Wondering what to do in Bora Bora? Here are 15+ amazing things you don't want to miss as you visit the beautiful island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia.
Best Things To Do In Bora Bora
My husband and were lucky enough to go on a dream Bora Bora vacation that would have cost $27,000 for less than $1,000. You can get the step-by-step guide here.
But this post is all about the best things to do in Bora Bora!
Unless you travel hack your trip to Bora Bora like we did, you will pay a pretty penny to get there. So you might not want to (or have a huge budget) to spend on expensive excursions.
Don't worry-- there are many free and inexpensive activities in Bora Bora you will enjoy doing that will help you enjoy the beautiful island it is!
Bora Bora Activities
1. Sit on the left side of the airplane as you fly into Bora Bora.
One of the first Bora Bora activities you can do on your Bora Bora trip is to admire the views from the airplane as you fly into the small Bora Bora airport.
If you sit on the left side, you will be able to see the main island of Bora Bora and all the smaller motus, along with the overwater bungalows that sit in the lagoon.
Air Tahiti has open seating, so in order to get a left-side seat, you will want to be near the front of the line when they start boarding.
If you are not able to snatch a seat on the way into Bora Bora, try to get a seat on the right side flying out for the same amazing view.
2. Visit Matira Beach
Matira Beach, the most stunning Bora Bora beach is one you must visit on your Bora Bora vacation. It is located on the main island of Bora Bora, about 15 minutes south of Vaitape (the main town).
Visiting this beach is one of the top things to do in Tahiti Bora Bora.
It's been said that this is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and we can see why.
White, soft powdery sand and turquoise, shallow waters make this a spot you could spend hours at.
Unlike many other beaches we have been to (these Kauai beaches for example), you will not be fighting traffic, crowds, or commercialism.
Matira Beach feels untouched and remote, even though there are still bathrooms and a few snack shops if you get hungry.
The warm, calm lagoon makes this Bora Bora beach safe for kids, but relaxing and enjoyable for kids. We wish we had more time here!
What to do:
- grab a snack at Snack Matira or the restaurant with the giant Coca Cola signs
You will love all the perfectly placed palm trees, but there is not a ton of shade. Be sure to pack a shade umbrella, and bring lots of sunscreen and hat if you need a break from the sun.
Parking at Matira Beach
There are a few parking lots along Matira Beach which are free.
How to get to Matira Beach
You have a few options to get to Matira Beach from Vaitape, the main ferry port on the main island of Bora Bora.
You can arrange a taxi, which you will likely sit waiting just as you walk off the ferry. A one-way taxi ride will cost about $25. If you hire a taxi to get you to Matira Beach, be sure to arrange a pick up time since there are no taxis waiting at Matira Beach.
The best option is to rent a scooter, electric bike or car from Vaitape and drive yourself.
Biking would be easy since the road is completely flat, but it does get hot and humid, so be sure you are up for it.
We rented a scooter and had such a fun time.
You can rent scooters and bikes from Avis or Alberts in Vaitape.
3. Drive the Circle Island Road
Speaking of renting a car or scooter, while you have one, drive the entire Bora Bora island.
This easy and gorgeous drive will take you about 1 hour, without stops.
If you rent a car or scooter from Avis, be sure to grab one of the free Bora Bora maps which will highlight important places to stop along your drive including:
- Matira Beach
- Viewpoint hike at phone towers
- Military canons
- Bainan tree (inspiration for tree on Avatar)
Renting a scooter for half day cost $45- not bad for an excursion to see the entire island.
4. Stay in an overwater bungalow
Splurge and stay in an overwater bungalow for even just one night! Jumping straight into the warm, turquoise lagoon water will be unforgettable.
Yes, overwater bungalows can be a pricey, but we show you how we stayed in an overwater bungalow for 2 nights for just $165. True story.
Get our Bora Bora Vacation guide here to learn exactly how we did it.
5. Go snorkeling and swimming with sharks
We were really hoping to take this excursion to swim with sharks and snorkel at the Coral Gardens, however the weather didn't cooperate for us.
Thankfully, we were still able to do some free snorkeling at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui.
Snorkeling in the clear water is a must, so be sure to do it at least once while in Bora Bora.
There are lots of Bora Bora excursions to choose from, including half-day and full-day, so you will for sure find something that works for your budget and timing.
