Eco-friendly travel guide to Bora Bora advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Bora Bora, French Polynesia.
- Air quality: 3.5 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3.0 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3.5 / 5
- Public transportation: 3.0 / 5
- Parks: 2.0 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 3.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.0 / 5
- Safety: 3.0 / 5
- Accommodation: US$50 - $300
- Budget per day: US$80 - $350
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Bora Bora is a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean governed by France and belongs to the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. This is one of the most scenic locations around the globe, with the remains of two volcanic mountains in the center of the island, namely: Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia. When traveling to Bora Bora, you need to understand that this is one of the most luxurious tourist spots worldwide and none where you will need to spend enough money to burn a hole in your pocket.
However, when you come to Bora Bora, you will realize that this island is very much in contact with nature, and you must respect that by traveling responsibly. Some of the most important ways to travel responsibly include:
- When you travel to Bora Bora, you can ride a bicycle because it is environmentally sustainable and affordable. Bora Bora being one of the most expensive tourist spots around the world, charges quite a lump sum amount of money for traveling inside the island, however with the help of a bicycle, you will be able to travel all around The Island without having to pay an additional fare. This also gives you the independence to venture around The Island and the various corners without depending on others.
- When you travel long distances inside Bora Bora, it is better to travel using the available public transportation systems. This will help you reach your destination without spending a lot of money and provide you a look into the world of the people who actually live in Bora Bora. Hiring a private mode of transportation is not only extremely expensive but also harmful to nature.
- Bora Bora is an island in the ocean, has to import much of its food resources from outside. It is hence important for you to not waste food when on this Island. If you are trying out something new, try to control your portions before investing in it. You must also not waste water when you are here.
- Bora Bora is an extremely scenic place that is close to nature. When you travel to an island like this, you mustn't pollute it. One of the most important and basic things to keep in mind is that you can not litter when in Bora Bora. Always carry an extra bag with you to throw your waste dumped later into the trash can.
- Another very important aspect of traveling responsibly is by always shopping locally. If you want to bring home some souvenirs from this beautiful land of Bora Bora, make sure to buy from the local sellers rather than the corporate giants. When you shop locally, you support those in need of money and are native to the land and pay tribute to the handwork and dedication of those who put much effort into their work.
Air Quality and Pollution
Bora Bora being placed much away from the hustle and bustle of urban life, the air quality of this place is good. The air quality index read 33, which is a good number and is considered a threat to air pollution. Because their quality is so clean with very little particulate matter or other kinds of air pollutants, it is advised that you enjoy your time outdoors when visiting Bora Bora. It is the perfect place to get close to nature and breathe fresh air like never before.
If you are tired of your city life, this is the perfect place where you can open your windows and spend your time outdoors without having anything to worry about. However, some extremely sensitive people to air pollution are advised to wear a face mask when stepping outside as a preventive measure.
Respect the Culture
Bora Bora has many beautiful customs and traditions that make it absolutely refreshing and different from the other places you have ever visited. It is important that you respect the culture of Bora Bora and the people who uphold these traditions. Did you know that tattoo originated in French Polynesia, and it is an important aspect of Bora Bora island? It is known that the art of tattooing is considered a sign of beauty here and is to be applied when reaching adolescence. Dance and music is also a very important part of pollination culture. The various dances have symbolic movements as well as gorgeous costumes accompanied by the traditional music that is played using shells, dramas, and flutes. The dance and culture of Bora Bora have now become infused with some other Western styles. The Polynesian culture also has handcrafts on various items, including quilting, weaving, tapa, drums, wooden statues, carvings, hand-dyed pareu, and more.
When visiting Bora Bora island, you must pay respects to the people who belong to the place; you should never be racist or try cultural appropriation as that is out of the question. Be respectful to those around you for a better and more prosperous stay. The people of Bora Bora depend on tourism to a great extent when it comes to their economy. You will be treated in the most hospitable way here. However, you must always return the respect to them every step of the way. No matter who you communicate with, whether it be your tour guide or your room service, do so with patience and respect.
