What to Do in Bora Bora May Not Be What You Think

Last updated on: Apr 2, 2021

(Last Updated On: April 2, 2021)

Bora Bora is the most beautiful island I’ve ever seen. With amazing scenery at seemingly every turn, figuring out what to do in Bora Bora is pretty simple:

Just add water! 🌊

After all, water is very central to the way of life of the island and the essence of this magical place. 

Related post: Ultimate Beach Bucket List

Why go?

Surrounded by a picturesque lagoon with breathtaking hues ranging from turquoise to deep blue, I couldn’t have painted a more perfect landscape if my name were Paul Gauguin.

With every day in paradise, I began to appreciate the laid-back lifestyle and calm spirit of the Polynesian people more and more.

With no movie theater or shopping mall, the relaxation you experience in Bora Bora is otherworldly. The only sounds you’ll hear are the tranquil rippling of waves along the shore, the swaying of palm trees, and the occasional bird caw.

Hammock in Bora Bora - What to Do in Bora Bora

What’s interesting is that I hadn’t planned to take my trip to Bora Bora, but I couldn’t say no once I stumbled upon a hotel deal about two months before traveling.

The travel dates happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day, making the trip all the more romantic.

What to do in Bora Bora 🚴‍♀️

Since water is the lifeblood of Bora Bora, it’s common to see locals canoeing, sailing, fishing, and pearl farming.

Bora Bora Canoe - What to do in Bora Bora

When visiting the island, here are some wonderful activities to try!

Bicycle around the motus

It was so much fun to bike around the motu (reef islet), riding over footbridges and under palm trees with the stunning turquoise waters of the lagoon as a backdrop!

Most resorts provide free bicycles for each villa, which are also very convenient for getting around.

Bicycling at Conrad Bora Bora - What to do in Bora Bora

Get a Polynesian massage

Polynesian spa treatments are invigorating and include local products, such as Tahitian monoi oil, a versatile blend of coconut oil infused with tiare flowers that is used for massages, hair treatments, and sunburns.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Polynesian massage, complementary tea tasting, and the views from the spa at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui.

Spa at Conrad Bora Bora Nui - What to do in Bora Bora

Go on a snorkeling and shark and sting ray feeding tour

One of the most exciting things to do in Bora Bora is going on a snorkeling tour that includes shark and sting ray feedings.

We chose a private experience to allow us more time to explore the island, soak up the sun rays, and relax at sea.

The views from the boat and the snorkeling were both extraordinary. We stopped at some uninhabited islands, and our guide told us a lot about local life and industry. 

Petting the sting rays was quite interesting. I am not much into interacting with wild animals, but the sting rays were so accustomed to humans, they kept coming up to me. I didn’t even bother trying to get close to the sharks. 

Go kayaking or jet skiing

Individual activities on the water in the Bora Bora lagoon allow you to take in the scenery at a slower pace. And with water as calm as a pool, going kayaking and jet skiing is a smooth ride.

Eat unique Tahitian foods 🍲

Food is one of the unique aspects of French Polynesia.  Tahitian cuisine relies heavily on seafood, ginger, coconut, vanilla, lime, and taro, which are used in a variety of local dishes from Tahitian vanilla cookies to coconut bread, from chicken fafa to poisson cru—a Tahitian-style ceviche made with coconut milk.

Bora Bora Food - What to Do in Bora Bora

Everything I ate in Bora Bora was fresh and fantastic, including one of my best meals ever at Lagoon restaurant.

And the surprising culinary highlight for me was actually the Tahitian grapefruit, which looks and tastes like a large lime but is sweet and so delicious!

Tahitian Grapefruit

Getting there ✈️

Air Tahiti Nui, the airline of French Polynesia, operates service between Papeete and Paris, Los Angeles, Auckland, and Tokyo. The airline is also a partner of Air France and Delta Airlines. 

I was able to find two award seats from Los Angeles to Papeete using Delta SkyMiles on flights operated by Air Tahiti Nui. I booked a feeder flight from Washington, DC to Los Angeles to align with the round-trip flight times.

Flight prices typically range from $1,000 and $1,200 per person round-trip from Los Angeles (airport code: LAX) to Papeete (airport code: PPT). In addition, you will also need to buy round-trip tickets from Papeete to Bora Bora, which average about $500 per person. 

Be sure to book a window seat on any flights to and from Bora Bora or other islands, because the views are incredible!

Aerial view of Bora Bora - What to Do in Bora Bora

To save money on flights, sign up for the mailing lists of The Flight DealSecret Flying, Dollar Flight Club, and Scott’s Cheap Flights and create fare alerts with Airfarewatchdog and the Hopper app.

Weather ☀️

Given its location in the Southern Hemisphere, the wet season runs from November to April. February is summertime and typically the peak month of typhoon season in French Polynesia.