6. Enjoy the sunsets
The bad news- you will not find a ton of night-life in Bora Bora. In fact, it gets dark early and most restaurants shut down early.
The good news- you are probably escaping to Bora Bora to slow down and relax, so plan to do exactly that!
The sunsets are spectacular, so be sure to take advantage of watching them each night.
7. Embrace the Tahitian culture
We were so impressed with the kindness and hospitality that the Tahitians offer. From the minute we landed in Tahiti, there were live Tahitian dancers and singers performing to welcome us.
We were also greeted with fresh flower leis at our hotel and were greeted by a live ukulele song upon arrival at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui.
Tahitians learn French, Tahitian, and English at school and so many of them are eager to speak to you. Let them!
Take advantage of cultural demonstrations your resort might offer. At the Conrad Bora Bora, we learned how to braid leaves and open coconuts at their complimentary demonstrations. This was a really fun way to get to know the culture!
8. Stock up on snacks & treats at the supermarket
I have already mentioned how expensive Bora Bora is and food is no exception! We ate one meal at a restaurant and it cost us over $70 for a personal pizza and hamburger. Yikes!
Thank goodness we had access to the free breakfast buffet (I show you how in our Bora Bora guide) to fill us up each morning.
Besides eating one dinner at the resort restaurant, we kept full on the snacks and lunch items we stocked up on at the Chin Lee supermarket in Vaitape (main island Bora Bora.)
You can walk to this market in under 5 minutes from the ferry dock.
9. Visit the main Bora Bora island
If you plan to visit Matira Beach or drive around the island, then this thing to do in Bora Bora is a given. However, it would be really easy to stay put at your resort, which is likely on one of the motus (the Bora Bora islands surrounding the main Bora Bora island).
I cannot speak for all the resorts, but he Conrad Bora Bora Nui (the resort we stayed at) offered free boat shuttles into the main island each day. Taking a boat ride and getting to see Bora Bora from different views was an inexperience in and of itself.
10. Hike for an amazing view
There are some intense hikes, including hiking the Mt. Otemanu, but most require a guide and take 3-6 hours to complete.
If you want to take a hike Bora Bora but still want to leave time for other activities, there is a great short hike you can take with a view of both sides of the island.
Directions for the Bora Bora hike:
- Drive South from Vaitape
- You will pass a sports field on the right (ocean side)
- Soon after on the left, you will see Evacuation sign No. 16. Turn left on that road.
- Drive up a few hundred feet. The curve will turn right. On the left is a small area you can park your scooter or car. Do not try to go past this point. The road is damaged, super steep and is only accessible by ATV.
- Start hiking. It's a hike alright. Your calves will be burning by the end. Thank goodness the hike is only 15-20 minutes long.
- When you get to the utility towers, you have arrived! You will be able to see both sides of the island from this viewpoint, all the way down to the lagoon below. You will also have a great view of Mt.Otemanu!
11. Shop for gifts
Vaitape Marketplace is a local market right off the ferry port in Vaitape that sells traditional goods like shell necklaces, leis, braided leaf bags, tiare soaps, vanilla, island clothing and jewelry.
Within a few blocks from the marketplace will you will also find more gift shops offering traditional souvenirs.
12. Kayak in the lagoon
Depending on where you stay, you will find some fun Bora Bora water sports to choose from.
At the Conrad Bora Bora, they offered complimentary kayaks to use in the lagoon surrounding the property.
13. Admire Mt. Otemanu
If you stay at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui like we did, be sure to climb to the lookout point at the top of for an amazing view of the Mt. Otemanu on the main island.
14. Ride bikes
One of our favorite free things to do in Bora Bora was ride around the Conrad Bora Bora resort on the beach cruisers! They have beach cruisers parked in various areas all around the resort that you can pick up and ride and leave wherever you are finished.
This was so fun! There are plenty of boardwalks and paths to explore. Since the resort is fairly big, this makes getting from your room to other Bora Bora activities much quicker than walking.
You can also rent bikes on the main island from various bike shops at the ferry port and ride part of all of the island (although you will want an electric bike if you plan to do the whole island on two wheels. )
15. Admire the island-inspired architecture
Take time to enjoy the little details you won't find anywhere else like the cute yellow church in Vaitape or the fresh fish for sale on the side of the road.