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Trips and Tours in Bora Bora

Jeep Tour

In order to see the island and its dramatic scenery and also get a good view of the three neighboring islands: Tahaa, Raiatea (known by its name the Vanilla Island) and Tupai, it’s recommended to join a 3 hour jeep tour by the Tupuna Mountain Safari Bora Bora company. The jeep roof is covered but open on the sides.
On the trip, you will visit three main viewpoints on the mountain tops. The roads leading there are impossible for regular cars, with many bumps, sometimes in mud and steep ups and downs. These roads are private therefore the travel companies pay to access the private area. In the circumference of the island, there is one natural paved road that surrounds the entire “large island” of Bora Bora along its beaches. The first observation point is the view of the capital town of Vaitape, next to it in the bay anchors the cruise ships arriving in Bora Bora. You can see the beautiful view of the lagoon, the town the coral reefs and the sailing boats.

The guide also tells about the island and its inhabitants numbering about ten thousand people and most of them make their living from tourism. So far there was only an elementary school and now they are also building a high school. There is no hospital on the island but there’s a medical center. From this lookout point, you overlook also on the only public beach on the island: “Matira Beach”, a wide sandy beach, very popular amongst the locals.
At the second highest point, you’ll stop next to two large cannons that were placed here by the Americans during World War II to protect the place from the Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Charles de Gaulle agreed at the time for the Americans to enter the island, which was a French territory, but on the condition that what they bring to the island will stay when they leave. The Americans left the cannons but dismantled the essential parts so they couldn’t use the cannons against them in the future.

 

Jeep Tour

 

In total the Americans set up here 8 cannons across the island. Two in each position across the island. The Americans also broke an entry path for the boats through the coral reef that surrounded the island thereby allowed the establishment of a harbor protected from the waves in Bora Bora. Beforehand only small boats could reach the island and the big boats were greeted by these boats near a small island by the reef.
The Americans have contributed greatly to the island infrastructure development and encouraged the locals also to get educated.
While going down the mountain, it’s possible to stop at the passenger’s request in the village of Vaitape to buy different merchandise in the supermarket, drugstore or store. Its recommended to buy a sea mattress or any other means of floating within the quiet lagoons near the bungalows on the water around the island. The prices in town are relatively reasonable in comparison to the expensive prices of the hotels and therefore it is a good opportunity to stock up.
From there you continue to the third observation point, on the way you can see fruit trees and many flowers as the guide expounds about them. The jeep climbs up the mountains and you come to the house of a painter whose expertise is painting on canvases. The locals tend to wear a floral outfit in a shape of a sheet that is wrapped around the body called Pareo. The artist paints beautiful paintings (and expensive) on these fabrics with water resistant colors which you could either frame or wear. The artist’s house in located in the heart of a dramatic landscape in which he is surrounded on one side by the two highest peaks on the island and on the other side spreads a lovely view of the slopes of the mountains on which there are fruit orchards and that continue down to the blue lagoon that surrounds the island and to the coral reef and the sea. While enjoying the art and the view the tourists will be served fruits: pomelo and coconut.

 

Painted fabrics on the background of the mountain in Bora Bora:

painted fabrics on the background of the mountain in Bora Bora

 

An ecological tour in the lagoon

A recommended tour that in my opinion is a “must see” for anyone who comes to Bora Bora, is a day cruise (about 8 hours) which includes four wonderful and varied stops:
- Swimming with the “Stingrays” feeding them and petting them, you will hug and even feed these huge fish while standing in the quiet clear water of the lagoon.

 

Swimming with the stingrays:

swimming with the stingrays

 

- Snorkel in the “coral garden” rich with fish of all sizes and colors as well as corals and unique and colorful shellfish. Usually the guide will also find for you a giant eel hiding among the rocks or a rock fish.

 

Eel

eel

 

- Near the exit from the harbor, in the deep waters just outside the large reef surrounding the island, you will swim near two kinds of sharks: black tip sharks, a medium sized shark swimming near sea level which the guide feeds with sardines, and the giant lemon sharks that are swimming deep, but occasionally come up almost to the sea level.

 

Swimming with the sharks:

Swimming with the sharks

 

Quite the impressive and frightening experience (you don’t have to get into the water. You can watch the sharks from the boat). To illustrate the experience, you can watch the video I took while swimming with them.
- A typical local lunch on the small island. The meal is served on plates made of coconut tree leaves and is accompanied by authentic music and various demonstrations: the guide climbs bare foot high up the coconut tree, cuts a coconut with a knife, demonstrates how to prepare “coconut milk” and shows how to make plates from coconut leaves.

 

Singing and drumming while dining

singing and drumming while dining

 

The guide is quite talented – he sails the boat (the collection is from the dock of each hotel, there is no need for taxi’s or transportation – it is a day of sailing), he is the snorkeling guide, he prepares the food and preforms demonstrations and stunts but above all he is also a musician and a singer. While sailing, while snorkeling and even during the meal he plays a “Tahitian guitar” the Ukulele and sings, from local songs, Polynesian songs, popular American songs and even Italian and French songs.

 

Playing the guitar in the boat

Playing the guitar in the boat

 

Several companies organize such cruises, but the most successful of all is Lagoon Services
All the companies have also a shorter cruise of half a day, but it is really a waste to give up one of the stops and it is recommended to take a comprehensive cruise, the longer one. The company has also a sunset cruise and fishing trips.
For those who prefer diving there are special tours of diving with the sharks with companies that specialize in diving. The leading company in the French Polynesia, with branches in all the islands, including Bora Bora is TOPDIVE.

 

A combination tour: jet-skiing and ATV rides

 A popular four-hour tour full of action and landscape is the COMBO tour that combines one and a half hour of guided sailing on a jet ski followed by an hour and a half drive on the island for an impressive view from the top of the mountains that you cannot stop admiring.

 

 ATV trip:

ATV trip

 

A popular company that organizes such a tour is: Matira Jet Tours located near the Matira beach close to the InterContinental Le Moana hotel.
The cruise on the jet ski is guided in small groups of about 3-4 jet skis with a guide and it covers the entire island, the jet ski is suited for a couple of riders. You ride fast on the turquoise clear multicolored water, passing by amazing hotels with many cabins on the water, you cruise by the boats and see while cruising fast fish and stingrays.

 

Jet ski cruise:

Jet ski cruise

 

During the cruise, you stop several times for explanations, photos and rest. An enjoyable stop in the middle of the cruise is for bathing in the clear water while eating wonderful fruits.
The ATV is suitable for a driver and a passenger behind, you drive it on the normal road surrounding the island as well as the steep climbs filled with potholes while looking at the view. Also you hear fascinating explanations about the island, its landscape and its inhabitants from your guides.

 

Paragliding

Another popular activity on the island is paragliding – a wonderful way to be impressed from above by the landscape of the island and its bright colors.

 

Between activities it is recommended you enjoy the wonderful hotels, sit down on the balconies on the water, be excited by the scenery, tranquility and the good air, dip in the clear warm water and feel that you have won! This is the good life!

sunset in bora bora
 

More articles on French Polynesia:
Bora Bora - Vacation and Travel Attractions
Vacation on Moorea island
A trip to Tahiti
Guided Tours in Tahiti

 

 

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