- Today the best of our trip…We go to Bora Bora Island!!
- Sunrise in Bora Bora Island… our first Overwater experience!
- Far niente in our Overwater bungalow!!
- An unforgettable day of snorkeling with sharks in Bora Bora Island
- Today we say goodbye to Bora Bora Island and return to Tahiti
The postcards do not give enough credits to this paradise, French Polynesia is beautiful, and its Bora Bora Island is its icon, and with good reason, this place is a true paradise, a set of colors, traditions and emotions that we have not seen nor meaning anywhere else in the world. This place really is unique!
Today the best of our trip…We go to Bora Bora Island!!
Before making this trip we saw countless photos and videos of French Polynesia. But being here is another thing, no camera can capture it, no image gives justice to this place. That is what happens 100% with Bora Bora Island. Everyone who has known her tells you that she is beautiful, the photos confirm it, but seeing her for real, being there is totally separate, you have to experience it to understand it. And today would be our moment!
Today we get up early, as usual, our morning passes like the previous one. The good thing about getting up early is that you enjoy the day to the fullest. Before doing our check-out at 11 am, we have time to eat, feed our friends the fish, and snorkel (always better to do it in the morning when the water is more crystal clear and calm).
The excitement begins to invade us, at the same time we have a certain fear of not being able to enjoy Bora Bora Island to the fullest because the weather forecast is not very optimistic. But we are loaded with positivity and say that we will enjoy it even if it is in the rain.
The forecast has been changing and we think that with a little luck we will have a good time. The best way to follow the changing weather in French Polynesia is the meteoblue website. Normally it is in French, but they have worked in an English version recently.
At 11 am we are in the lobby ready to be transferred to the Moorea airport. They come for us and in no time we are at the airport. Checking, baggage registration, and others take place in a few minutes. We have time to consume and the airport is tiny, there is not much to do except wait patiently. There are two souvenir shops and nothing else. We don’t want to get too far from the boarding gate because we absolutely want to take the seats on the left, as we have read everywhere so that we can fully admire the entire Bora Bora Island as we approach land.
We took off and except that at one time or another we managed to spot an island. The sky is really overcast. However, when they tell us to prepare because we are approaching Bora Bora Island, the sky clears a bit and as soon as the plane turns to the right, there we see it on our left, like a dream, the central relief, the lagoon, the different colors, the overwater bungalows. We seem to dream, we film, take photos, all at the same time.
After a sunny morning, the weather begins to fill in. At that moment the plane arrives that will unload passengers and that we will take to go to Bora Bora. Without problems, we take our seats to the left. We hope to see something, the weather is increasingly cloudy.
We landed, and I’m dying to see the lagoon up close. The time is not for partying but it has its clear points, I don’t care anyway…. we are in Bora Bora Island!!!. There is a lot of wind and that is a good sign for the clouds to leave. Despite the wind that distracts us from our landing, we can see the lagoon in the background and the color of the water is amazing.
I want to enjoy every second. The Bora Bora Island airport is located on a motu and each hotel organizes its transfer by boat. For those who stay on the main island, there is a boat that is included with the purchase of the plane ticket.
We go to the stand of our hotel and a boy places us our flower necklaces and gives us a bottle of water. They tell us to retrieve our suitcases, deliver them to the hotel staff, and then look for the dock where our ship is. There is a bit of confusion between all the ships from the different hotels.
We have already delivered our bags and are going to look for our boat. I just hope it’s pretty. The boat of the Four Season is amazing. On the dock at the back, we find our boat; not bad, not bad, very nice. We are with a group of six scandalous folklorists who follow us from the lobby in Moorea and a couple who look like newlyweds.
We leave, uuuuff what a thrill !!… a pity that the top of Mount Otemanu is covered by clouds. I tell myself that he wants to reveal himself later and is interesting. We are already enjoying the colors of the water despite the cloudy weather. The water is so impressive that even with the weather covered it gives indescribable colors, the luminosity is strange. Sometimes it gives the impression of sailing in a swimming pool.
We go through the Bora Bora Four Season and then the Bora Bora St Regis, we will stay at the Meridien Bora Bora which is right next to St Regis. When we arrive at the hotel they await us with ukulele music. One person is in charge of each group or pair. The girl who welcomes the two of us even apologizes for the bad weather and tells us not to worry that it changes very quickly, let’s hope it gets fixed… we hope the same too.
They take us to a reception area, where they give us a cocktail and give us the form to fill in with our data. They tell us to wait a bit and after a few minutes, someone arrives who gives us our key and asks to follow it. We don’t have our suitcases for all of these, we don’t see them from the airport.