Top 10 Places to Visit
While Bora Bora is a small island, it harbors much beauty and sanctity. It is one of the most luxurious and expensive places to visit but is truly worth the price. It has the most exciting jungle while there remains a dormant volcano in the center of the island. Along with that, there is a blue Lagoon along with the most mind-numbing coral reef that you will ever come across. Some of the places that are must-visit in Bora Bora:
- Matira Beach: This is the only public beach in Bora Bora, and this is a mile long sand Beach known as the best beach in all of Bora Bora. During low tide, you will be able to spend your time at the sand bar available in the Matira point and go all the way to the nearby coral reefs. It provides a great opportunity for you to snorkel, sunbathe, or engage in water sports. There is an exciting population of stingrays here, which makes the island even more interesting. This is a perfect island with water appropriate for bathing in with the most beautiful palm trees' backdrop.
- Coral Gardens: This is a small islet located east of the main island of Bora Bora. This islet has one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Most tourists who come here usually hire a tour guide who can help them snorkel or swim among the coral reef. You will also be able to come across a huge variety of sea life here, including moray eels, stingrays, blacktip reef sharks, and a wide variety of colorful fish. This is one of the most important and exciting places and all of Bora Bora. However, make sure to stick with your team when snorkeling as the marine life becomes aggressive if you are isolated.
- Bora Bora Lagoonarium: While other places worldwide have aquariums to offer, Bora Bora has an extensive Lagoonarium located in a small motu or island located east of the main Island. This is a natural aquarium richest family-owned and where you will be able to snorkel your way around under the guidance of wildlife guides. You will be able to find the most beautiful turtles, sharks, stingrays, and a wide variety of fish. There are many tours available here, and depending on the one you choose, you will be able to enjoy canoeing, barbecue, and even a picnic. If it is your first time snorkeling, this is the safest place for you and will provide you with an amazing experience.
- Boat Tours of Bora Bora: If you love a boat tour, Bora Bora is a dream place to be. Ranging from speed boats, glass-bottom boats, sailboats, and Kayaks, the beach has it all. When you get tired of swimming and snorkeling in the waters, it's time for you to enjoy the boat tours offered on the island. You will be able to customize the tour package according to your privacy. There are half-day and full-day bookings as well as private or shared excursions that you can choose from. Many of the boat tours also offer a full meal on the boat itself. You will be able to get to the hidden gems of the island, including covert lagoons and coves that you'll find with experienced tour guides.
- Vaitipe: While most people are not much interested in the urban life of Bora Bora, the main town of Vaitipe is still a place to visit when here. It is located on the West coast of the island and will only take about some hours to explore. The best part of this city is that you will find many souvenir shops, churche, and exciting eateries here. The central street becomes the center of attraction, particularly on Sundays, with a number of stalls selling everything from doughnuts to clams. You'll also be able to find a number of facilities, including a medical center, car rental kiosk, and travel offices. This is also the place for you to pick up fancy souvenirs that are appropriate for your transfer.
- Mount Otemanu: This is one of the two mountain peaks that are dormant volcanoes located in the island's center. It arises about 2400 feet above the Lagoon, and the volcanic remains make this an amazing place for some adventure as well as photography. This is a must-visit spot when you come to Bora Boraas, and you will be able to witness one of the most breathtaking views of your life. Most people like to hike their way up to the mountain, and if you are not comfortable, you can also opt for a helicopter tour. This mountain peak will offer you the scenery that you will never be able to forget because of its extraordinary beauty.
- Tahiti Pearl Market: Tahitian pearls at the most scintillating and desirable pearls all around the globe. The Tahiti Pearl Market is one of the finest family businesses cultivating and building jewelry from these harvested pearls. You will find a wide variety of pearls, yeah that come in different sizes, colors, and quality. Not only is this an amazing place to buy pearls from, but you also support a number of employees who work under this Pearl market. Each of these pearls is hand collected by divers from 20 feet on the water. You will be able to select the ball you like amidst thousands of pearls and get it set according to your wishes.
- Paroisse Saint Pierre-Celestin Church: This is the only Catholic Church in Bora Bora and is located at the center of Vaitipe meeting at the city's most exciting attraction. The locals gather here for various religious festivals as well as the Sunday mass. This magnificent Church was designed by the celebrated architect David Chanvin in an exclusive style that blends with the local architecture. It was built under Father Emile's encouragement, who was the Parish priest of the leeward island. It is bejeweled with some of the most beautiful stained window glasses that represent the seven sacraments. However, they are made from durable laminated glass to resist the strong wind present in the area.
