French Polynesia as a destination is a dream, but within the dream, there is the peak, which is always Bora Bora. There are divided opinions about this island, but I think that the reasons for its worldwide fame will always be found.
Bora Bora is an island for all tastes, although I have read some blogs that denigrate this island, I think that they have not known it properly. Some say that it is too touristy, that there is nothing natural about it, that everything is assembled, and artificial. Wow !! These are comments to be analyzed, because although it is one of the islands where I think the largest number of hotels and guesthouses in all of Polynesia are concentrated, that does not detract from the beauty of the place. It is far from being a touristy place like some massive beach destinations in the Caribbean can be. Even the most exclusive ones.
In Bora Bora you can find a simple apartment or pension, on the main island, or enjoy what gives this place its stamp, its medium and high luxury hotels in the motus that surround the island.
Bora Bora Luxury Hotels
I think it is one of the few places in Polynesia where luxury is affordable, within what this word can encompass in this region of the planet. Affordable because luxury hotels can still be paid, when compared to The Brando on the private island of Tetiaroa that are already for very high income categories.
You also have to know that all the 5 stars on the island are not worth the same, and I’m not just talking about price. And you must be careful when choosing, because a price that seems good in the end does not meet expectations and can end up looking very, very high. That is why I think that knowing a good part of Bora Bora hotels, I would choose this selection:
As I said before, if you want to live the dream of traveling to Bora Bora, and live what appears on the wallpapers and postcards, you should choose one of these hotels. If you go on another plan, there are several options on the main island and other simpler options on some motu. But if you are not willing to sacrifice comfort, you cannot opt for these and then feel robbed. You must always remember that you are visiting islands in the middle of the Pacific and that they have little or nothing nearby.
I think that Bora Bora is going to enjoy an exclusivity that would cost very, very expensive elsewhere. There are those who criticize the destination, because they consider it unnatural, obviously if instead of making an excursion to what they call the coral garden, you go on an excursion to the Lagunarium, you have committed the worst of sins, you have done the worst of the elections. Because the Lagoonarium has a reason for being, and incidentally it is a place to visit, but I would not include it in my bucket list.
What to do in Bora Bora?
You have to know that this island is the one that I think offers more activities of all kinds, and where prices can be excessive. In large groups, in small groups, in private, as a couple. Well, start eliminating that of large groups, because they will end up frustrated and will not enjoy. At almost the same price you will find excursions with smaller groups, with better guides and you will appreciate the place much more.
As expected, most of the activities are aquatic: snorkeling, diving, scuba diving, underwater motorcycle, jet ski, boat trips, catamaran … The rest will be intimately linked to the main reason why it is travel to Bora Bora: honeymoons; So there are plenty of options to organize dinners or lunches on a motu, catamaran tour with a photoshoot included, traditional weddings, and stop counting.
I will talk later about our choice of excursions.
Our second trip to Bora Bora
With all this introduction I have only to say that we were delighted with this second visit to Bora, obviously that the accommodation had a great influence. When we arrived they were waiting for us and at that time only we arrived, so we found a large number of personnel, in a huge ship, all for us, very VIP.
Likewise, everything was received for us, they even made us choose between 2 butlers, a service that characterizes the St Regis, and that was very useful. The girl who made us butler gave us the classic tour of the hotel, to explain its facilities. Amount of things available, which means that if you are in a not very long stay, much of the time you will spend to discover what the accommodation offers.
The hotel has a huge Lagoonarium in excellent condition, where you can see lots of fish in complete safety. For the more daring, the surroundings of the overwater also have a large amount of fauna, we even saw the leopard stripes.
Upon entering our bungalow we were really surprised, the size of the living room is impressive. The bed decorated with petals, the bathroom an immensity. A bottle of chilling champagne and a plate of macaroni awaited us on the table. We couldn’t help but shout uooaaaoh when the butler left, and we did it in unison.
We knew that the bungalows were big, but one thing is the photo and another is when you see it. And we were still to discover the next day the terrace and the pool, which in all honesty I enjoyed right away because it was perfect for taking a bath that night.
Our first morning at the Hotel St Regis Bora Bora
Our first morning, it rained very early, while we were still in bed, it was even nice to hear the sound of the water falling. A heavy rain was falling that stopped around 5:30, the time we usually get up.
I went out to the terrace to enjoy the view that I had not had the day before, there was a covered, gray sky, but that did not take away a bit of beauty from that mountain that I dreamed of seeing so much again, the Otemanu. Nor to the water that had an intense turquoise color. There it was as always, imposing, dodging the clouds that passed quickly by its peak and disappeared as if something sucked them into the mountain and something made them emerge unscathed from the other side.