Tonight we will have dinner at the hotel’s main restaurant, Le Tipanier. In the end, it will not be anything spectacular, it will be our only time at that restaurant. It is possible to go to the main island but since the hotel is on a motu it takes around 30 minutes to just go.
The trip is not free and costs around € 22 per person, round trip. It should be calculated that this amount must already be added to dinner. It is possible to eat at the sister hotel St Regis, the transfer is free, but it must be booked well in advance as some restaurants are small and the St Regis is quite large. At the time we went it is not necessary to book at the Meridien for some restaurants, but I think they do require it in high season.
The prices at St Regis are slightly higher than at the Meridien Bora Bora, but since the boat is free, it seems to us that in the end, the account pays off. You cannot go to French Polynesia thinking about the prices of the dishes and comparing them to the prices in Europe or anywhere else. Polynesia is totally isolated and most things are imported, and nothing but nothing is close, except New Zealand and this is already 5 hours away by plane. On the other hand, the dishes are quite copious, which allows you to have a single dish if you want to limit spending without starving.
After dinner and walking around the complex at night, we return to our bungalow. Honestly, everything is fantastic and just as we imagined it. We will sleep like dear babies !!
Sunrise in Bora Bora Island… our first Overwater experience!
This morning has given us better weather. I never tire of seeing the Otemanu Mountain, it varies with the time, with the light, it has so many facets that it asks you to see it all the time. As soon as I wake up I go to the terrace, the weather is fantastic, I sit down to admire the landscape and preserve the moment.
When my husband wakes up, he sits with me for a while to do the same, to contemplate the view. Then we go to get dressed and go to the breakfast room. It’s not yet 6:30, the time they serve it, but they let us sit down.
There are some chairs near the windows that face the pool that are decorated with flowers, I do not hesitate to settle in one of these tables. It seemed so special to me. We read a lot about the little or bad service in French Polynesia, the truth is we always had a very good service, and they listened to us more than in any hotel we have known. The secret ?, Try to say a few things in French for those who do not speak it and be interested in the person who is serving you.
We go around the buffet to see what there is, it is huge and very varied. I am deciding. There is also a hot food area. In short, a breakfast of kings. Traditional French Polynesian music in the background makes for the perfect relaxing moment. We can now start serving ourselves and we enjoy our breakfast with great pleasure. While waiting, I take the opportunity to talk to the lady with the pancakes, she tells me that it has rained very little on the island, and that the vegetation is beginning to suffer, that they hope it will rain soon.
The weather for Bora Bora this year forecasts less rain than normal due to the El Niño phenomenon, and then probably a cyclone for which many were already preparing. When you talk to local people you realize how they live at the rhythm of nature and that any change in climate affects them much more than we do on a large continent.
Visit of the Turtle Clinic of Le Meridien Bora Bora
Today we will change rooms and go to an overwater bungalow, we wonder which one will touch us, and what it will be like to sleep on the water. We organize that we will enjoy the private beach of our room until check-out time from the beach bungalow and then we will go to the sea turtle feeding session. This hotel has a turtle clinic and that is one of the reasons we chose it.
The center allows you to feed the turtles that are in treatment. There are turtles of all sizes. There are about fifteen in the clinic and a couple in the pond with the fishes. There they prepare them before releasing them into the ocean.
There is a short conference about turtle life, the protection of this species. After that, you go to the clinic for feeding the turtles; before they explain to you how to do it safely. It’s a really nice activity and you can do it every day if you want, it’s totally free.
Our overwater bungalow in Bora Bora Island
After the turtles, we go to the reception to inform us about our change of bungalow. We wait a bit and finally they give us the key. They take us in a golf cart to the bungalow and show it to us. At first, it’s not like the beach bungalow, honestly, the first one was ten times better.
When we see all the details there are things that do not go, and we decide to go to the reception. We wait a moment and a person in charge comes to talk to us, is absent again, and says that he has a solution, that he will show us another bungalow and see if it suits us. It is in the other wing when we enter it is already much, much better than the other, and we will find the cherry on the cake on the terrace, we can see the Otemanu, fantastic.
While they were preparing our new bungalow, the manager invited us both to enjoy a cocktail at the bar. As I said, we cannot complain about the service at all, they have always sought to satisfy us and solve any problem that we expose, it was the same thing in Moorea and in Bora Bora. Of course, we always claim everything very calmly and politely, and we find a satisfactory answer to our requests. We think that traveling in low season is an advantage, because the hotels are not full and allow room changes. If the hotel had been full, the chances of change would probably be reduced.
