Bora Bora, a paradise on earth, the island of the gods, a land of abundance set in spectacular, mystical, magical scenery in the world’s most beautiful lagoon.
There are some wonderful adventures for visitors to be had on Bora Bora by jet-ski or boat, picnicking on a deserted motu (islet), diving with manta rays or lemon sharks, and feeding sting-rays as they literally swim all over you.
Locals like to take it easy, chilling out in their favorite spots and motu-hopping around paradise.
- The ultimate way to see why Bora Bora is paradise on earth
- Understand why Bora Bora is world-renowned as the most beautiful island on earth
- See how many Tahitians still live their ancient Polynesian customs on stunningly beautiful motus.
- Eat & drink from the abundance nature offers
- A culturally enriching experience
- Swim in the most beautiful spots known; swim with stingrays, leopard rays, manta rays & reef sharks, dive with huge lemon sharks; visit people & places you’d not otherwise see.
- Covers Motu’s more in-depth to learn about where to stay
Bora Bora’s most famous motu is Motu Tapu, the sacred island, to the right as you enter Teavanui Pass & the most photographed isle in the South Pacific. Its a great spot to kick back, wondering what it’s like back in the office!
The BBQ above features parrot fish caught moments before in the lagoon being cooked on coral. It’s an excellent medium on which to cook as it holds a regular heat ideal for cooking fish, seeing the fish rarely burnt.
The leaves of the tau bush, a medicinal plant for Tahitians & which grows liberally on the beach, are often placed over food to avoid burning or surfaces sticking. It performs the job excellently.
On the opposite side of the pass is Motu Ahuna, behind which lies Motu Tevairoa, a large island where there’s a project for a golf course. When Cpt Cook first set step on Bora Bora, he came in search of an anchor abandoned by Admiral Louis-Antoine de Bougainville. Cook would recover the anchor on Motu Tevairoa in exchange for nails and other trinkets.
We would stop not for an anchor but for Maa Tahiti — the famous Tahitian food of feasts cooked in a himaa (ground oven) and accompanied by much music & plenty to wash it down! Here’s what awaits you.
It has to be top of the list for a site to be considered for a 19th hole!
Motu Tevairoa is also home to the Pearl Beach Resort & grows vegetables & wonderful watermelons in her interior.
Here’s a shot of the Pearl Beach Resort forming a backdrop to local farmers taking long cuttings of aito (‘iron tree’) back to the main island to be used as supports for growing long beans.
Outside the reef, which forms a break for the motus from crashing seas, is a great spot to fish. Here’s a shot from behind Motu Tevairoa looking back across Motu Ahuna to Mt Otemanu as we continue sailing around Bora Bora:
A little further on, still outside the reef, a shot of a motu owned by the famous french ethnologist & explorer Paul-Emile Victor who lived on the motus of Bora Bora prior to his death in 1995:
The motus cluster along beautiful white sands & blue waters of every shade out towards Motu Mute, where the airport is situated & seen here behind the world’s most stunning mega-boat, simply called “A” – now that’s the way to see the motus!
The “A” reputedly named after the first initial of its Russian owners Andrey & Aleksandra Milnichenko cost over $ 300 million to build. Entry to the 117m long boat with 44mm thick bomb proof windows is by biometric fingerprinting.
Apparently only 4 people have such access to the 230sqm bomb proof master suite. Powered by 24,000hp the boat is capable of 25knots & its design sees it leaving almost no wake. It has 3 swimming pools one with a glass-bottom from which the under-deck disco can be viewed.
A full – 750,000l – tank will take you 6,500 nautical miles (12,000kms). Add 3 tenders each costing over $ 1 million & its just the boat one needs for a motu hop!
On the other side of Motu Mute, a string of virtually conjoined motus on which are built some of the world’s leading hotels with their overwater bungalows for the world’s jet-set. Even in times of recession, bungalows here can cost up to $10,000 (single!) per night!
In between the St Regis Resort & the Meredien Hotel lies an area of great beauty rich in history & formed by a number of interjoined motus. Tourists often visit the area to see the highly regarded Lagoonarium situated on a private motu alongside the Meredien Hotel.
Closer to the St Regis, on a most inviting privately owned sanded headland, can be found a building built in 2009 for the filming of “Couple’s Retreat”. The spot offers absolutely breathtaking views back over Mt Otemanu. Its a great place to chill out, or why not hold a party, why not!
To one side of the headland back along the reef-edge can be found Apoo Mao (the shark hole). For centuries large sharks have been able to enter the lagoon here from the outside seas via a huge tunnel in the reef.
The sharks would enter particularly in times of storms which increased their chances of finding dislodged or disorientated prey where the sea swells would see waves breaking right across the reef. The hole is particularly large & deep & makes for an excellent place to swim.
’Oh yer’, I hear you say, ‘with all those sharks lurking just nearby’:
Fear not, for around 30 years now the tunnel has gradually been covered in by coral. Legend holds the tunnel was linked to Apoo Mao Tamauii, the shark hole off the Marae Marotetini sadly covered in during works on Farepiti Wharf.
Continue on past the Intercontinental Resort & Thalasso to a section of Motu Pitiauu packed with points of interest. On the seaside, there a surf spot, a right, one of only 2 places you can surf on Bora Bora (the other is at Teavanui Pass). Great views of Tahaa & Raiatea are on offer:
In the motu’s interior are large plantations of tiare and pandanus. The tiare flowers, with their exceptional aroma, are used in perfumes & particularly in the production of the famous Tahitian Monoi.
The pandanus is grown for roofing & is used extensively by all luxury hotels. It can last up to 15 years before needing to be replaced:
There is some quite charming, character-filled housing along the lagoon side here. Who could not dream of passing just a little time here:
Locals ready themselves for Sunday’s Maa Tahiti by fabricating serving & dining plates as well as serving baskets from which food is brought from the himaa (in-ground oven). Each set made from coconut tree leaves takes only minutes for the experts to complete.
Motu Pitiauu makes its final emphatic statement of beauty in overlooking Point Matira on a finger of white sand only dreams are made of. It overlooks the most beautiful of turquoise waters offering an ever-revolving display of the world’s most beautiful blues.
A spot previously reserved for privileged clients of Club Med where the peace & tranquillity is broken only for the occasional full moon party.
This is truly paradise and one could stay here for years. I’m heading home for sunset.
Go for it and find your own piece of paradise motu hopping in Bora Bora!
- Have a Tahitian with you to guide you through what you are about to experience. They can explain the culture, the lagoon & its inhabitants, the legends of the mountains, the Polynesian savoir fair (know how), the ma’a (food) its preparation & enjoyment, the joy, fun & laughter, the singing & dancing.
- You can rent a 6hp (no license needed) run-about next door, Matira side, to the Sofitel Marara Hotel.