We groom ourselves to go discover breakfast, we wondered how far we were from the restaurant where it was served, and finally we were not that far, a reasonable walk.
The breakfast at the St Regis is really excellent and very complete, the service not to mention. Hot dishes can be ordered from the table, but there are also countless items available on the buffet.
The weather did not start off on a super good foot this day, but it has been fixed. In Polynesia, the weather changes so fast that we don’t worry much about it. Also, the place by itself, even in bad weather, is beautiful. Today it’s time to enjoy the beach and the private pool and take a few laps by bike to get to know the hotel’s huge facilities.
Pure Snorkeling Tour with Reef Discovery
This time we decided to take this excursion that I had studied to do the previous time and we put aside. This excursion is organized by Reef Discovery and covers various parts of the Bora Bora lagoon, promises as a highlight to see the stingrays and that was our main focus since we had already swum with Sharks.
This excursion lasts a little more than half a day, does not include meals, only drinks, first you go to the place where stingrays usually gather, where you have to swim a lot and the depth is great. Then they take you to a couple of snorkeling places, one where there is a depth of about 5 or 6 meters and there are lots of colorful fish, the last place is something they call the coral garden.
To get to the place of sighting of the mantas you have to swim and a lot. The best thing is the experience of going from a shallow depth and moving towards a kind of abyss, with exceptional visibility it is an incredible experience. It feels like experiencing the sensation of flying. We pass through clouds of schools of fish, and then you enter the blue of the lagon, which surrounds everything. Just this experience is great.
So we swim and swim, until another ship from the same company tells us that a couple is down there. I advanced with the guide who helped me with the current, and so suddenly we see that a pair of manta rays appear majestic in the background. Their waltz is elegant, it seems to you in slow motion, but they swim very fast and you have to make the effort to follow them. We approach a kind of coral cliff and there they do us the favor of climbing, and allowing us to see them more closely, and a third appears to complete the show. What more could you want?. Very exciting indeed.
After finishing dancing under the water, behind the blankets, from here to there and from there to here, it is time to swim like crazy again to return to the boat.
Then, once everyone is on board, to sail again to go to another spot to snorkel and see goldfish. It was not like the point they call the coral garden, and that we already knew, apart from the fact that it was Sunday, there was no one else.
This place is quite deep and the water is not easy at all, but as the corals are quite far from the surface you can swim without major inconvenience. There the clouds of fish chase you for food, and it is easy to make good underwater videos and photos. In our day, at that time, the wind had risen and the water was far from being a plate. We did enjoy quite a bit though, and swam until we were tired, and back to the boat for a drink and continued to the last stop, the coral garden.
This last stop that they call the coral garden, is not the same one where we once stopped and called the same. The water is quite shallow and you have to be careful both not to damage the coral and not to hurt yourself with it. There are tiny fish that live in these small corals of all colors. And from time to time bigger fish pass by, but very from time to time.
The excursion ends around 3 o’clock in the afternoon when we are again dropped off at the hotel dock before we went to drop off a couple who were in a hotel before ours. Which allowed us to see a part of the island that we did not know, where the Maitai is. In fact, the beach on this side is less beautiful, the colors are not typical of Bora. What is interesting about this hotel is the proximity to the only beach on the island of Bora Bora, Matira beach.
On the way back from the excursion, we were quite hungry, we took a quick shower and went to eat at the hotel’s beach restaurant. We ate very well and in such a quantity that later we were not even hungry at dinner. After lunch, a walk and a relaxing moment in our pool and private beach. What more could you ask for?
The following days we dedicated to relaxation, enjoying the colors and peace of Bora Bora, we kayaked in the bay in front of the hotel, we rode a bicycle, in short, all those activities that one dedicates to when you are in a vacation spot.
On our last night in Bora Bora before flying back to Tahiti, we ate again at Le Lagoon restaurant, only this time all the tables were located on the pontoon with a view over the illuminated lagoon. Great, with a unique atmosphere and that only Bora can give away, for us it was excellent because it changed the atmosphere we had two years before when we went for the first time. And it was like trying a new restaurant.
On our way back to Tahiti in the late afternoon the next day, we stayed at the Manava hotel, which we were very satisfied with. Super friendly staff and rooms that without being very luxurious fulfill their function perfectly, give a good rest with comfort.
This is how our second trip to French Polynesia ends, which we consider even much better than the first and which leaves us wanting to go for a third. We hope to return soon and perhaps add one more island to our itinerary. Every penny spent on these islands is worth it, we think that whatever we have found on them has enchanted us for the rest of our lives.