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Hidden Gem: Add Bora Bora to Your Travel Bucket List!

You’re probably thinking: Isn’t “Bora Bora” that far-off and expensive vacation island somewhere in the South Pacific, and didn’t that nutty French painter Paul Gauguin end up living there forever?

bora bora That’s what we thought at first. But we were wrong. Bora Bora is just one of the islands of French Polynesia, and it’s even prettier than the island of Tahiti (also in the French Polynesia) where Gauguin ended up in.

And no, going there doesn’t mean you’ll have an expensive Bora Bora vacation. You just need to make your travel plans ahead of time to stay within a reasonable budget–and kill your boredom with all the Bora Bora things to do.

About the place

Bora Bora is known for its classic and dramatic scenery, the stuff of tropic dreams. Amidst the island is an extinct volcano with two peaks, Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia. The latter is a particularly high and jagged point, rising abruptly to more than 2,300 feet in the air and overlooking the rest of the island, which has jungles and white sand beaches, and is completely surrounded by a barrier coral reef and lagoon. Like all Pacific islands in the area, Bora Bora enjoys a simple tropical climate, alternating between wet, monsoon rain and dry, summer sun seasons, and no winter to spoil the constant 30 degrees C (86 degrees F) seawater temperature.

Not surprisingly, the island’s main industry is tourism. There are already about six or seven luxury resort hotels on Bora Bora, which offer some of the most beautiful accommodations and tropical views on the planet. There’s plenty of lagoon and reef space to explore, and there are several tour companies on the island which offer trips to the best spots to visit and see the corals and rich underwater life. Going up to Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, or seeing historical relics from ancient Polynesian culture and World War II, are also part of Bora Bora tourism.

A (slightly) cheaper Bora Bora vacation

Knowing what the best things to do in Bora Bora can help whittle down your budget for your Bora Bora travel plans. Here are some travel tips:

Most of my budget went to purchasing the plane ticket to Papeete on Tahiti, with a transfer to an Air Tahiti plane ride to Bora Bora’s airport at Motu Mute, an islet north of Bora Bora’s “mainland.” The best thing about Air Tahiti is they offer a free boat shuttle from the airport to the major settlement of Vaitape at Bora Bora itself.

sunset hills

Don’t splurge on accommodations. You can stay at Sunset Hill Lodge (contact: sunset.hill.lodge@mail.pf or telephone 689792648), one of the cheapest places to stay in, with prices ranging from €50.00 to €70.00 (about US$64.00 to US$89.00) a night. If you’re traveling within a group, that’s even better, because you can share room costs. You may even afford the pricier Manureva House at €1,488 (US$1,899) per week.

Stick to the Matira Beach area. It’s cheaper to swim, snorkel, surf or parasail in this area, and there’s plenty of colorful fish close to shore. This is also where Bounty Snack, one of the cheapest eats, is located.

With these tips in mind, I’m sure you’ll have the time of your life in Bora Bora without necessarily hurting your wallet!

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