ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FRENCH POLYNESIA BORA BORA, MOOREA
BORA BORA - the pearl of the Pacific
- the best beaches in the world;
- the most popular honeymoon destination;
- the most expensive holiday destination;
- the most famous resorts with overwater bungalows;
- the incredible water colour of the ocean of all hues of blue.
About French Polynesia
French Polynesia is the heart of the Pacific Ocean. This group of islands is probably the most desirable destination for almost everyone. Spectacular unforgettable sceneries of the Ocean and the land are the main reason why people go there. Once seen, never forgotten. You will never forget its incredible lagoons with thousands of colors.
The flora and fauna are another highlight of French Polynesia. Lush green mountains with the abundance of flora and fauna will make you feel somewhere in paradise. And, of course, Polynesian islands are famous for the underwater life. It's a home for many species like turtles, reef sharks, sting rays and many others.
Except nature French Polynesia is famous for its authentic culture with so many traditions and different types of art such as dancing, tattoos and crafts. Cuisine Polynesian food with its Western and Tahitian flavours attracts many people. The best way to explore local food is to try some food from roulottes. A roulotte is a food van where locals prepare their signature dishes. The most famous dish is raw fish in coconut milk. Another side of Tahitian cuisine is the mixture of modern cuisine with rich French culinary traditions. Overall, French Polynesia is a dream destination and piece of paradise in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.
Facts about French Polynesia
• The capital of French Polynesia is Papeete, which is located on the island of Tahiti. Papeete means “water basket”.
• The currency of French Polynesia is CFP franc.
• The number of people in French Polynesia is no more than 300,000. 75% are Polynesian; 15% European and about 10% Chinese.
• French and Tahitian are the official languages.
• If you are a U.S or Canadian citizen all you need to enter French Polynesia is a passport with validity of more than 6 months, and return tickets. For other countries, check the visa requirements online or consult the French Consulate.
• Tiare, a white blossom, is a national flower of Tahiti. If a woman wears a tiare behind her ear on the left side, it means she is taken, right if she is still single.
• French Polynesia is home for black Tahitian pearls.
• Actually there’s no letter “B” in the Tahitian language. Bora Bora is actually Pora Pora, but visitors heard it as Bora Bora.
• Moorea has a meaning "yellow lizard".
• The word tattoo was created in Tahiti. The legend of Tohu, the god of the tattoo, describes painting all the fish in beautiful colors and patterns. In Polynesia culture, tattoos are a sign of beauty.
• French Polynesia has no poisonous insects or snakes.
The direct flight from Tokyo to Fa'a'a International Airport - 1070 USD (booked half a year in advance). Duration time is 11 hours.
The flight from Papeete to Bora Bora - 435 USD (during peak season July). Duration time is less than an hour.
The direct flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo - 430 USD. Duration time is around 5 hours.
Ferry ride from Tahiti to Moorea - 60 USD (Aremiti ferry company, can be booked online).
Tip! The direct flights to Tahiti are only from: Australia, New Zealand, Tokyo, Japan and Los Angeles, the USA.
Mark's place - 365 USD for three nights (bungalow).
Bora Bora Pearl Resort and Spa - 1000 USD for one night (overwater bungalow);
Le Meridien Bora Bora - 1050 USD for one night (overwater bungalow);
Fare Suisse - 100 USD (guesthouse, free one way airport shuttle).
One week itinerary - Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora
10:00 a.m - arrival to Fa'a'a International Airport. Duty-free shopping - champagne Money exchange for taxi.
Tip! There is a fixed fee of 5,66 EUR for all money changing. Taxi rates from the airport to all major destinations are fixed.
Taxi to Moorea ferry - 2200 XPF (approx. 22 USD).
Tip! You can simply convert XPF to USD by deducting the last two digits from XPF: 100 XPF=1 USD; 12000 XPF=120 USD etc.
Time from the airport to the ferry pier to Moorea is about 10-15 min by taxi.
11:10 - coffee time while waiting for the ferry
12:45 ferry ride to Moorea. Duration 30 min. The Aremiti ferry goes eight times daily. If you want to plan your trip properly, check the timetable on their official website.
The price for a round trip is about 60 USD. You can book tickets online with flexible time. The journey from Tahiti to Moorea is only 30 minutes. There is a restaurant on board where you can buy some snacks and drinks. The open deck allows you to enjoy the incredible ocean views of French Polynesia.
Moorea is a small tropical paradise in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Moorea is famous for its volcanic mountains and sandy beaches. The best way to explore the island is to rent a car. ( or at least a scooter or bike).
Even if you are on a budget, it is highly recommended to get a car. Don't expect a cheap price, but come on, you are in the top destination in the world, in the dream place of almost all people on our planet. Having your own car will save you much money, as taxi is crazy expensive, and public transport exists only in your mind. I mean buses go in Moorea as they go, without any schedule.
