Things To Do In Bora Bora: A Comprehensive Guide To Visiting

Located in the lush tropical paradise of the French Polynesian islands, you will find so many unique and exciting things to do in Bora Bora besides admiring the view. Whether you are an adventure seeking outdoors person or prefer to find the epitome of relaxation in the sun on the beach.

You will be sure to find something enjoyable to while away the island-time hours during your visit.

Located northwest of Tahiti, the island of Bora Bora is an exclusive and exotic luxury destination, and the amenities and offerings are just as exciting! From snorkeling to sky-diving and everything in between, you will be amazed by the amount of things to do in Bora Bora. 

Things to do in Bora Bora that should NOT be missed!

Snorkel with sharks in a snorkel safari!

things to do in bora bora


Located in the brilliant blue waters of the lagoon is the Coral Gardens, a premier destination for snorkeling.

From the brilliantly colored corals, pristine white sands and the hundreds and hundreds of exotic, tropical fish that call this place home, you will be astounded by the breathtaking beauty found beneath the waves.

As one of the best things to do in Bora Bora, you will be able to find all different kinds of tours available, including those tailored to beginners who have never tried snorkeling before.

Whether you have snorkeled a million times before or this is your first time, a visit to Bora Bora wouldn’t be complete without taking the opportunity to see this vibrant garden of coral for yourself.

Stay in an overwater bungalow

If water sports and underwater snorkeling isn’t your cup of tea, you can still get up close to the breathtaking blue waters of the island by staying in one of the exclusive overwater bungalows.

The image of the bungalows is almost synonymous with the French Polynesian islands, so when you plan your visit, one of the most frequently suggested things to do in Bora Bora is to experience this luxury accommodation for yourself.

With stunning views of the water and the soft sound of waves to lull you to sleep, it’s no wonder so many people suggest staying here to get a full experience of the beauty of this island paradise!

things to do in bora bora

Four Seasons

One of the most sought after resorts in Bora Bora is the Four Seasons.

You will feel like you are living in a postcard from the moment you arrive. The glistening azure waters, incredible customer service, beautiful thatched overwater bungalows, and a lifetime of memories. The Four Seasons in Bora Bora is also a top rated honeymoon destination. 

things to do in bora bora

Four Seasons overwater bungalow

If you are looking for a splurge on an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora, the Conrad has a two story Penthouse. The Conrad is the only resort in all of Bora Bora with a two story overwater bungalow.

This room is great if you are visiting the island with a larger party or family as it is equipped with two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a pool, ample living space, and the most privacy at the end of the jetty. The other rooms at the Conrad are just as nice too!

things to do in bora bora

Conrad Penthouse Suite

Additional hotels in Bora Bora with overwater bungalows:

Shop for Black Pearls in Vaitape 

Renowned for the rare Tahitian Black Pearl, the islands of French Polynesia are the best place to find this rare item and for surprisingly affordable prices considering how rare and special these items are!

One of the best things to do in Bora Bora is visit the shops, markets and specifically the pearl market for a chance to score one of these precious gems for yourself.

There is no other souvenir that comes quite close enough to memorialize your time spent on this luxury island destination!

If this is out of your price range, another option is to buy jewelry made with fragments of black pearls or pearls that did not make the final quality control pass to be considered high quality.

These pieces are found only on the island; the export of fragments and low quality gems is strictly prohibited to protect the rarity and pricing of black pearls!

Ride in a seaplane! 

things to do in bora bora

One of the very best views of Bora Bora is from above! Take a ride in a seaplane and experience this magical island from new heights.

From the sky you will be able to see Mount Otemanu and all the motu’s around it. Additionally, you can see the resorts with overwater bungalows, coral (and there is a lot), all the boats, and even jet skies. It is truly one of the most epic things to do in Bora Bora. 

Take a sailing trip over the waters of the lagoon

With sailing and rowing being such an integral part of Bora Bora’s history, it comes as no surprise that one of the things to do in Bora Bora is to rent a sailing boat or yacht to experience the calm, picture-perfect blue waters.