The weather, which averages temperatures around 85°F / 30°C year round, was absolutely perfect during my stay!

Conrad Bora Bora - What to do in Bora Bora

Where to stay in Tahiti 🛏️

When you fly to French Polynesia, flight arrival times usually necessitate that you spend at least one day in Papeete, the capital.  We chose to stay one night at the Manava Suite Resort, which had a fabulous infinity pool and wonderful views of neighboring Moorea!

Manava Suite Resort Tahiti - What to do in Bora Bora

Transferring from the airport 🛥️

After staying overnight in Papeete (airport code: PPT), we flew on Air Tahiti to Bora Bora (airport code: BOB), where we spent a week at two resorts: the Conrad Bora Bora Nui and the St. Regis Bora Bora

Upon arrival at the airport, I visited the Conrad Bora Bora Nui’s airport shuttle counter and sent our bags to the resort so that my husband and I could take the free Air Tahiti airport shuttle to Vaitape.

In Vaitape, we did a little shopping, bought some snacks, and hung out around the town for a few hours.

When we were ready to go to the resort, we took the free water taxi to and from Vaitape that the Conrad Bora Bora Nui offers its hotel guests. Since I had requested the shuttle schedule from hotel staff prior to the trip, I knew exactly when it would arrive. 

While it is certainly more convenient to pay for and take the airport shuttle directly to the resort, our little detour allowed us to save hundreds of dollars on transfers as well as check out the town without sacrificing meaningful time at the resort.

Where to stay in Bora Bora

The island is dotted with some of the world’s top luxury resorts, many of which are located on private motus offering incredible villas as well as incredible vistas of the lagoon, sky, and mountains.

Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Located on Motu To’opua, the setting for the Conrad Bora Bora Nui is truly magnificent. The resort has beautiful white-sand beaches, three dine-in restaurants, a wine bar, a swim-up pool bar, and a lounge bar.

Collage of Conrad Bora Bora Nui grounds - What to do in Bora Bora

Of course, the main draw are its overwater villas.

We used HHonors points to redeem a standard room and upgraded to an overwater villa using cash. As you can see, it was amazing!

Overwater villa at Conrad Bora Bora - What to do in Bora Bora

The Conrad Bora Bora Nui is the only resort with unobstructed ocean views of the reef that shelters Bora Bora from the ocean. Therefore, sunsets here are unlike any other place on the island. 

Bora Bora Sunrise

St. Regis Bora Bora

The St. Regis Bora Bora is best described as heaven on earth. It has five wonderful dining establishments, an amazing spa, and a gorgeous beach. It was also the site for the filming of the 2009 movie Couples Retreat.

St. Regis Bora Bora - What to do in Bora Bora

Overwater villas here are more than $1,000 per night, but I found a deal for half that price, and it was worth. every. penny.

Spending Valentine’s Day at the St. Regis Bora Bora was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget.

We began the day with another relaxing Polynesia massage. We ended the day by dining under the stars at the island’s best restaurant, Lagoon Restaurant.

Created by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the restaurant is a world-renowned French-Asian fusion restaurant that is housed at the St. Regis Bora Bora.

Lagoon Restaurant Bora Bora - What to Do in Bora Bora

Why did we have to leave? 😞

Bora Bora is the destination of dreams and should be a part of any trip wish list. A hotspot for honeymooners and couples, it’s the perfect place to escape to a beautiful lagoon.

In the end, we vacationed like kings and queens on a pauper’s budget (sweet!), paying about one-fourth of the cost of the retail value of that trip to Bora Bora for two people.

During my time in Bora Bora, I fell in love not only with its beauty but also its way of life, and I returned home feeling rejuvenated and with memories to last a lifetime.

Have you visited Bora Bora before? How was your experience?

Author Profile

Taryn White
With 75+ countries and all 50 U.S. states crossed off her list, Taryn's wanderlust and wanderlist continue to grow! She loves historic places, off-the-beaten paths, and beautiful beaches. Follow her pursuits on Instagram and www.tripwishlist.com.

18 thoughts on “What to Do in Bora Bora May Not Be What You Think”

  1. When you said Bora Bora looks like paradise, I can see what you mean – the turquoise colour of the sea is unbelievable. What a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Bora Bora looks like paradise with the calm turquoise waters. Must have been amazing to stay in one of the water bungalows. My husband looked into Bora Bora for our honeymoon, but we ended up spending 2 weeks in Samoa instead. The food is similar to what we had in Samoa with the taro and ceviche. Food is delicious and fresh. Would love to visit Bora Bora one day!

  3. Wow! Look at those changing shades of the sea!! This is such a picturesque and tranquil place. I must plan a holiday to Bora Boa.. Love this post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. Indeed, a beautiful place for a honeymoon or just to have rest with your significant other. The one I can take rest after the harsh and exhausting trips into the northern wild. (that’s where I am from)

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