Tonight our dinner is at Restaurant St James on the main island. The reservation is arranged with the hotel concierge. We booked the boat for the main island as well. The restaurant takes care of picking you up at the dock and taking you back. When you get to the dock and all the restaurant transfers are waiting for the customers who have reserved.
During the night, fortunately when we were already settled to sleep, a kind of storm broke out, the long-awaited rain arrived. And accompanied by a lot of wind. I think we tested the resistance of the overwater :). It feels like it moves a bit in strong waves and wind, but very slightly, they explained to us that they are made not to put up hard resistance to this movement, and a slight movement was likely to be felt. But it is not that you feel that you are going on a boat as some tourists wrote in opinions on tripadvisor.
Just before it started to rain we saw some huge fish under the overwater. We thought we would see nothing and there they were under our feet.
Far niente in our Overwater bungalow!!
The weather is on our side, today there must have been bad weather all day, and it has dawned very well. There is wind, but we prefer the wind to the rain. And whenever there is wind, it is an omen of a clear sky. In addition, the wind is warm, it does not bother to bathe, and here the water is always at the ideal temperature.
We spend the day enjoying our terrace in the overwater and the warm waters that surround us. We also went snorkelling in the central lagoon, and to play petanque.
We opened a good bottle of wine that traveled with us and a duck pate. Good tasting moment in front of the wonderful colors of Bora Bora Island. The bungalows at the Meridien Bora Bora have an Ipod station, we knew this and we had brought music to decorate these special moments. Once again television was just for decoration and we didn’t even want to find out that the rest of the world existed.
Today is Sunday and these days the hotel organizes a barbecue in the restaurant on the beach. We decided to book for dinner and it turned out to be a good idea. You eat in a restaurant with your feet in the sand that allows you to enjoy the scenery. Two musicians liven up the dinner with traditional music, simply great.
Back in the overwater there is activity under our feet, again the huge fish are there, we call them tunas because they resemble them. We saw these fish early in the morning and they are a spectacular electric blue. We realize that it comes under the overwater to eat, because the columns are full of corals that house small fish. Then we see a couple of stripes go by. We tell ourselves that tonight there is movement under the overwater.
An unforgettable day of snorkeling with sharks in Bora Bora Island
Today we have an excursion that lasts all day. In theory it is the same as we did in Moorea but we really have no idea what awaited us: an unforgettable day full of emotions. The weather is on our side, the day dawned sunny and clear.
We have the excursion with Raanui Tours, they should have arrived at 8:30 am and all the boats are arriving for their clients except the famous Raanui tours. We try to call the concierge from the pier so that they can inform them if they have forgotten us. We were unable to speak to the concierge and we are hoping for something else.
Someone from the reception arrives at the dock and comes to tell us that our guide is late because the owner had a problem with the boat and that he will arrive in about 20 minutes. Telling us that the weather in French Polynesia is relative. In the end it comes about 40 minutes later. This delay allowed us to arrive at each place always after the boats of other organizers and thus enjoy each place alone.
Our ship comes to the end, there are only 6 of us, a very nice Chinese couple (within what we were able to communicate with them) and another couple whose voice we never heard and who always went about their business.
The boat left from the left side of the hotel, passing in front of the intercontinental spa, we passed Matira Beach and headed to the Bora Bora Coral Garden, a great place. I wish I had been there longer. I could use all the adjectives to describe this experience, spectacular, colorful, sensational, but it would all fall short with the feeling you have when you put your head there and see as if you were in a gigantic aquarium, or in a documentary on marine life.
There is an excursion that we did not take and that we had among the initial options, and that we will do a next time. It’s called Pure Snorkeling and they take you to all the snorkeling spots in Bora Bora Island, after seeing the coral garden, we think that you absolutely must snorkel on this island.
These excursions are good to take with meals. They are super good and copious, and they save you from eating that day in one of the most expensive restaurants in French Polynesia. Also, nothing like eating on the beach and well home.
After the coral garden, we went to the barrier to see sharks and rays. Before we took several laps in the Lagoon of Bora Bora in a part where the blue is super deep, this lagoon must undoubtedly be one of the most beautiful in French Polynesia. We did not understand why we were going around, we asked Leo, the guide, and he replied that he was looking for a white shark that they had seen a few days ago … uuhm ok !! … we never found it. The part where we were was very close to an inlet of the ocean in the Lagoon, probably why they are there.