- Bora Artist Upstairs: If you have a deep interest in art and paintings, this is the perfect place for you. This gallery holds some of the most exciting permanent collections of paintings that originated in Bora Bora. The gallery is filled with over a hundred original artwork that took inspiration from Polynesian culture and has been made by ten famous Bora Bora artists. The technique with which the paintings are made is extremely exciting and borrows from the culture here. Watercolor, lithographs, prints, acrylic on canvas, acrylic on board, oil on people, posters, tapa, Pareos, reproduction, tiki, and much more to be found here. You will also be able to come across some books that represent the local arts of Bora Bora.
- Maohi Nui: The legend is Patrick Tairui, and Maohi Nui is an exhilarating journey itself. You will be able to visit Patrick's island and be able to hear his stories of adventure from the man himself. He shares a deep-rooted interest in nature, history, a native culture that you too shall be able to be a part of. The lagoon excursions here will take you to some of the most enchanted places underwater that is absolutely mind-blowing. Enjoy your time snorkeling and swimming with turtles, sharks, and stingrays. You will also be able to have a Polynesian feast on a private motu with their traditional meal and drink!
Bora Bora Extremely amazing place where you will be able to enjoy the many wonders of nature and also be able to take part in a variety of adventure sports. There are a number of places to visit and much to do in Bora Bora. If you love beaches and water and form an instant connection with nature, this place will truly blow your mind. One of the best ways to explore The Island is with two-wheeler help to discover new places every day. While Bora Bora is a small Island, and there is much to see and soak in.
Bora Bora is a small island and is one when the sole attraction is underwater. You will hence not be able to find the number of City parks here. However, you will find huge stretches of land that are perfect for small picnics or your exercises. You will have a number of activities lined up that will help you spend quality time outdoors, even in the absence of City parks. Most of the resorts here have their own gardens and parks for you to enjoy.
Bora Bora does not have national parks. However, you will come in close contact with nature and all its beauty and wildlife when you visit the Lagoonarium, which has already been discussed. The Lagoonarium is just like an aquarium but one where you will be able to snorkel in a closed space with all the marine life. The Turtle Centre is also a great place where you will find all kinds of turtles of Bora Bora.
Bora Bora being an island, arguably has some of the most beautiful and enchanting beaches all around the world. Not only does it have the world-famous overwater bungalows and rich marine life, but there are also sandy beaches with turquoise water for you to enjoy with your partner or alone. This is truly one of the most enchanting destinations where you will be able to find luxurious beaches. Some of the most famous beaches of Bora Bora are as follows:
- Matira Beach: While this beach has already been mentioned, it is important to keep this in mind as it is the only public beach available for tourists. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Bora Bora, and you'll be able to find locals on this beach as well. While the water is calm and the sand is clear, you will have the most peaceful time here.
- Beach at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui: This is a private beach that faces the Lagoon providing you with a landmark of uninterrupted oceans. There are two long stretches of white sand on either side of the walkway, and the beaches are provided with lounges under umbrellas. The videos bungalows here provide Direct access to the beach as well.
- Beach at the St. Regis Bora Bora: This is another private beach that has three stretches of soft white sand. This beach directly faces Mount Otemanu. All the beaches wild and come where you will be able to enjoy and relax on the hammocks. There are also paddleboards, pedal boats, and Kayak for you to enjoy.
- Beach at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora: This resort and the beach is located in a private Motu that is 15 minutes away from the airport. This beautiful beach offers a stunning view of Mount Otemanu. The calm and peaceful water is perfect for swimming. There is also a small beach dedicated to kayaking, water biking, and other water sports.
Along with the beaches mentioned above, Bora Bora has many other beaches to offer, which includes: Beach at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, Beach at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, Beach at Le Meridien Bora Bora, Beach at Pension Alice et Raphael, Beach at the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island and Beach at the Blue Heaven Island.
The most popular landmark of the Bora Bora have already been discussed above, which includes:
- Mount Otemanu
- Matira Beach
- Mount Pahia
Bora Bora has a handful of museums for you to enjoy. Some of these museums include:
- Kincaid Galleries
- Alain Despert
- Art du Pacific
- Bora Art Upstairs
- Vitali Bora Peintre
- Garrick Yrondi Art Studio and Gallery Bora Bora
- Naval Museum Bora Bora
- Bora Bora Turtle Sanctuary and Museum
Like every other place around the world, Bora Bora has a lot to offer when it comes to its cuisine. You will find a number of traditional food items here and continental cuisine that has been adapted into the style of life of Bora Bora. The island has some of the most romantic and luxurious eateries and restaurants you will fall in love with.
