The small island of Bora Bora (just about 6 miles long and a little more than 2 miles wide) overflows with beauty. A dormant volcano rises up at its center and fans out into lush jungle before spilling into an aquamarine lagoon. In fact, author James Michener, who wrote "Tales of the South Pacific," called Bora Bora "the most beautiful island in the world." The 18th-century British explorer James Cook even coined it as the "Pearl of the Pacific." The very definition of a tropical getaway, blissful Bora Bora abounds with luxurious resorts, sunny skies, warm waters and friendly locals.
And as you might've already guessed, the main industry on this petite island in French Polynesia and its swarm of tiny motu (islands) is tourism. To that end, you can snorkel, explore Vaitape (Bora Bora's main port), hike Mount Otemanu and more. But there's a catch: Bora Bora is expensive – very expensive. In short, visit Bora Bora for natural beauty, visit for utter relaxation and visit if you have the money.
The main objective of a Bora Bora vacation is relaxation and this small island offers innumerable ways to achieve it. Repose on the deck of your overwater bungalow, cool off in the luminous lagoon surrounding Bora Bora or bike around the island at a leisurely pace. When you have some energy to burn, we suggest checking out the underwater life at the Bora Bora Lagoonarium and the Coral Gardens. For a taste of the local culture, take a jaunt into Vaitape. And whether you photograph it at a distance or climb its rocky slopes, Mount Otemanu is a must-see.
The best times to go to Bora Bora are November and April. These short shoulder seasons offer fine weather with temperatures in the mid-70s to mid-80s. High season runs from May to October when rain showers are isolated and the number of tourists swells. Low season stretches from December to March when the weather is wet and visitors become mosquito bait. But really anytime is a good time to visit Bora Bora, since the weather is warm year-round.
The best way to get around Bora Bora is by bike, especially when you consider that the entire island only takes a few hours to traverse. Rental cars are another option, but they cost significantly more than a rental bicycle. The local bus system, Le Truck, is notoriously unpredictable and taxis are quite expensive.
To get to Bora Bora, most travelers fly into Bora Bora Airport also known as Motu Mute Airport. If you're coming from the U.S., you'll first stop at the Faa'a International Airport in Tahiti. Once you've cleared customs, you'll hop on a 45-minute flight to Bora Bora Airport. You'll find this airport on a small islet called Motu Mute, just northwest of the main island, and you'll have to take a quick catamaran ride to reach your final destination at Bora Bora's Vaitape quay. Many resorts offer airport transportation; check to see if yours does before making arrangements.