Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Despite its small size, the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora offers much to the cruise visitor and as well as a wealth of idyllic sunbathing opportunities, there are plenty of adventurous activities to enjoy.

6 hours in… Bora Bora

To experience a little of everything that Bora Bora has to offer, you’ll need more than six hours, so before you arrive, it’s best to decide what you most want to do with your day and concentrate on that. Whatever you choose, you’ll probably have enough time to indulge in a little sun-bathing but it’s always a good idea to concentrate on either coastal experiences or discoveries in-land.

It is indeed difficult to think of Bora Bora without thinking of beaches and, while the island certainly has more than its fair share of exclusive luxury resorts with private sandy escapes, Matira Beach is strictly public and one of the island’s most beautiful. Pictures can’t prepare you for the stunning white sand and the way it contrasts with the beautiful blue water will soon have you reaching for your camera. If you’re in port until late, you’ll be in for an extra treat, as it’s even more beautiful at sunset.

A beautiful beach on Bora Bora

A beautiful beach on Bora Bora

The numerous sharks and rays are the most famous inhabitants of Bora Bora, even though they dwell off-shore in the surrounding crystal-blue waters. There are numerous ways to meet them and it’s certainly an unforgettable experience to see them and even swim with them in their natural habitat. As you’d imagine, there are more opportunities for actually swimming with the animals when it comes to rays, but it’s always possible to share the waters with sharks on certain excursions. Scuba enthusiasts will be in their element, while a snorkel adventure above one of the island’s bountiful reefs is also a rewarding way to spend a couple of hours.

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, there’s one attraction you can’t fail to miss, the towering Mount Otemanu. That said, it’s such a trek up this towering natural monument that a jeep excursion is the best way to explore. As you’d imagine, the views from the top are simply stunning and the mountain offers the best way to take in the most of the island but as well as the view, there’s fantastic flora and fauna to enjoy during your excursion, so be sure to have your camera at the ready. Tupitipiti Point is one of the most popular spots from which to enjoy the view, so if your excursion (or your guide) mentions that you’ll be going, you’ll be in for a treat.

Been before?

The first option if you’ve visited the island before is to take a trek up the mountain if you’ve enjoyed the coast, or spend time in the water if you’ve already scaled its heights. Elsewhere on the island, the White Valley region certainly lives up to its name, with its distinctive white stone enclosing a valley which is home to a dramatic geyser as well as numerous turtles in its dive spots. It’s a good choice if you’re on a return visit and even better if you’re an experience scuba diver.

A panoramic view along the coast of Bora Bora

A panoramic view along the coast of Bora Bora

Can’t keep away?

Let’s be honest, there’s not many people who would bore of Bora Bora but if you’re a return visitor who’s looking for a new experience, you could always try a spa treatment, whether it’s a holistic one or an outdoors beach massage. Let’s face it, considering Bora Bora’s beauty, you’re half the way there all ready when it comes to being totally relaxed.

The dramatic backdrop of Bora Bora's natural landscape

The dramatic backdrop of Bora Bora’s natural landscape

We’ve already told you how photogenic Bora Bora is but if you’re searching for something a little more than scenic panoramas and rushed selfies, a photography tour could be the perfect choice. An expert photographer who really knows the island will take you and your loved one to the best locals and capture plenty of shots in you in each, helping you to create the perfect souvenir and something which would be ideal for honeymooners or those celebrating a special anniversary.

If you’re an art lover, you’ll certainly find Bora Bora’s beauty inspiring but if you’re looking for a specific artistic fix, be sure to pay a visit to the studio of Alain Despert, whose previous studio you may have visited if you’ve been to Malta in the past.

Don’t even bother!

If you’re intent on travelling any distance on Bora Bora, there is no public transport and rental cars or taxis may prove either difficult to source, expensive, or both. With that in mind, it’s always better to book an excursion in advance, as you’ll save money and have more time to explore.


Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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