Bora Bora Island Information

Bora Bora epitomizes the beauty and grandeur of the French Polynesian Islands. Long considered an exotic vacation destination, the island is often referred to as the ultimate setting for romantic vacations. Spectacular vistas, azure waters, pampered accommodations and an intriguing cultural history are all part of Bora Bora's tropical appeal.

Bora Bora is considered part of the Leeward Islands in the Society Islands of French Polynesia, a series of archipelagos in the South Pacific Ocean. Bora Bora sits approximately 160 miles northwest of Tahiti and 2,600 miles south of Hawaii. It is most commonly reached by plane, and is approximately an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles. Bora Bora is also reachable from Tahiti by plane and ferry.

Bora Bora's unusual geology has been attributed to volcanic eruptions that occurred approximately four million years ago. Evidence of Bora Bora's origins can be seen in the dramatic topography of the island, which includes a lagoon that separates the island and its surrounding coral reef. Researchers believe that the island has been inhabited since 900 A.D., when Polynesian sailors arrived on the small island. According to ancient legends, the island's name, which means "First Born," is a reference to its origin as the first place to have been born from the water.

In 1769 the explorer Captain James Cook created the Leeward Society Islands, which includes Bora Bora. French Polynesia became a territory of France in 1957.

Most of Bora Bora residents are Polynesian and speak Tahitian as their first language. French however, is the official language. Modern Bora Bora culture hales from ancient Polynesian heritage and Christian traditions that were introduced by Catholic missionaries. The missionaries' attempts to Christianize the population had a significant effect on Bora Bora culture, and many of the ancient temples and early traditions have since been lost or forgotten. Still, Polynesian heritage is a strong element of Bora Bora culture and identity, as can be seen in many of the native festivals and dances.

Bora Bora's natural beauty is its most famous quality. The turquoise-blue lagoon, coral reefs and three mountains provide a stunning backdrop, and is a large reason why people travel to Bora Bora. One of the best ways to see Bora Bora's many attractions is to travel the circle island tour, either by car or by boat. Paragliding over the lagoon offers another unique way to experience the island's scenery. Bora Bora's lagoonarium and the Le Meridien Hotel are both worth visiting to get an up-close view of rare and protected marine wildlife.

Unquestionably one of Bora Bora's unique features is its "over-water" bungalows. Air-conditioned bungalows are suspended on stilts over the turquoise-blue waters of the lagoon. The bungalows are fitted with a glass floor through which guests can observe the marine life below. Other accommodations include beach bungalows that overlook the island's white sand beaches and more intimate inns, or pensions, that are situated throughout the island.