Bora Bora satisfies every expectation of the idyllic Polynesian island. Lying 143 miles (230 kilometers) northwest of Tahiti in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is only six miles long, but it has two towering volcanic peaks and a dazzling turquoise lagoon ringed by a coral reef. Perched along a gorgeous necklace of sand-fringed motus (islets) are sumptuous thatched-roof overwater bungalows -- South Seas hideaways for celebrities and legions of honeymooners.
Many folks think Matira Beach, on the southern end of the main island, is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of French Polynesia. Studded with tall coconut palms, it stretches more than two miles (3 kilometers) around a small peninsula that juts out into the sandy-bottom lagoon. The crystal-clear waters are shallow all the way to the coral reef.
Things to Do
Explore Bora Bora's turquoise seas with a snorkeling excursion among coral gardens swarming with tropical fish, ending with a stop at the boat captain's private motu for fresh-cut fruit. Polynesian-style outrigger canoes and glass-bottom boats glide across the pristine water. Sunset catamaran sails are accompanied by Tahitian singers and dancers. Visit old U.S. military gun sites, lush valleys and mountain lookout points for unforgettable views by four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Eating and Drinking
Bora Bora's luxury resorts offer myriad options for cocktails and dining, but make sure to step out of your hotel cocoon on occasion to sample the local flavors. Bora Bora Yacht Club is a lively watering hole with a stunning waterfront setting for a casual meal of fresh oysters and Australian steaks. The menu at elegant Villa Mahana, in the main town of Vaitape, entices with ahi tuna marinated in local vanilla oil and a salad of lobster, prawns and caviar.
The translucent seas encircling Bora Bora and its motus teem with rich marine life that no aquarium can match: schools of docile blacktip reef and lemon sharks, moray eels and green turtles. Gigantic manta rays gracefully circle the lagoon. Nemo-like clownfish and a thousand other species of tropical marine life make their home in the otherworldly turquoise playground below.