5 things you need to know before your trip to Bora Bora
Well you have done the hard part! Worked hard, put some money aside and finally ready to book your dream vacation to Bora Bora. Bora Bora, as you have already seen, on the many pictures devoured and obsessed over on the net, is well just that PARADISE… Clear turquoise waters, lush green landscapes, jagged mountain peaks and so much more! I have compiled a short list of 5 things you need to know before your trip to Bora Bora.
1. How to get there?
Depending on which direction you are coming from, there are several hubs servicing direct flights to Papeete International Airport. Starting with the main hub LAX in Los Angeles California (Air Tahiti Nui/American Airlines/Air France), Auckland International in New Zealand (Air Tahiti Nui/Air New Zealand/ Qantas/Jetstar), Honolulu International in Hawaii (Hawaiian Airlines), and Narita International Tokyo Japan (Air Tahiti Nui/Japan Airlines). If you are familiar with or recognize any of these airports, you know how to get here!
Air Tahiti Nui is our national airline and works with many airlines to facilitate your trip to Tahiti! If you are a novice traveler I would recommend planning with a Travel Operator that specialize in Tahiti, they will help you make the right decision based on your budget. Our local tourism board Tahiti Tourisme keeps you updated with many specials going on with Tahiti travel specialist.
2. Papeete Layover?
If you are lucky enough to arrive in the early part of the day at Papeete airport you will be able to connect directly to the interisland flight, Air Tahiti, and make your way to Bora Bora. If you arrive in the later part of the day the interisland flights stop flying around 7pm, so finding a place to stay for the night would be your next objective! I have picked and divided several hotels based on price range. On the high-end side I would recommend Intercontinental Tahiti (Close to airport) or the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort (15 minute drive), mid range prices Tahiti Nui Hotel (located in downtown) or Manava suites (15 minute drive), and low price range Tahiti Airport Motel (right across airport) or the Le Royal Tahitian Hotel (15 minute drive). There are a several more hotels out there, but these are the ones I know and have stayed at some point in time depending on my budget. Tahiti is an amazingly beautiful place, so many things to see and things to do. But I will keep the details for an upcoming article.
3. Where to stay in Bora Bora?
Bora Bora is the name that sells the rest of the Tahitian islands, I always hear of people talking about Tahiti but confusing it with Bora Bora. Lush coconut trees and white sandy beaches, yup! that is most likely Bora Bora. The island has many choices for accommodations: 5 star hotels such as the St Regis and Four Seasons to name a couple, and for more affordable places there are several 3 & 2 star hotels along with Bed and Breakfast places and Vacation rentals! Vacation rentals can be a great choice especially if you are traveling with a family or other friends, you can split the cost of the rental and save by preparing your meals at home. The choice is yours….(I have compiled a list of most of the places accommodations in Bora Bora at the bottom of the article)
4. What to do?
Like your flights and accommodations, I would recommend pre-booking you activities/tours before you leave on your trip. A properly planned trip will make the unknown more bearable and manageable. Bora Bora is a small island but there are many things for you to see and do. When friends as me what they should do in Bora Bora, I always suggest that they need to see Bora Bora by land and by Sea. Take a 4×4 circle island tour of Bora Bora by Vavau Adventures and learn some history and culture of the island, and book a lagoon snorkeling tour with Rohivai tours and venture around the lagoon and enjoy the natural beauty and clarity of the lagoon. If you are into Scuba Diving we have some world class sites all around this island an great company is TopDive.
5. What to expect?
Bora Bora is part of French Polynesia, which is a territory of France. The official spoken language is French and the local language is Tahitian (not at all related to french). If you are around most touriste environment such as hotels and tour companies you will get along just fine speaking English! But as you venture away, you will hear more and more French if not Tahitian. If you happen to veer off the wrong side of the island “off property” people are still very helpful, perhaps a lot of sign language but all part of the adventure.
A few things to keep in mind: The roads on the main island are narrow, so keep you head up and pay attention, you definitely don’t want to ruin your vacation by getting hurt. If you happen rent bikes or scooters to go around the island by yourself be extra careful as the cars tend to zip by pretty fast.
- When taking the interisland flight to Bora Bora, sit on the left hand side of the plane so that you can see Bora Bora as you land. As a bonus you will see several islands on the way by order of appearance: Moorea, Maia’o, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha’a.
- Tipping: you will read in most literature that tipping is not compulsory like in the U.S. But if you feel like you got great service give them a bit of sugar, its always appreciated.
- Carry-on Baggage on Inter island flight. The weight limit on the interisland flight to Bora Bora is much less that what they allow for on international flights. You are allowed 11lbs (5kg) size is 17x13x7 in (45x 35x 20 cm) so you might have to check it in, when you get your ticket at the counter. If you are like me and you carry all your electronics with you (Ipad, Computer, Camera, etc..) checking it in is not really an option. So what you can do is let the ticketing agent know that you have valuables in your carry on and would rather bring your carryon at foot of the plane. They will give you a special Tag for a Gate Check in/foot of the plane, and as you get off the plane you can retrieve it at the foot of the plane as well.
- If you don’t know if Tripadvisor yet, well now you know. It’s a great tool in figuring out what other people thought of a hotel, restaurant, tour/activity.
List of Bora Bora Hotels and Lodges:
- Four Seasons Bora Bora Resort and Spa
- St Regis Bora Bora Resort and Spa
- Le Meridien Bora Bora Resort and Spa
- Intercontinental Thalasso Bora Bora Resort and Spa
- Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort
- Sofitel Bora Bora Resort and Spa
- Sofitel Motu Bora Bora Resort
- Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa
- Pearl Beach Bora Bora Resort and Spa
- Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora Hotel
- Hotel Matira
- Village Temanuata Hotel
- Rohotu Fare lodge
- Sunset Hill Lodge
- Pension Noni
- Bungalove lodge
- Matira Beach House
- Fare No4 sur pilotis