According to legend Bora Bora was the first Polynesian island to rise from the sea. It was considered sacred and is, in my opinion, the most beautiful island in French Polynesia. It’s like the perfect movie set even though none of the Mutiny on the Bounty films were made here. The Sofitel, however, was built when the movie Hurricane was filmed here. Bora Bora attracts movie stars instead of movie sets. Its 1st name was Pora, but Pora became Pora Pora which segued into Bora Bora over time.
Geographically, Bora Bora is a small central island surrounded by a lagoon with many a motu on its outer edge. The absolutely essential activity while here is to sail upon this lagoon. While doing that, it’s hard to take your eyes from the jagged basaltic peaks that define it. There are many ways to spend that circling day–outrigger, kayak, jet-ski, tour boat excursion. Most people snorkel even though a lot of the blue/green water is too shallow for this activity, dive, and enjoy beach time, or just hang out in wide-eyed wonder while there. I talked to one young lady on the tender who was so upset by the number of stray dogs and cats in functional Vaitape that she was going to a store to buy food and planned to spend her day feeding them. Vaitape is across from the only viable water opening in the reef to the central island.
Bora Bora, only 5 1/2 miles long, is the perfect place to ride a bicycle. You can circle the entire island in 3 to 4 hours. You can shop for a pareo, hire a local to show you around. hike, etc. A pareo is a one piece garment that beautifully clings and is secured in several ways. This is a purely Tahitian invention.
Bora Bora played an important role in World War II. As early as 1943 a virtual armada of military ships arrived and stayed when there were only 1,500 Bora Borans. The island is still home to much abandoned military hardware. More about that later. Because there was not enough drinking water for an army, over time Bora Bora became one of those places that desalinated all of its drinkable water.
Save time for stunning sunsets and sunrises even though Bora Bora encourages sleeping in.