Top Travel Tips for Bora Bora
Bora Bora is a popular destination for celebrities, honeymooners, and anyone seeking a luxury vacation. Visitors partake in many exciting activities, such as swimming in the lagoons, swimming with dolphins, shark and ray feeding, scuba diving, and snorkeling. There are all sorts of other activities to also enjoy, like parasailing, deep sea fishing, and hiking. The island offers private lagoon cruises, bus tours, flight seeing, and helicopter tours.
Here’s what you should know before you visit Bora Bora:
Bora Bora General Information
- Bora Bora is a small island among a group of 118 islands known as French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France.
- Located about 140 miles northwest of Tahiti in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is only 6 miles long.
- The island is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef.
- In the center of the island, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu represent the remnants of an extinct volcano.
- The main village, Vaitape, is on the western side of the island, across from the main channel into the lagoon. It is the arrival point of the ferry from the airport.
- There are approximately 9,000 people living in Bora Bora.
- At the main island’s southern tip,Matira is the location of the largest beach, as well as several hotels and restaurants.
Arriving in Bora Bora & Getting to Your Bora Bora Hotel
- Air Tahiti flies several times a day from Tahiti, and also operates flights from Moorea, Huahine, Maupiti, and Raiatea.
- The airport is located on Motu Mute, an islet on the northwestern edge of the barrier reef.
- Transfers to the main island or to accommodations located on other islets is by boat.
- Air Tahiti operates a free shuttle boat transfer from the airport to Vaitape where small buses take visitors to resorts. Board the bus displaying the name of your hotel, or ask the driver if you’re uncertain.
- Some resorts send boats to pick up their guests. Be sure they know your flight number prior to your arrival.
- The major resorts have welcome desks in the terminal to greet you, direct you to the right boat, and lessen any confusion.
- Baggage is unloaded on the dock.
Getting Around Bora Bora
- Several resorts are not on the main island, so boat transportation is required to get anywhere. Boat transfers from those resorts to the main island, other resorts, or the airport are usually provided.
- The island lacks a regularly scheduled public transportation system. One bus goes halfway around the island and back approximately every hour.
- Buses transport passengers from Vaitape to the Matira hotel district on cruise-ship days, and anyone can board the bus for a small fee.
- On the main island, some hotels shuttle their guests to Vaitape and back once or twice a day, but the frequency varies depending on the number of guests.
- Resorts on the western islets run shuttle boats to Vaitape, and resorts on the eastern islets send their shuttle boats to the remote Anau village on the east coast.
- To rent a car, scooter, or bicycle, Europcar is the biggest and best agency on the island. Their office is located at the Vaitape wharf.
- If you rent a bicycle, keep in mind that the road is sometimes very narrow, and in bad shape.
- Always drive or ride slowly and with caution. Remember to watch out for pedestrians, dogs, pigs, and chickens.
- Taxis don’t actively seek passengers, but several firms have transport licenses, so they can pick you up if you call.
- Hotel desks and restaurants will call a taxi for you, or you can call Taxi Simplet, Léon, Otemanu Tours, Jacques Isnard, or Dino’s Land & Water Taxi.
- The taxis aren’t metered, so make sure you and the driver agree on a fare beforehand.
Bora Bora Visitor Information
- For currency exchange, Banque de Tahiti, Banque Socredo,and Banque de Polynésie have branches with ATMs in Vaitape.
- If you’re looking for a drugstore, Pharmacie de Bora Bora is locatednorth of the small boat harbor in Vaitape.
- For Internet access, Aloe Café has a computer terminal with Skype, which costs about 50¢ per minute. It is located in the Centre Commercial Le Pahia north of the Vaitape wharf.
- The Vaitape post office is open weekdays until 3pm and on Saturday mornings.
- The wharf at Vaitape has public restrooms. Sometimes it is a long wait for a shuttle boat back to your resort.
- There will be a tax of approximately $1.25 to $1.90 added to your hotel bill per night.
- The official currency of Bora Bora is the French Pacific franc (CPF). One dollar is equivalent to approximately 108 CPF.
- The visitor center, Bora Bora Comité du Tourisme,is located in the large building on the north side of the Vaitape wharf. It is open Monday through Friday, and on cruise-ship days.
- The main languages in Bora Bora are French and Tahitian, but many people also speak English, especially in hotels, resorts, markets, and other tourist locations.
- Bora Bora has a relaxed atmosphere, and its residents are very laid back. They live by the philosophy “aita pea pea,” which means “not to worry.”
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