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.
Bora Bora - Practical Information
Bora Bora is spectacularly mountainous, rising to Mt Hue (619m), Mt Pahia (661m) and Mt Otemanu (727m). The main island stretches for about 9km from north to south and is about 4km in width at the widest point. A 32km road runs around the coast. A wide, sheltered and navigable lagoon encircles the island, with sandy motu (islets) edging most of the outer reef. The Teavanui Pass on Bora Bora’s western side is the only pass into the lagoon.
Vaitape is the main town, but Matira Point is the most developed spot. The quay for inter-island ships is at Farepiti, between Vaitape and Faanui. The airport is on Motu Mute at the northern extremity of the outer reef edge.
Tahitian, French, English
Weights & Measures
Everyone needs a passport to visit French Polynesia. The regulations are much the same as for France: if you need a visa to visit France then you’ll need one to visit French Polynesia. Anyone from an EU country can stay for up to three months without a visa, as can Australians and citizens of a number of other European countries, including Switzerland.
Citizens of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the USA and some other European countries are able to stay for up to one month without a visa. Other nationalities need a visa, which can be applied for at French Embassies. Apart from permanent residents and French citizens, all visitors to French Polynesia need to have an onward or return ticket.
It’s possible to extend a month-long visa exemption for two more months. Tahiti’s Immigration Department states it’s best to get an extended visa at a French Embassy before arrival try at the Police aux Frontières (Frontier Police; [tel] 42 40 74; email@example.com; [hrs] airport office 8am-noon & 2-5pm Mon-Fri, Pape’ete office 7.30am-noon & 2-5pm Mon-Fri), at Faa’a airport and next to the Manava visitors information centre in Pape’ete, at least one week before the visa or exemption expires.
An extension costs 3500 CFP. Stays by foreign visitors may not exceed three months. For longer periods, you must apply to the French consular authorities in your own country for a residence permit; you cannot lodge your application from French Polynesia unless you have a sponsor or get married.
The duty-free allowance for visitors entering French Polynesia includes 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 2L of spirits or wine, two cameras and 10 rolls of unexposed film, one video camera and 50mL of perfume. No live animals can be imported (if they’re on a yacht they must stay on board) and certification is required for plants.
The opening hours for banks vary from branch to branch but are typically from 8am to noon and 1.30pm to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 8am to noon and 1pm to 3p|m on Friday. Shops and offices normally open around 7.30am, close for lunch from 11.30am to 1.30pm and shut around 5pm, Monday to Friday.
On Saturday, shops are typically open between 7.30am and 11.30am; almost everything (except a few grocery stores and boutiques on the more touristy islands) is closed on Sunday. Restaurant hours vary according to the type of food served and the clientele. Most places open around 10.30am, however, and stay open until about 11pm.
European plug with two circular metal pins