Updated: Nov 6, 2020
When you daydream about a remote, tropical island with dormant volcanoes, breathtaking blue skies, and tranquil turquoise waters I am certain your vision mirrors Bora Bora. Known for their over water huts and year-round tropical weather, Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful places I have ever explored. It was so immaculate it felt dreamlike. At night the sky is so clear I mapped out the constellations: Orion's Belt was "Drippin" because the stars sparkled so bright against the deep navy sky!
Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the journey to Paradise is not quick. My Thanksgiving voyage included no less than four airports and a boat (Chicago - Los Angeles - Tahiti - Bora Bora). Layer on the fact the airline I was using for the longest leg was on strike (just for that route), so an unfamiliar carrier was contracted.
At the Motu Mute Airport we were graciously greeted by representatives from our resort baring flower leis. Most of the luxury resorts have a kiosk in the airport with refreshments and boats to whisk you off to the various private islands.
The St. Regis Bora Bora is the epitome of luxury accommodations and served as the location for the fictional resort in the movie Couples Retreat. In addition to the over water huts, the resort boasts beach front villas with private pools, indoor/outdoor showers, and direct access to the ocean.
The property features a private saltwater lagoon with native fish, a luxury spa, aqua-centric activities like jet-skiing, Polynesian cultural shows, and multiple restaurants, including one where you can watch sharks swim beneath your feet while dining. I indulged in all of these benefits the resort had to offer.
Most goods are imported resulting in high prices, especially for liquor. Stock up on drinks at the Duty Free Shop at the Papette Airport in Tahiti (Fa'a'ā). I regret getting only one bottle of Moët, which was consumed quickly during our spa/birthday/Thanksgiving celebrations. Also when we visited Bora Bora's main island we went to the small grocery store to buy snacks and drinks.
If you are a gastronomic traveler like me you might be slightly disappointed in the cuisine. Expect good, but not great food. It was explained to me that organized farming is limited in Tahiti so do not expect a wide selection of ingredients.
Keep in mind most of your fellow vacationers are on their honeymoon or with their family. Therefore, if you want to "turn-up" then head to Ibiza. Plus the drinks are so expensive you will not be getting wasted.
Tahiti is known for their pearls. I suggest doing your research prior to your trip if you intend on purchasing an expensive piece of jewelry. Otherwise some of the smaller stores offer the same quality of stones as some of the more well known establishments. Bonus: There are excursions to pearl farms.*** Below is a picture of the pearl I purchased at Deep Sea Pearls.
Visit some of the other Tahitian islands such as Mo'orea. Like Hawaii you have the main island and several surrounding islands. Please note there are no ferries between the islands so flying is the only option and fares range between $300-$450 and the flight is approximately 45 minutes. I did not get the chance to do this but my friend did and others I met during this trip did and believed it is worth a fews days there.
The main island of Bora Bora is definitely worth the trip if you are staying on one of the private islands. A short boat ride will get you there for organized tours. There are relics from WWII and tie dye demonstrations/shops that help support the local economy.
Bora Bora mainland eating and watering holes:
Bloody Mary's is a legendary restaurant with good cocktails and pub grub. Fun ambiance and eclectic surroundings.
Bora Bora Yacht Club - Excellent views and equally exceptional service. We were at risk of missing the last boat back to our resort and one of the employees took us in his personal car to the dock because a cab was not available. Good food and cocktails. If you have a boat this is a great pit stop. *** This is where I saw the palm tree in the shape of a heart.