We got to the barrier and almost all the other boats were going back, we enjoyed the sharks and rays totally alone, it was awesome. Here it is not like in Moorea that you swim with them, besides the current is quite strong. You must be behind a rope while the guide feeds them. It’s to protect the coral and prevent everyone from touching and stepping where they shouldn’t. We imagine that there is a safety issue as well, just for avoiding a shark makes a mistake and think that a tourist’s finger could be a piece of octopus.
After the Lagoon sharks, came the most special experience we have had in French Polynesia, swimming off the coral reef, with lemon sharks. Just behind the barrier, the depth increases dramatically, but the waters remain extremely crystal clear allowing for exceptional visibility. Blue is unique, we have only seen it in the Pacific.
When you dive in, a tide of black fishes with an electric blue line surrounds you and in the distant bottom, maybe 10 meters away, you see huge sharks swimming peacefully. The emotion invades you, in front of that natural show. Little by little the sharks begin to go up because the guides feed them, and they pass near you, a few inches below your feet. At this moment, I was a little scared. I tried to stay calm, lest a sudden movement dislikes them.
At that time, the guides who enjoy that close relationship with the sea and the work they do, swim with extreme ease and seems to know every movement of the animals. They approach them with such confidence, they touch them and they tell you how to touch them. Everything seems possible.
After this fantastic experience outside the barrier reef, they took us to a small motu for food. The couple who never talk to each other will not stay to eat. They have taken what they call the half-day tour that does not include food. We and the Chinese have the full day. The food is amazing, grilled fish and meat, salad, rice. Pineapples for dessert. All very fresh and in colossal quantities. I have not gotten to eat all the meat. The drink is also included, juices, beer, and water. After lunch, you can take a walk around the motu, enjoy the fine white sand. This little island is a little paradise.
After this super awesome day, we return to our hotel, we arrive from the other side. Today we have made a complete tour of the Lagoon. Back at our bungalow, we still want a dip, and the day is perfect and the water is calm and with extraordinary colors. Then, a break on our terrace allows us to take stock of the day, and send photos to our families.
Tonight we will have dinner at the St Regis Lagoon restaurant, we had reserved it the day before. We wanted to eat at the Japanese restaurant the day before but it was already full. The Lagoon is a perfect restaurant for our last night in Bora Bora. The restaurant itself is a show, much of the floor is made of glass, and it is on a Lagoonarium, you can see fish and sharks swimming while you eat. We recommend going earlier than 6 because watching the sunset from the restaurant is really beautiful.
The budget is somewhat high, count at least € 150 for a dinner for two, but the quality and service are excellent. We wanted to give ourselves this gift to say goodbye to Bora Bora and it was a success. Villa Mahana is also famous, but we counted that we should add the € 50 of the boat, and we prefer to use that amount during dinner. But as I always say, it is a matter of taste and budget!
Today we say goodbye to Bora Bora Island and return to Tahiti
Our plane back to Tahiti is at 5:00 p.m. we still have plenty of time to enjoy Bora Bora before heading back to Tahiti. These last 10 days have been intense.
As always, we wake up very early, today earlier than usual, perhaps unconsciously we want to enjoy the day even more. I have time to go to the terrace and watch the sunrise. I take advantage of taking some photos and I see how the light that is reflected on the bungalows is changing. This time is perfect for taking photos. My husband joins me on the terrace and we enjoy those unique moments.
After breakfast we return to the bungalow, we want to enjoy the water from our terrace. At that moment we see a pirogue approaching, it was breakfast for one of the bungalows, we realized that we wanted to have breakfast like this and we had totally forgotten. You must pay a small additional fee to have breakfast delivered like this, but it can be a beautiful experience, especially if you are on your honeymoon.
We have the check-out at 11h00, we do not have to take care of the bags, everything is done by the hotel. They keep them in a deposit, and there is an area where you can change and take a shower if you still want to enjoy the beach. That’s what we did, we checked out, went to the souvenir shop and then to the beach. We enjoyed the most until it was time to take the boat to the airport. When we waited for the boat the weather that was radiant and spectacular began to cover, it was as if Bora Bora Island was sad like us.
Now we had to be close to the boarding gate to be able to position ourselves on the right, and have a view of the island when we took off. We did it and we positioned ourselves so that we could see everything. Again the weather was not wonderful. We were definitely not meant to see Bora Bora clear from the air. We cannot complain about the weather we had, just one afternoon it rained, and in Moorea only a moment when we were on the motu during the tour.
During the return to Tahiti the flight was clearer, we managed to see Tahaa and Raiatea. The latter is huge, and you can see some fantastic coastlines. You have to put it on the list of the next places to visit.