Destination guide: Bora Bora, Polynesia

Bora Bora is an island paradise in Polynesia, north-east of Tahiti and in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It has an enormous volcanic massif and picture-postcard scenery, with coral reefs and a spectacular turquoise interior lake.

You can also find Marae (ancient sculptures used in religious ceremonies) and swim with turtles, dolphins, baby sharks, rays and colored fish.

Bora Bora is a favorite with coupleswho are in love and who choose it for an unforgettable honeymoon in Polynesia.

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  • Bora Bora - Things to do

    Sights

    Musée de la Marine

    The small, private Musée de la Marine has a collection of model ships made by architect Bertrand Darasse. The opening hours are fairly haphazard, so you might like to call ahead.

    Telephone Number: +689 67 75 24 
    Pricing: admission by donation

    Eat

    Bloody Mary's

    Bloody Mary’s isn’t just a restaurant; it’s an experience, especially at dinner. You walk on sand floors, sit on coconut stools under a thatched roof and are surrounded by exotic plants. The food impresses, too; you choose your meal from an extensive display at the entrance, with a presentation in English. Fish lovers will get a buzz here, with a tantalising array of lagoon fish and pelagics, but dedicated carnivores are also well catered for, with meat cooked the American-barbecue way. A bit touristy, but it’s a concept that has been cult since 1979, and it’s a favourite with celebrities, so go with the flow.

    Telephone Number: +689 67 72 86 
    Opening Hours: lunch & dinner Mon-Sat 
    Pricing: mains 1000-2700 CFP

    Le St James

    Don’t be deterred by the odd location – the place is hidden in the back of a small shopping centre in Vaitape – for once inside, you’ll find French specialities with a bow to local ingredients, such as blanc de volaille aux cèpes et riz à l’ananas (poultry with cep mushrooms and rice with pineapple). Let the sea breeze whip through your hair while dining alfresco on the deck above the lagoon. Lunch is a tamer (and less expensive) affair, with salads, burgers and grilled fish.

    Telephone Number: +689 67 64 62 
    Opening Hours: lunch & dinner Mon-Sat
    Pricing: mains 1000-3600 CFP 
    Website: www.stjamesborabora.com 

    Bora Kaina Hut

    The Kaina Hut ticks all the boxes for an idyllic island experience. Romantic interior with candlelit tables, wooden furniture and sand floor. Check. Well-presented food befitting the setting. Check. Attentive service and soothing soundtrack. Check. The oysters, mussels, lagoon fish or raw fish duo and tempura prawns sing of the sea, but don’t miss the desserts (profiteroles with coconut and chocolate? More please).

    Telephone Number: +689 67 54 06 
    Opening Hours: lunch & dinner Wed-Mon
    Pricing: mains 1400-2600 CFP

    Sunset Boulevard

    We’re talking of two open-air, permanently moored boats as well as two decks in a tropical garden right by the lagoon. The emphasis is on local dishes with a contemporary twist; a few zesty treasures include ‘BBQ King’ (skewered fish and beef) and ‘Humeur du Chef’ (an assortment of sushi and sashimi).

    Telephone Number:  +689 67 57 67 
    Opening Hours: dinner Tue-Sun 
    Pricing: mains 1700-3000 CFP

    Shop

    Tiare Market

    Self-caterers can stock up the kitchenette at Tiare Market, a local supermarket across from the Novotel Bora Bora. It’s well stocked with all the necessities – from wine and fresh bread to sunscreen and toothpaste.

    Opening Hours: 6.30am-1.30pm & 3-7pm Mon-Sat, 6.30am-1pm & 3-6.30pm Sun 

    Matira Pearls

    Sells mounted and loose pearls starting at 10,000 CFP and offers some creative pieces. It’s run by two Americans so you won’t have to worry about the language barrier.

    Telephone Number: +689 67 79 14 
    Websitewww.matirapearls.com

    Atelier Despert

    Even if you can’t afford to purchase the original paintings, it’s worth stopping by this lovely little studio to chat with the charming artist and check out his latest work. Alain Despert only does originals (no prints), and his work has gained worldwide acclaim for its bold and bright patterns.

    Telephone Number: +689 60 48 15
    Websitewww.despert.com 

    Tamanu Galerie D’art

    Loads of Polynesian art, along with the usual T-shirts, curios and pearls, are sold at this pretty special gallery just next to the post office in Vaitape.

    Telephone Number: +689 67 66 89 

    Boutique Gauguin

    This boutique sells some of the most artistic-looking pareu on the island and has a varied collection of clothes, crafts and sculptures.

    Telephone Number: +689 67 76 67 

    Galerie Alain et Linda

    About halfway between Vaitape and Matira Point, this gallery has a little bit of everything - including a mix of art, books, etchings and pottery.

    Telephone Number: +689 67 70 32 
    Websitewww.borabora-art.com