Traditional Local Restaurants
Bora Bora has become a center for tourists from all around the world. Most people live in the resorts where you will be able to have amazing seafood that is harvested from the ocean itself. While you may not find many traditional local restaurants in Bora Bora, there are a number of traditional meals that you must enjoy no matter where you stay. Fish is the most important and traditional meal in Bora Bora, and it is typically marinated in coconut milk. Poisson cru is one of the most popular delicacies here, consisting of raw fish marinated in lime juice and served with a salad. Chicken, potatoes, breadfruit, pork, and sweet potatoes are also featured in many dishes here. Most of the food here is cooked in a traditional pit oven.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Most of the resorts offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly food on the daily menu. It is best if you notify the resort of your lifestyle before reaching there.
You will be able to enjoy street food in the central town of Vaitipe, typically on Sunday. The locals line the place with stalls and cook street food and other traditional food on the Island.
Alcoholic beverages are celebrated in Bora Bora, and you will be able to enjoy a glass of wine or vodka by the beach anytime you want. Most of the resorts serve an exclusive line of alcoholic beverages with some sort of adventure. Refreshing drinks available and are regularly served at the resorts. You will also be able to find your daily beverages here.
Bora Bora has a huge desalination plant that is located on the island itself. Hence the tap water here is safe for human consumption. Most people who come to visit the island prefer to drink bottled water.
There are several eateries around the Island, and you may be able to find an organic cafe here as well.
- Aloe Cafe
- La Matira Beach Restaurant
- Restaurant St. James
Here are some of the local breweries of Bora Bora:
- Tropica Brewing Co.
- Bora Brewing Co.
Bora Bora has some of the most stunning and adrenaline-pumping activities. These activities are generally all water spots of some kind and are absolutely thrilling. There are huge activities that can be planned according to your schedule, from kayaking to snorkeling and scuba diving. There are a number of water sports organizations that you can contact before visiting The Island to get the best experience.
Yoga and Retreats
You may be able to find yoga retreats in Bora Bora. However, you will have to reach the islands before you can make any reservations.
Since Bora Bora is one of the most exquisite locations, there are a number of available accommodations for people who travel here from all around the world. However, it is important to understand that all the accommodations are quite expensive since they offer you the absolute best experience possible. You will have to save up before planning a vacation here. The best part about the plethora of accommodations available in Bora Bora is that all of them are close to nature and features some of the best overwater Huts and resorts all around The world. Most of the accommodations are so beautiful that they become a part of the scenic beauty in itself. One of The best things about Bora Bora island is that there are a number of versatile accommodations available here. While you may have always lived in hotels and guest houses, Bora Bora allows living in some of the most luxurious Ocean huts and also allow you to enjoy living in houseboats and other kinds of accommodations.
When you travel around the world, you need to live sustainably no matter where you go. You must understand that each location to visit has its own charm and must not contaminate it. For this reason, it is best if you live in a green hotel that will help you live sustainably and comfortably:
- Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island
- Hotel Royal Bora Bora
- InterContinental Le Moana
- Hotel Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora
Hostels and Guest Houses
If you want to live and visit Bora Bora but do not want to spend all your money on resorts, there are a handful of hostels and guest houses that provide excellent stay without charging too much money. Some of these hostels and guesthouses include:
- Rohotu Fare
- Blue Heaven Island
- Villa Rea Hanaa
- La Perle de Tahaa
- Pension Fare Ara
If you want to live in Bora Bora for an extended period of time, you may consider living in apartments. While the apartments are not cheap, they do some with the number of extra facilities that will make your stay much more comfortable. Some of these apartments include:
- SUNSET HILL LODGE
- Cool Holidays
- Moemoea Lodge
- Bora Bora Enjoy
- Bungalow Tuatini
- Ninamu Lodge
- Bungalow Manuka
- Tiare Lodge
You can find amazing couchsurfing options at Bora Bora at www.couchsurfing.com.
If you want to be one with nature, there are a number of campsites that are absolutely amazing and will provide you with an exhilarating experience. One of the best campsites in Bora Bora include:
Bora Bora Camping Motu Ecologique
How to Get There
Bora Bora is one of the most exciting places to visit all around the world. It is an expensive affair that requires you to plan it ahead of time. However, Bora Bora is well connected to the rest of the world with a number of cruise liners and flights. Here are some of the ways you can get to the Islands:
Flying to Bora Bora by air is an experience of a lifetime as you will be able to see the blue lagoons and the island from the skies. In order to reach Bora Bora, you will first have to get to Faa’a International Airport at Papeete, which is located on the main island of Tahiti. Direct flights to this airport are available from many countries. You will then have to fly to Motu Mute by Air Tahiti, a small motu in Bora Bora. This is a 50-minute trip, and there are about 5 daily flights. You may be able to find a direct flight from your country to Bora Bora, but it will surely be extremely expensive.
