Discover pure paradise on the island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. The most famous location within the Islands of Tahiti is a treasure trove of land and sea activities against a lush and dramatic backdrop. As soon as you see it for yourself, the island’s nickname, “The Pearl of the Pacific” will make perfect sense.
Whether you’re interested in adventuring through the island’s rugged and lush interior or viewing the rich marine life in the waters surrounding the island, there’s something appealing to every type of traveler here.
Discover all of the amazing things to do in Bora Bora, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Relax at Matira Beach
No trip to Bora Bora is complete without a visit to one of the island’s best-loved beaches. Situated on the island’s southern end, the one-mile-long Matira Beach is one of just a few with public access.
It’s hailed as the top stretch of sand on Bora Bora and with pristine white sand beaches against a backdrop of the aquamarine sea, it’s easy to see why. Lounge in this picturesque setting, warm water lapping at your toes, and unwind.
Cool off with a dip in the water or pick a spot under the shade of a palm tree. Bring or rent some snorkel gear and discover the tropical fish that populate this lagoon, known to offer some of the best snorkeling in the world.
If you time your beach visit with low tide, it’s even possible to wade out to the edge of the offshore reef, where more dazzling marine life awaits. Enjoy the opportunity to spot black-tipped reef sharks and stingrays among the beautiful corals below the surface.
Bars and restaurants line the shore, making this a favorite place for seaside dining with a view. Raise a toast to your amazing day at Matira Beach with a refreshing cocktail.
Climb Mount Pahia
Hiking enthusiasts will find a thrilling adventure climbing one of the island’s tallest peaks. Although the five to six-hour, steep trek up Mt. Pahia won’t be easy, the views will certainly be rewarding. Gain elevation of more than 2,000 feet as well as a new perspective when you reach the summit.
Venture through lush jungle terrain, with various viewpoints and sections that require climbing with the assistance of ropes. The trail demands a serious effort and hiking skills, but making it to the top will re-energize you when you feast your eyes on the sweeping vista of the lagoon, the entire remote island of Bora Bora, and its striking surroundings.
Even if you don’t make it to the summit, you’ll be treated to panoramic views at various points along the route.
Go Diving in Anau
Head to the east coast of Bora Bora and discover the rich underwater world that French Polynesia is known for. This popular snorkeling and diving destination is home to manta rays, sea turtles, black-tipped sharks, and much more, all thriving in the two coral reefs.
Clear visibility and excellent diving conditions make this scuba location a treat to explore. Swim among colorful coral gardens populated with anemones, venturing down the famous wall, where you’ll feel encompassed by the magical world beneath the surface.
Marvel at schools of tropical fish, and the graceful manta rays, which can have a wingspan of up to 12 feet. Diving in Bora Bora is one of the most breathtaking things to do in the Islands of Tahiti.
Catch a Thrill on a 4×4 Adventure
Channel your inner adventurer and explore Bora Bora’s tropical rainforest interior. Join a guided 4×4 vehicle tour and embark on a thrilling drive up the famous Mount Otemanu.
This volcanic remnant peak comes to a dramatic point, the highest on the island, rising 2,385 feet above sea level. You can see the mountain from everywhere else on the island, so here’s a chance to reverse the perspective.
The exciting off-road drive will lead you past a beautiful shoreline and lush forests as you venture to the base of the mountain by an open-air Jeep. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture high-definition vistas with shades of brilliant blues in the sea contrasting with the bottle green of the rainforest.
Take a Catamaran Cruise
Admire Bora Bora’s beauty from a fresh angle. Hop aboard a catamaran cruise where you can take in the island sights from the sea. Feel the South Pacific breeze as you sail through paradise in the stunning lagoon.
Laze in the sun, suspended above the silky water, while taking in the sights. When the boat anchors, take advantage of the stop with a dip to cool off and a chance to admire marine life such as angelfish, parrotfish, eels, and starfish.
Enjoy a refreshing cocktail as the catamaran glides through the sparkling lagoon waters, against a backdrop of mountainous island terrain. A boat ride around Bora Bora is one of the best ways to see the island.
Enjoy a Motu Picnic
French Polynesia has many “motus”, tiny islands made up of broken coral and sand that create reef islets straight out of a postcard. One of the most memorable things to do in Bora Bora is to enjoy lunch on one of these picturesque motus.
Take a scenic boat ride through the lagoon to your private island for a picnic. Indulge in authentic Polynesian cuisine in one of the most beautiful and tranquil locations, complete with white sand, aquamarine seas, swaying palms, and warm Tahitian sun.