The views of the island are second to none and best enjoyed from out on the water and an added bonus is a visit to the small islands or motus that dot the lagoon.

These islands, created by coral and sand deposits over the years, are quintessential pockets of island paradise with a unique privacy and appeal.

Pristine white sands, swaying palm trees and the quiet and solitude provided by the distance from the mainland make for a memorable moment that is the ideal picture of island paradise! For an even more luxurious experience, book a tour that provides lunch on the motu.

Fresh, traditional cuisine served surrounded by the calm waters of the lagoon will be sure to provide memories that last a lifetime! 

Hike the jungles around Mount Otemanu

The highest peak on the island of Bora Bora, Mount Otemanu is all that remains of the now dormant volcano that gave birth to this small island paradise.

Filled with trails and pathways, the jungles that surround this towering peak provide a unique break from the sands and waters of the beaches that everyone comes to see.

As you meander through the lush vegetation, you’ll be treated to sights that include hundreds of varieties of flora and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot some of the exotic fauna that call the island home.

Brightly colored birds fill the trees and you might even spot a giant coconut crab in the trees overhead!

If hiking sounds too adventurous, you can also explore the inner island on a four wheel drive tour or ATV tour, allowing you to zip along the roads and paths as you explore the jungles. Savvy tour guides can even bring you to spots where you can pick fresh exotic fruits straight from the trees growing wild in the depths of the jungle!

Swim with the sharks and rays

things to do in bora bora

Because of the unique climate and location of the island, it draws a large number of gentle sharks and massive rays.

As one of the most popular things to do in Bora Bora, you’ll find no shortage of tours, excursions and packages that offer the opportunity to swim with these creatures in the calm blue waters of the lagoon!

Due to the large number of tourists and the regular feedings enjoyed by these marine animals, you even have a chance to see them outside the structured tours as they glide and cruise around looking for some affection or a snack from the swimmers!

They are surprisingly gentle and seem to enjoy pets and strokes as well as snacks, so this is a family friendly adventure to be enjoyed by any and all who wish to do so! Swimming with sharks and rays in one of the most popular things to do in Bora Bora. 

Relax in a Polynesian spa 

Most people visiting French Polynesia do so to enjoy a truly relaxing vacation and there is no better way to do so that at one of the many spas found on the island.

Whether you visit an overwater spa and enjoy the view of the fish swimming peacefully below during a massage or soak in a relaxing hot tub while admiring the views of the volcanic mountain in the distance, your senses (and skin) will be treated to the scents and sounds of the jungles.

Using natural ingredients and oils created from the bounty of the surrounding forests and the fruits it yields, you will feel rejuvenated and relaxed by the immersive and sensory experience found at the spa, making it one of the top things to do in Bora Bora for those seeking to unwind on vacation!

Be sure to book a facial or perhaps a massage for two to enjoy this romantic experience to the fullest! 

Ride a jet ski in the lagoon

things to do in bora bora

Gliding across the crystal blues of the lagoon on a jet ski tour is one of the most enticing things to do in Bora Bora.

Take a day to explore the lagoon from a different perspective and get your adrenaline rushing at the same time. You can opt to do single or double rider with a tour guide during your trip. You will also get up close with black tip reef sharks and stingrays in the shallow part of the lagoon!

Soak in the sunset at the beach, of course!

things to do in bora bora

When visiting a tropical island, the top experience on any traveler’s list is to enjoy some time on the beach!

Soaking up the rays as you relax on the pristine sand overlooking the water is a soothing and peaceful pastime for any traveler, and of course one of the top things to do in Bora Bora.

For an added romantic appeal, lounge away the day and wait for one of the most breathtaking sunsets you will ever see as the sun dips low over the horizon and colors the world in magical hues.

Matira Beach, roughly two miles of white sand beach, is the most popular beach (and only public beach) on the island and centrally located near shops, restaurants, cafes, resorts and hotels.

You’ll find umbrellas, lounge chairs and amenities typical of any beach destination, but the views and experiences of the beaches in Bora Bora are second to none!

