facts about Bora Bora

Discover 35 Fun and Interesting Facts About Bora Bora

Discover the “Pearl of the Pacific” with these captivating, interesting facts about Bora Bora.

Bora Bora, a paradise island in French Polynesia, is one of the world’s most picturesque and sought-after destinations.

From luxurious overwater bungalows to vibrant marine life, Bora Bora boasts a breathtaking natural environment. So, what exactly makes Bora Bora so special? Let’s explore.

Bora Bora Facts At-a-Glance

Location: Located in French Polynesia’s Society Islands, Bora Bora is in the South Pacific, around 260 km northwest of Tahiti’s capital, Papeete​​​.
Population: Home to approximately 10,000 residents, showcasing a mix of Polynesian, Chinese, and French descent​.
Main City: Vaitape serves as the island’s largest city and administrative hub​.
Area: Bora Bora spans less than 39 km², including its smaller islets​.
Languages: French and Tahitian are spoken​​​primarily.
Religion: Predominantly Protestant and Catholic, alongside other practiced faiths​.
Climate: The island enjoys a tropical monsoon climate, with an annual average temperature of about 27.6°C and annual rainfall averaging 1,654.1 mm​

Geography and Nature of Bora Bora

Bora Bora Mount Otemano

Nestled in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is a mesmerizing volcanic island known for its stunning lagoon and rich natural environment. 

Geological Formation

  • Bora Bora (originally named Pora Pora) resulted from an extinct volcano, which has given rise to the island’s rugged terrain and Mount Otemanu, a remnant of this volcanic activity.
  • The island’s age is estimated at 7 million years, and it is a jewel among the Society Islands of French Polynesia.
  • French Polynesia, a French territory, encompasses 118 islands grouped into five archipelagos, collectively spanning an area as vast as Europe.

Island Topography

  • Mount Otemanu is Bora Bora’s highest peak, at 2,385 feet, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
  • The island’s geography is defined by its lagoon and barrier reef, which create a haven for diverse marine life and draw visitors to its famed beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Flora and Fauna

  • Bora Bora’s climate supports a lush array of vegetation, with coconut palms and hibiscus flowers dotting the landscape.
  • The surrounding coral reef and lagoon host an abundance of sea creatures, from sea turtles to majestic manta rays, showcasing the island’s remarkable natural beauty.
  • Despite its tropical setting, Bora Bora is free from venomous snakes and insects.

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Culture and History

bungalows in Bora Bora

Early Settlement

  • Settlers: Bora Bora was first discovered by Polynesians during their great voyages across the Pacific Ocean. It is believed to have been settled by Tahitian explorers in the 4th century.
  • Historical Influence: The Dutch admiral Jacob Roggeveen first sighted Bora Bora in 1722, but Captain James Cook recorded visits in 1769 and again in 1777 before France annexed it in the late 19th century.

Cultural Traditions

  • Tattooing: Tattooing is a significant part of Tahitian culture, often symbolizing social status and personal history. These artistic expressions are deeply ingrained in Polynesian traditions.
  • Language and Religion: The Tahitian language preserves the Polynesian roots despite the dominance of French due to colonial influence. Christianity, introduced by missionaries in the early 19th century, is now the primary religion.

Historical Sites

  • World War II Significance: During World War II, Bora Bora hosted an Allied naval base, and the islet of Mute became an Allied air base, which is still operative as an airport today.
  • Kingdom History: The remnants of the rule of King Hiro, Bora Bora’s last monarch, mark the local landscape, serving as a historical record of the island’s change from a Polynesian kingdom to a French overseas territory.

Unique Attractions and Local Delights

Bora Bora sea life

Bora Bora captivates tourists with its extraordinary marine life, authentic local crafts, and distinct culinary offerings. Here, one can experience the richness of Polynesian culture and the island’s natural beauty.

Exotic Marine Life

  • Coral Reefs: Bora Bora’s vibrant coral gardens are a sanctuary for countless marine species and can be explored through snorkeling excursions.
  • Matira Beach: Known for its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, Matira Beach offers a picturesque setting for swimming and snorkeling.

Artisanal Crafts and Souvenirs

  • Tattoos: Polynesian tattoos, deeply ingrained in the local culture, tell stories and represent personal milestones. Visitors often get inked as a permanent souvenir of their journey.
  • Black Pearls: Bora Bora’s black pearls are treasured locally and globally for their iridescence and rarity, making them a unique gift or keepsake.

Culinary Experience

  • Poisson Cru: This traditional dish made from raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk captures the fresh flavors of the island.
  • Coconuts: Utilized in various forms, coconuts are a staple in Bora Bora’s diet and cuisine, adding tropical essence to dishes and drinks.
  • Fun Fact: The island of Bora Bora’s tropical environment fosters an incredible variety of flowers, many of which serve as key ingredients in local recipes and artisanal products.

Bora Bora on Screen: Capturing Paradise in Film and TV

  • While Bora Bora might currently be beyond the reach of many, its beauty has been captured in movies and TV shows.
  • The film “Couples Retreat” was shot at the St Regis Resort in Bora Bora.

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Facts About Bora Bora: Climate and Best Times to Visit

the spectacular nature in Bora Bora

Bora Bora enjoys a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons, which influences the best times to visit the island.

Seasonal Weather

  • Dry Season (April to October): This is when Bora Bora experiences less rainfall and lower humidity. Temperatures are slightly cooler, typically ranging from 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C). These conditions make it the peak season for tourism.
  • Wet Season (November to March): Marked by higher humidity and heavier rainfall, temperatures during this time rise slightly, averaging between 75°F (24°C) and 86°F (30°C). Visitors can expect short, intense rain showers, especially from December to February.

Travel Planning

  • Booking in Advance: For the Dry Season, travelers should consider booking several months in advance, as accommodations can fill up quickly due to favorable weather conditions for outdoor activities.
  • Consider Off-Peak Travel: Those looking for fewer crowds and potentially lower rates might opt to visit during the shoulder months — April or November — when the weather transition between seasons offers a mix of wet and dry conditions.
  • Packing for the Trip: Regardless of the season, tourists should pack lightweight, breathable clothing and include a waterproof jacket for unexpected rain showers. Sunscreen and insect repellent are also essential all year round.
  • Bora Bora Interesting Fact: The island has no public transport, but visitors can get around using rented cars, scooters, or bicycles. 

Tourism and Activities

amazing aerial view of Bora Bora

Bora Bora’s allure lies in its stunning natural beauty and the range of activities available for tourists. This island provides a perfect mix of relaxation and excitement, from thrilling outdoor adventures to intimate oceanic explorations. 

  • The Bora Bora Lagoon, which is three times larger than the island itself, is home to many popular activities and attractions.

Outdoor Adventures

  • Hike to Majestic Views: Trek the lush trails of Mount Otemanu for breathtaking vistas of the lagoon and island.
  • 4×4 Excursions: Journey off-road to explore Bora Bora’s rugged interior and visit historic World War II sites.

Ocean Explorations

  • Snorkeling with Marine Life: Discover the island’s coral gardens teeming with tropical fish and occasionally spot a harmless shark or stingray.
  • Scuba Diving Journeys: Dive deeper to experience the stunning underwater world of Bora Bora, including encounters with various sea creatures.

Recreational Opportunities

  • Luxury Resorts: Stay at a luxury resort offering world-class amenities and overwater bungalows.
  • Romantic Getaways: Celebrate romance with honeymoon specials, idyllic beach dinners, and private boat tours to secluded motus.

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