Enjoy a front-row seat on the edge of the water, sinking your toes in the powdery soft sand with extravagantly beautiful scenery in every direction. Taste fresh fish skewers, Tahitian coconut bread, rice, chicken, beef, and the national dish, poisson cru (raw fish with coconut milk and herbs). This is sure to be one of the best lunch dining experiences you’ve ever had.
Get a Taste of Culture in Vaitape
Head to the island’s west coast to experience the cultural side of Bora Bora in the main village of Vaitape. From exploring local food to markets and souvenir shops, this is an enchanting insight into the local culture.
If you happen to visit on a Sunday morning, you’ll be treated to the lively market with vendors selling snacks such as seafood, fruit, and sweet treats. There are plenty of scenic spots to visit; the Protestant Church, for example, is backed by the mountainous landscape.
Browse the shops where you can find a souvenir as a token of your time in paradise; black pearls and black pearl jewelry are one of the most popular items you can purchase in French Polynesia.
After you work up an appetite shopping, satisfy your cravings at one of the top local restaurants, Bloody Mary’s. This yacht club bar and restaurant is an institution on the island and a must-visit during your time on Bora Bora. Here, you can taste local fare in a friendly and vibrant island atmosphere, sip cocktails, and relax with your feet on the sand floor.
Try the daily fresh catch, lobster or shrimp, the delicious barbeque, and of course, one of the restaurant’s signature drinks, such as the Maitai Roa, which is made with vanilla rum and brandy.
View Marine Life From a Glass-Bottom Boat
Climb aboard a glass-bottom boat for optimal sea life viewing in the lagoon, without getting wet. You’ll be treated to astounding views both above and below the water.
Enjoy the portal into the pristine waters surrounding Bora Bora from the comfort of your seat, marveling at schools of tropical fish, stingrays, and reef sharks. Your knowledgeable guide will point out sea creatures as you glide along; keep an eye out for moray eels, anemones, beautiful corals, parrotfish, and clownfish.
If you’re lucky, you may even have the chance to see massive manta rays or the more elusive lemon sharks swimming below you as well. To get a closer view, jump in the inviting water at designated snorkel spots where you can swim around and spot marine life from a closer vantage point.
Snorkel Motu Tapu
Plunge into the crystal clear waters of Bora Bora’s lagoon with your snorkel gear at Motu Tapu, a small islet. Historically, this small strip of sand served as the private beach for the Queen of Tahiti in the mid-1800s.
The shallow waters with excellent visibility make this an ideal snorkeling spot as well as a fantastic beach destination. Since Bora Bora is known as one of the best islands for snorkeling, you’ll have the opportunity to swim among rainbow-colored coral gardens, watching colorful fish dart in and out of their hiding spots.
Keep a look out for black-tipped reef sharks, stingrays, and fish, such as butterflyfish, and barracuda.
Although it will be hard to tear yourself away from the views of the underwater world, make sure to spend some time soaking up the vista of mountainous Bora Bora as well. The contrast of the towering Mount Otemanu with the vivid blues of the lagoon will simply take your breath away from this vantage point.
Zip Around the Island on a Jet Ski
Thrill-seekers can get their adrenaline pumping on a speedy tour around Bora Bora. Hop on a jet ski where you can zip through the beautiful waters of the lagoon, taking in the sights of the island from the water.
Catch your breath with a stop at a private motu where you can laze on the sugary white sands or take a leisurely swim. Whether you’re a first-time jet-skier or more advanced, this is a choose-your-own-speed adventure and a fantastic way to spend a few hours on the water in Bora Bora.
Go Whale Watching
Venture outside of the reef and embark on a bucket-list adventure. Every year from July to the end of October, humpback whales migrate to French Polynesia to give birth to their calves. A whale watching tour is the best way to observe these giant marine mammals in their natural habitat.
You’ll see a whale spurting water out through its blowhole as it nears the surface. Catch a glimpse of the humpbacks’ distinctive tails and massive size as they glide through the water, sometimes breaching, or tail-slapping.
This is the perfect opportunity to capture some great photographs. You may even spot some dolphins as an added bonus.
The Islands of Tahiti is one of the few places in the world where you can swim near the whales, viewing them with snorkel gear from a closer vantage point. Jump in the water for a memorable experience that many people find life-changing.
Operators of these tours are strictly regulated and you’ll be able to enjoy your time in the water without causing stress to the whales.
Read: Best South Pacific Islands to Visit
Travel to French Polynesia and uncover the definition of paradise. With dazzling white beaches and mesmerizingly blue lagoon water, The Islands of Tahiti are a dream destination. A luxury cruise is a fantastic way to experience the best things to do in Bora Bora.
Browse our luxury cruises to Bora Bora and book your tropical gateway today.