienced swimmers off their feet.
Are there sharks in the Bora Bora lagoon?The answer is that throughout the history of this extremely popular romantic resort location there has never been a case or record of any sharks swimming into the lagoon. There are simply no shark encounters on record in Bora Bora lagoon, so it is a pretty safe location. Remember that the lagoon is connected to the ocean waters by the only pass. You should be aware of and avoid of any jellyfish, but that is also a rare occasion. Probably one of the most safest location as far as sharks go in the entire cluster of Haiti islands.
Don't want to be in control of a small jet ski? Hop on the Moana Jet Boat for a guided high-speed tour around the lagoon.
There are private half-day water skiing lagoon tours available at the Bora Bora island by request with a Malibu ski boat 310. Water skiing lessons are also provided.
You don't have to come off the jet boat, if you don't want to. Simply sit back and relax surrounded by the fantastic shallow see-through waters of the lagoon. Free pick ups directly from your hotels are available with some of the Bora Bora's all-inclusive packages. Personal photo packages are available on every jet boat tour.
Jet boat pricesWhat's the jet boat tour price including all of the above? With international currencies fluctuating in all possible directions, it is hard to say for sure, but be prepared to spend 8500 XPF (French Pacific Francs) which is approximately $96.95 USD per person, as of September 2010.
WindsurfingWindsurfing is a surface water sport. It combines the elements of sailing and surfing. Windsurfing is not considered a serious sport, and has traditionally struggled to make that mark on the sports community around the world. It is often referred to by other names, which include sailboarding and boardsailing. However, more recently the sport has been solidifying its title and it is now often referred to as windsurfing.
Windsurfing is harder to learn and master than other surface water activities, such as kitesurfing. Beginners usually start with boardsurfing. Learning to windsurf to kitesurfing is respectively like learning chess compared to checkers, which is often considered the reason for why windsurfing is not a popular activity. Beginners have to develop their balance and board stability and get the basic understanding of the sailing theory.
If you have your own windsurfing gear, bring it with you to your Bora Bora vacation!
Kiteboarding, flysurfing (That's what Bora Bora natives call it) and kitesurfing all describe the same activity: being pulled by a kite on a surf board. The kitesurfer holds a bar to which the kite is attached, and the wind generates a strong force to push the surfer forward. Bora Bora island is a more proper location (probably counting all other islands) for kiteboarding.
As you may know Bora Bora is not very popular for regular surfing, but because of the strong winds kitesurfing is quite popular here. If you're have your own kite, board and previous experience, it is a great idea to bring your own equipment to the island. Expect small surf, dependable wind and uncrowded shores.
Unfortunately Bora Bora does not provide kitesurfing training, but beginners can learn more about this exciting sport by talking to the locals. A popular kitesurfing place on the island is located off Matira point.