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Top Bora Bora Attractions

The first time you visit Bora Bora, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Bora Bora to help with your itinerary planning.

Matira Beach Matira Beach
Bora Bora Lagoonarium Bora Bora Lagoonarium
Ancient Marae Temples Ancient Marae Temples
Tupuna Safari 4x4 Tupuna Safari 4x4
Polynesian Dance Polynesian Dance

Matira Beach

Matira Beach at Bora-Bora's southern tip is the best and most popular on the island. A classic example of a South Pacific beach, its white sand stretches from Hotel Bora Bora to Matira Point. Topless sunbathers enjoy the tranquility of the beach while being cooled by the trade winds. At the eastern edge of Hotel Matira, a walking trail runs up to a battery of WW II coastal defense guns.

At low tide, you can wade from the end of Matira Point all the way to the barrier reef. It is this shallow water that prevents yachts from sailing around the island inside the reef.

Bora-Bora's shallow lagoon is better suited for snorkeling than scuba diving. You can find some of the island’s best snorkeling right off the point at Hotel Bora Bora. Home to nearly 700 tropical fish species, giant manta rays and sharks, the amazing blues and greens of the Bora Bora lagoon are just crying out to be explored. As manta rays glide gracefully below you, smaller fish approach you easily as they are accustomed to being fed. Head south toward the northern edge of the barrier reef for a more natural setting, but beware of glass-bottom boats rowing by.

Another water activity to enjoy at Matira Beach is to kayak or outrigger canoe toward the channel between two small motus just offshore. You will discover a coral garden overflowing with tropical fish. Hop into the water and let the current carry you through.


Bora Bora Lagoonarium

 Address Po Box 234 Bora Bora 98730
 Admission Full day tour: $94.00 USD per person. Half-day morning tour: $72.00 USD per person. Half-day afternoon tour: $61.00 USD per person. Half-price for children 3-10 years old. Tip: print out the 10% savings coupon posted on their web site before reserving your package.
 Hours Open Sunday – Friday. Closed on Saturdays.
 Phone +689 67 71 34

In the heart of Bora Bora’s famous turquoise-blue lagoon, the Lagoonarium is an outdoor aquarium where the colorful fish and marine life of the lagoon swim about. But instead of being on the other side of the glass like a traditional aquarium, you are invited to grab a snorkel and mask and jump in to swim amongst the turtles, sharks, rays and other tropical fish of the lagoon. Safe for all ages, experienced guides will show you how to touch and interact with the sea life. Guides also demonstrate their expertise in the daily shark and ray feeding exhibitions.

The Lagoonarium offers three tour options:

The full-day tour runs from 8:45am until 3:30pm and includes several hours of exploring the Lagoonarium at your leisure with the shark and ray feeding exhibition in the afternoon. An outrigger canoe will take you on a full circle island tour and you will get to snorkel in the Bora Bora Coral Gardens. The tour also includes a barbecue picnic of traditional fish and chicken dishes held on a private motu.

The half-day morning tour runs from 8:45am – 12:30pm and includes all activities listed above, but without the barbecue picnic.

The shorter, half-day afternoon tour runs from 1:00pm to 3:45pm and provides a few hours of swimming in the Lagoonarium.


Ancient Marae Temples

It is believed that the first signs of human life on Bora Bora dates back to 900 A.D. These ancient Polynesians once called Bora Bora “Mai Te Pora,” which literally means “created by the Gods.”

Because of its mystical past, about 40 traditional open-air stone temples or maraes, still exist on the island. Like in the other Leeward Islands, Bora Bora's marae are not enclosed, and their large altars are raised, smooth coral platforms. The Polynesians used the temples for religious and cultural ceremonies such as presenting the gods with ritual gifts of fruit and other foods, celebrating weddings and victories, or enthroning a king.

Most notably, the Marae Fare-Opu, is located on the west coast of the island just before Faanui Village and situated between the roadside and the water’s edge. Carved into two of the stone slabs of the marae are petroglyphs of turtles. The animal was sacred to the ancient Polynesians and other turtle petroglyphs can be found at many other sites throughout the Society islands. It is said that the animal may have been a favorite ritual offering to the gods.

Continuing south along the west coast, you will come upon the fairly large Marae Taianapa on the inland side of the road just past Faanui Village. Traveling west along the same coastal road, you will pass Farepiti Wharf where the inter-island boats dock in Faanui Bay. The Marae Marotetini lies just beyond the wharf. This fine example of an ancient temple was restored by Dr. Yosihiko Sinoto in 1968.

Two more marae can be found on the eastern side of the island just above Fitiiu Point. Off the road at the water’s edge, Marae Aehua-tai faces Vairau Bay, while Marae Taharuu faces the northern Haamaire Bay.

Contact the Bora Bora Visitor Center (tel: +689 67 76 36) for further information concerning these sites.


Tupuna Safari 4x4

 Address BP 56, Vaitape
 Admission A 3-hour tour costs $65.00 USD per person. They also offer a 50% discount for children under 12
 Hours Two departures daily: Depart at 8:30 am and return at 12:00 noonDepart at 1:30 pm and return at 5:00 pm
 Phone +689-67-75-06

One of the best ways to explore the island is by jumping into a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Tupuna Safari 4x4 will take you on a fully-guided, 3-hour excursion all over the island in one of their comfy Range Rover 4x4's. As you will drive along the rugged coastline you will notice Bora Bora’s tropical floral-life like the hibiscus that lines the hills and valleys and the coconut palm trees that dominate the landscape.

Locals serve as tour guides and provide riders not only with the facts, history and politics of Bora Bora, but also of the traditional ways of Polynesian life.

The tour includes stops at American World War II sites, including cannons that may be hard to find without a tour guide in tow. Four of the most popular of these naval cannons are located at panoramic points on the island where you can take photographs of the dazzling seascape below.

The tour also stops at ancient stone temples (marae) and other archaeological sites on the island.


Traditional Polynesian Dance

Traditional Polynesian song and dance is inspired by the ancient legends and folklore passed down from their gods. Officially banned following the religious conversion of the late 19th century, It was the onset of tourism in the 20th century that helped to revive these traditional customs.

A traditional female dancer was wrapped in tapa (a fabric made from pounding and softening tree bark) decorated with feathers, shells and mother of pearl. The costumes of today’s female dancers include a more (or skirt), a belt and a bra made of seashells or coconut shells. Male dancers also wear a more, a belt and a large headdress. Dancers hold feathers or pompoms to accentuate their moves and move to the beats of a variety of drums, nasal flutes, conch shells and ukuleles.

There are 4 major types of traditional dances:

  • otea - a war dance where a group of dancers line up in rows and are accompanied with percussion
  • hivinau - dancers move in circles to the beat of drums and sing in unison to answer a male soloist
  • aparima - danced in rows, scenes of daily life are mimed and accompanied a guitar, ukulele and vocals
  • pao’a - a sensual dance, a couple dancers improvise in the center of a half-circle while the other dancers sit on the ground clapping to the beat.

Traditional dance performances are held at many of the world-class resorts throughout the island. At the exclusive Hotel Bora Bora (Tel: +689-60-44-60), a weekly feature is traditional island singing and dancing, with sunset cocktails at the Pofai Beach Bar. At the luxurious Moana Beach Parkroyal (Tel: +689-60-49-00), there are folkloric shows three times a week and a Tahitian trio performance nightly on the terrace. Many other hotels also offer traditional Tahitian dancing and singing, so ask at the reception desk for costs and schedule.


Bora Bora Travel Guides
 Frommer's Bora Bora
 Lonely Planet Bora Bora
 Let's Go Bora Bora
 Fodors Bora Bora