As Bora Bora is an island, you will not be able to get here by bus.
Reaching Bora Bora by train is not possible as it an island.
You cannot hitchhike to Bora Bora as it is quite an isolated island.
The other way by which you can come to Bora Bora is by water. The limited number of cruise liners travel from various locations, including Honolulu, California, Peru, Auckland, etc.
Once you get to the main island of Bora Bora, discovering the island is not a difficult task as there are a number of means by which you can move around the Island. Remember that it is always important for you to look for more sustainable options when visiting Bora Bora. While some private transportation options are more likely to cost a fortune and burn a hole in your pocket. It is hence best for you to choose sustainable and affordable means of transportation.
If you want to discover the island by yourself, the best way for you to so is by walking. When you walk around the island, gems that you would have otherwise not able to see, as The Island is pretty small, you will be able to get from one place to another for sightseeing without exerting yourself.
The best way to adventure around the Island days in a two-wheeler. The best part is that you can travel around The Island on your bicycle in a day itself. You will be able to find the number of bike rental services. Many resorts provide complimentary bicycles, which is extremely exciting.
Electronic vehicles are not very popular in Bora Bora.
There is no scheduled bus the travel around the island of Bora Bora. However, there is a local bus system which is known as LeTruck. While it is the most inexpensive way to travel around the island, it is a little unreliable. They encircle the island and can be found on the coastal streets.
Tram, Train and Subway
There are no trams or trains in Bora Bora.
Sustainable shopping is the best way to get the flavor of the place you are visiting while giving back to those who are inhabitants of the area. When you shop from big labels and corporate brands on tour and not buy from the local sellers, you are curbing their means of income and supporting fast fashion, which is not sustainable at all. Even if you cannot find a number of sustainable shopping stores and Bora Bora island, the best way to support the ones in need and the environment is to shop from the locals.
The supermarket is the most iconic place where you will be able to find fresh produce every day. While most vegetables and fruits are important, the supermarket is the best place to find fresh ingredients and fruits.
While there are a number of markets that you will find in the center of the city, not a number of free markets available in Bora Bora, you will, however, be able to find some excellent deals in the local shops here.
Second Hand Stores
Thrift Shopping is the best way to find something that is good quality and also extremely sustainable. Not only are you using but also helping the environment. Here are some of the thrift stores that you will find in Bora Bora:
- Tresors by Tahia
- Boutique Bora Bora
- Arc En Ciel Bora-Bora
- Maison Sibani | Tahitian Pearls - Bora Bora
When it comes to finding Eco fashion brands in the Bora Bora Islands, it is important to understand that while there are not many brands that sell ecological fashion wear, it is always important for you to buy from local traders and manufacturers. When you buy from small businesses and the local people of the islands lottery, do you support their livelihood and abandon the number of non-sustainable practices performed by big brands.
While Bora Bora has taken into consideration or number of important steps in order to make the environment greener, not many recycling collections are happening around the island.
While most French Polynesia cities are struggling with proper waste management, Bora Bora is one of the only places that waste management is under control. There are some water management plants, but they have also come up with a number of innovative solutions to make a living in the islands more sustainable. While the government has put active participation in this, other non-profit organizations help waste management in Bora Bora.
Work and Study Abroad
Bora Bora is an extremely important place in French Polynesia that provides a vast range of work opportunities, especially because of the number of people who come here to spend time. As there are several visitors to Bora Bora every year, it also employs a number of people from all around French Polynesia into various posts. While the traveling industry is one of the most booming ones here, it is an important city and has other job opportunities. Similarly, many people are interested in nature and for further studies come to Bora Bora for studying and learning. Bora Bora Welcomes a number of international students every year. For this reason, there is a huge influx of people who come to the city every year.
While Bora Bora has a handful of exchange students, as it is an extremely expensive Island, not everyone can come here because of the expense.
Au pair services are quite extensive in Bora Bora, and you will be able to find service providers when you look for them. You can take help from the concierge at the hotel or hostel you are staying for more details.
While some volunteering opportunities are present on the Bora Bora island, you have to reach the island and look for them yourself.