8 Things You Need to See and Do in Bora Bora
From overwater bungalows and turquoise lagoons to scuba diving and lush palm trees, Bora Bora is the epitome of a tropical island paradise. Located northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia, this South Pacific island is a popular luxury resort destination for honeymooners, families, and solo travelers that want sunshine, surf, and sand.
From dining with sharks to relaxing massages at world-class spa resorts, we’ve highlighted places and activities that you won’t want to miss during your next visit to Bora Bora.
1. Go on a Fragrance Journey at Coqui Coqui Perfumeria
Inspired by Polynesian fruits, flowers, woods, and herbs, French perfumer Nicole Malleville of Coqui Coqui has begun a new chapter on the island of Bora Bora. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and located directly across the street from Matira Beach, the new Coqui Coqui boutique in Bora Bora sells everything from fragrances and beach wares to traditional Polynesian handcrafts. If you’re looking to shop the entire Coqui Coqui collection, they have everything you could ever dream of.
If you call the boutique, they will provide transportation to and from the main pier in Vaitape, and you just might be lucky enough to be picked up by Malleville himself in the Coqui Coqui Land Rover. The boutique is also attached to Le Petit Spa Matira by One Soul Spa, which incorporates Coqui Coqui products into its treatments—perfect for when you need to relax after shopping.
2. Indulge in an Outdoor Bath at Le Petit Spa Matira by One Soul Spa
Directly connected to Coqui Coqui Bora Bora, Le Petit Spa Matira by One Soul Spa offers a menu of relaxing spa treatments in an intimate yet beautiful space. Featuring a holistic approach, the spa includes a massage room and a Zen garden with an open-air bathtub. Coqui Coqui scents are used along with natural ingredients in the treatments, and guests have the opportunity to personalize their spa service by selecting from different fragrances from Coqui Coqui’s Polynesia Collection.
Treatments to try include the Polynesian Shell Massage, Sweet & Salty Coconut & Flowers Bath, and the signature Earth Ritual—which consists of a bath, massage, and foot reflexology.
For more information and to book a treatment, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Have Dinner at La Villa Mahana
Perhaps the most romantic restaurant on Bora Bora, La Villa Mahana is an intimate restaurant located inside a charming villa. Open since 2004, it is owned by French chef Damien Rinaldo-Dovio, whose cuisine features a blend of French and Polynesian influence. There are prix fix menus that included wine and champagne pairings, and among the tasty options are Mahi Mahi, beef tenderloin, Banana Flambee with Tahitian vanilla ice cream, and more. Seating is limited due to there only being a few tables, which lends to the cozy and private dining experience, so be sure to make reservations in advance.
4. Get a Massage in the Fare Miti Suite at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
For a once-in-a-lifetime spa experience, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora offers the ultimate luxurious setting with its Fare Miti Suite. The private overwater villa has an expansive private deck with a tub, an outdoor shower and bathroom, and features stunning views of the lagoon and Mount Otemanu.
The Suite also has a very unique feature: treatment beds situated directly above glass panels that offer views of the colorful fish swimming in the lagoon below—it’s an experience you’ll remember forever. I highly recommend trying their popular Pareo Massage, which was developed by the spa’s team of massage therapists, and combines oil massage and body stretching using a traditional Tahitian pareo for premium relaxation.
5. Have Sunset Cocktails & Dine With Sharks at Lagoon Restaurant by Jean-Georges at The St. Regis Resort Bora Bora
Suspended over water and offering some of the best views of Mount Otemanu, Lagoon Restaurant by Jean-Georges is The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort’s exclusive signature restaurant. Considered one of the island’s top dining experiences, it features an innovative Asian and French-fusion menu created by three Michelin Star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Start your evening with sunset cocktails on the outside deck, then feast on an array of fresh fish and other locally-sourced ingredients while viewing black-tip sharks swim under long glass panels below.
Visit the website for The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort here.
6. Swim in the Lagoonarium and Enjoy an Outdoor Massage at St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
One of the highlights at The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is its world-class spa, which is located on its own private island in the resort’s lagoonarium, a protected underwater sanctuary for various fish and coral. Resort guests can spend the day relaxing on a comfy lounger next to the lagoonarium and go for a leisurely swim or snorkel session in its clear waters.
The 13,000 square-foot spa also offers an extensive menu of Polynesian, Asian, and Clarins Touch treatments, and has an open-air cabana where guests can receive an outdoor massage while enjoying premium views of Mount Otemanu and the surrounding lagoon. It’s the perfect opportunity to become one with nature while rejuvenating the mind, body, and soul.
Visit the website for The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort here.
7. Go Shopping in Vaitape
Vaitape is the main town on Bora Bora and is a popular local destination for shopping and dining. Accessible from the off-island resorts via boat or by shuttle bus or taxi from other parts of the island, Vaitape consists of several blocks of souvenir and gift shops, art galleries, churches, as well as restaurants and cafes.
Places to Shop:
Tahia Exquisite Tahitian Pearls: The exclusive pearl designer for Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has a boutique on the main island and retails a unique and elegant collection of Tahitian pearls.
Bora Bora I Te Fanau Tahi: Located at the Harbor in the main square, this is the least expensive place on the island to shop for straw hats, pareos, and other Polynesian handcrafted items made by local artisans.
Bora Bora Home: Close to the post office on the main road, this air-conditioned gallery sells high-quality woodcarvings and stone carvings, along with quilts, pottery, tapa cloth, and paintings by local artists.
8. See Mount Otemanu
Visible from all sides of the island (and from resorts on neighboring atolls), Mount Otemanu is one of the island’s most impressive and mesmerizing sights. It soars up the center of the island and is made from the remnants of a former volcano. There are many ways to see this beautiful landmark up close, from embarking on a sightseeing boat tour of the island to hiking in the foothills or enjoying an aerial tour via helicopter. While it’s not possible to climb Mount Otemanu, one can hike up nearby Mount Pahia for stunning views and a closer look.
[Photos by Kamala Kirk]
Kamala Kirk is a University of Southern California graduate and has been an editor/writer for more than a decade. She has written for E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and many more. She resides in Los Angeles and is a proud pug mom. Follow her on Instagram: @kamalakirk