Watch the hours float away over the water before enjoying a cocktail and dinner at any one of the numerous restaurants you’ll find nearby to round out a memorable and relaxing day at the beach! Additionally, the hotels and resorts are on their own motu’s (islands) and will offer beach access for guests staying on the property. 

See Humpback Whales!

things to do in bora bora

These majestic creatures are so stunning up close and personal. This whale watching cruise is highly recommended in Bora Bora to give you a chance to see something different. 

Know before you go: practical tips

Get travel insurance!! Planning a trip to Bora Bora is expensive – protect your investment both before you go and while you are there. 

For Americans, you do not need a visa to visit. Simply bring your passport and you will go through immigration in Tahiti when you arrive (which is very quick). 

Bora Bora is an absolute PARADISE! But you may want to consult this weather guide to see what time of year is best for you.

The only way to get to Bora Bora is flying through Air Tahiti, a helicopter or arriving by boat via cruise. 

If you fly in, the airport is on a motu and the big resorts have boat shuttles there to take you to their respective resorts (for a fee) or the airline has a shuttle taking people to Vaitape at no cost – where you can then get a taxi from there. 

When flying into Bora Bora from Tahiti, sit on the left side of the plane for the best views on arrival. Highly recommend seats2-5 for a full window, unobstructed view!

If you are arriving by cruise, you will come into Vaitape. If you are planning to stay in a resort from here, you can either take the shuttle to the airport and then have your resort pick you up from there OR just get a private transfer to your resort from Vaitape.

The official language in Bora Bora is French – however, a lot of people speak English.

The currency in Bora Bora is French Pacific Franc – the easiest way to get this currency is to exchange your money at the airport in Tahiti. There is a counter for money exchange and an ATM. 

One thing to note: the resorts in Bora Bora take credit card – so if you are not planning to leave your hotel and/or booked all your excursions online before coming, you don’t need a ton of cash. Just for tipping. 

Things not to forget to pack:

Reef safe sunscreen – I swear by this stuff and there is a lot of coral in Bora Bora. Please wear reef safe sunscreen when you are in the ocean to not only protect yourself, but the coral from being destroyed. 

Waterproof Camera – if you are spending time in the water, grab this camera that is super user friendly and takes epic shots and videos. 

Motion Sickness Medication – if you are going to take the ferry, go sailing or be out on the water at all, do not forget to bring this medication with you. I rarely get motion sickness but got it a few times while visiting the islands and came under-prepared due to never getting sick in previous times. 

Water shoes – I swear by these! Super cheap and have a sole on them. There is a lot of coral and sand on the island and this is a great way to protect your feet while being out on the beach, if you are getting in the water at an overwater bungalow, doing activities on the water, etc. Additionally, you can wear them and not burn your feet walking from your room to the beach or around the resort areas. 

Waterproof bag – If you are doing anything on or near the water, you will need this bag. Protect your equipment and valuables. Bonus: it is very easy to use and not bulky. 

Dry Bags – These are perfect if you are moving around a lot or plan to use up every last second of your trip in the water. You simply place your wet bathing suit(s) in the bag and it protects everything else in your luggage from getting wet. 

Sunglasses – these sunglasses are uber cheap and super chic. Order a couple just in case you break or lose a pair. You will be in the sun a lot and in the water – protect your eyes.

Kaftan – These are completely practical as you will want to cover up when you aren’t tanning or in the water. Some of the resorts have long walks from the jetty to the main areas and you will want to protect yourself in a swimsuit. 

Water bottle – you will want this one that is filtered and reusable. You are on a small island and the less plastic you consume, the better. 

As one of the most coveted tourist destinations worldwide, you’ll find a wealth of things to do in Bora Bora.

From luxury accommodations and spa treatments to rich, local cuisine, you’ll be treated to a memorable experience while visiting this French Polynesian island. Whether you seek adventure and activity or prefer to take advantage of the relaxing, slower pace of island time, this exotic island paradise will not disappoint!

With so many breathtaking moments and amazing things to do in Bora Bora, you’ll want to try a little bit of everything so you don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime experience!

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