Bora Bora, an island of French Polynesia, is located in the Pacific Ocean, about 260 km northwest of Tahiti (less than an hour’s flight). The island was discovered in 1722, and its ancient name Vavau suggests that the original inhabitants of this seven-million-year-old island arrived from Tonga, an archipelago in the South Pacific. The original name of this island is Pora Pora, which means “first birth”, because there is no “B” sound in the local Tahitian language.
Perfectly white sandy beaches are lapped by emerald blue water. The main island and several smaller islands of Bora Bora, of volcanic origin, are completely surrounded by a coral reef, where fish of all colors decorate the coral gardens, welcoming huge manta rays.
The official language in Tahiti is French, but many locals speak Tahitian. With only 13 letters and 1,000 words, Tahitian may seem an easy language to learn; and whilst you’re sure to pick up a few words during your visit, the slight variations in spelling and the fact that the same word can be used in many contexts means that this beautiful language is deceptively difficult.
If you’re on a holiday to Bora Bora, we recommend learning a few phrases before you go to impress the local people – once there, make sure to head into Vaitape, the island’s largest town, where you can practice your Tahitian linguistic skills! Don’t worry if you didn’t have time to learn the language; Conrad Bora Bora Nui offers Tahitian language classes.
The castle-like Mount Otemanu breaks the sky, and the seductive tropical slopes and valleys are covered with hibiscus flowers. Palm frond-covered Motu bungalows surround the sparkling lagoon.
We’ve all heard of the Pacific Ring of Fire, and whilst people commonly think of the dramatic volcanic activity of Hawaii, French Polynesia‘s unique landscape has also been formed by the bubbling of molten lava beneath the Earth’s crust.
Bora Bora is actually what remains of the caldera of an extinct volcano that erupted 3 to 4 million years ago. This unique geography is best admired when arriving by plane and consists of a ring of small islands along what used to be the rim of the volcano. Bora Bora’s volcanic history has been disguised by the lush, tropical flora that covers its dramatic peaks – it’s easy to see why Bora Bora is likened to the Garden of Eden!
Bora Bora really is a natural paradise, and this is reflected in the products available on the island. Known for producing black pearls, Bora Bora’s pearls are extremely rare and very beautiful. They’re also very expensive – a necklace made of black pearls can cost up to $50,000. If you’re looking to shop for these precious stones, you can visit the bustling Papeete Market whilst staying at Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts, purchasing some exotic souvenirs as a token of your French Polynesia holiday.
Feeling thirsty? The main product of the Bora Bora is coconuts, so you can expect to drink plenty of cool and refreshing coconut water during your visit. During many events and excursions, guests are taught how to open a coconut with no tools, including in Conrad Bora Bora Nui’s “How to Open a Coconut” cultural activity.
Although one of the most remote locations in the world, Bora Bora did not escape the conflict of World War II in the 20th century. During World War II, the United States used Bora Bora as a military supply base. History buffs can still visit the “Bora Bora Guns” – seven giant guns that served as a military defense against the Japanese.
Being smack dab in the middle of the Pacific certainly has its perks. Beneath the waves on Bora Bora are cities ablaze with life and coral reefs that display brightly colored fish and circling reef sharks. Whether you are an avid diver or a beginner, you can put on your fins and dive and discover this underwater paradise.