A bike is a cheaper option, but nothing can be compared with driving your own air-conditioned fast car. Renting a car will save you money and time. The cheapest price for a budget car with automatic transmission is 100 USD per day.
The driving in Moorea is a real pleasure. There is only one road across the whole island, which is only 60 kilometers long. It is hardly possible to get lost there. The stunning views all over the road will make your trip unforgettable.
Accommodation in Moorea Along with the five-star hotels, there are several budget options. Our accommodation, Mark's place was a kind of a guest house. The price per night was about 120 USD. Don't expect too much for this price. The property was something like a country house - no air-con, too many mosquitoes and cockroaches.
What to do in Moorea
Moorea is famous for its incredible ocean sceneries. However, there are not so many beaches there. The best beach in the whole island is near Sofitel resort. The view point is another highlight of Moorea.
The Belvedere Lookout has panoramic views of the island’s peaks and Tahiti beyond. You can go hiking there, or simply get there by car.
Toatea Lookout is a terrific viewpoint with stunning surreal views of Sofitel hotel, magnificent Tahiti island and the magnificent Pacific Ocean.
Allo pizza is an Italian restaurant and pizzeria. A highly recommended for visit. The menu has a wide choice of all kinds of wood-fire pizzas. We really like their tuna pizza. Seems like you will never try tuna pizza anywhere in the world except Moorea.
Allo pizza can be described as very delicious pizzas at affordable prices.
Carameline restaurant is another budget dining option. They have crepes, pastries, tuna, burgers, milkshakes, cappuccino, everything. Delicious, affordable.
Okay, one thing I can tell you about Bora Bora - your life will never be the same after visiting the most desirable and most beautiful place on Earth. This truly paradise island will be in my heart forever. The main question - is it worth all the money you spend? Definitely, yes. Why? No sense to explain, just have a look at these unbelievable photos.
Bora Bora island Bora-Bora is a volcanic island, which is situated in the central South Pacific Ocean, about 265 km northwest of Tahiti. This paradise island is only 10 km long and 4 km wide. Bora Bora is famous for its Mount Otemanu. In Tahitian the name "Bora Bora" means "first born", and the Tahitian spelling sounds as Pora Pora. The island’s name—the Tahitian spelling of which is Pora pora—means “First Born”.
A 50-minute flight from Tahiti you will find the stunning island of Bora Bora, undoubtedly the world’s most beautiful lagoon with a dozen different shades of blue.
Bora Bora is associated with love, romance and honeymoon. It is home to the iconic Overwater Bungalows.
Bora Bora highlights
- translucent mesmerizing blue lagoon
- Mount Otemanu
- overwater bungalows
- snorkeling with reef sharks and turtles
- Matira Beach.
So, here is our way of exploring Bora Bora. Bora Bora is easily accessible from Tahiti by air. The flights are on daily basis with one hour frequency. The price from Tahiti to Bora Bora is 500 USD for a round trip. And the flight time is less than one hour. Once you are in Bora Bora airport, you have to go either directly to your hotel (as the majority of people do), or if you are on a kind of a budget, you have an option to go to Bora Bora island by free ferry. Ferry goes from the airport to the port of the main island every hour.
We spent in Bora Bora three incredible days in two high-end resorts - Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa and Le Meridien.
Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa experience
Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa is a four-star resort with stunning views of Mount Otemanu. Located on the private beach Pearl Beach Resort & Spa Bora Bora has its own restaurants, a bar, and a large outdoor swimming pool overlooking the turquoise water of the Bora Bora Lagoon. The resort is 10 minutes by private boat from Motu Mute Airport.
This luxury hotel offers different types of accommodation – garden suites with private pool, beachfront suites with a private hot tub, and overwater bungalows with direct access to the incredible blue waters of the lagoon. Our choice was, without any doubts, an overwater bungalow.
If you are in Bora Bora, an overwater bungalow is a must. Believe us you will never forget such an unforgettable experience.
Le Meridien Experience
Being the high-end resort, Le Meridien offers mesmerizing views across Bora Bora Lagoon to Mount Otemanu.
This five-star resort has a sea-turtle protection center, infinity-edge pool and 3 restaurants. Guests can use snorkeling equipment, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats for free.
Le Meridien is extremely popular with its overwater bungalows overlooking the gorgeous Mount Otemanu.
I suppose it’s the most instagrammable spot in the world. Our overwater bungalow was at the end of ponton and had super stunning views of Bora Bora.
One of the highlights of the overwater bungalow is an amazing glass floor - you can watch fish and sharks any time you want.
Another highlight is the sunset.
We celebrated my birthday here, at Le Meridien. The dinner was in a romantic atmosphere, and the food was super delicious.