The flight into Bora Bora was more of an island hopping day tour. There are no direct flights. The flight stops at Moorea (five minute flight), Huahine and last Bora Bora. During the flight we could see Raiatea Island. All of the islands are beautiful and have a huge reef around them. This reef makes the water a stunning light blue within the reef and dark blue outside of the reef into the great wide ocean.
After landing we were put onto a boat that took us to the main island into the town on Vaitape. The entire island is only eleven square miles and the airport is across the water from the mainland. I always thought of Bora Bora as honeymooner’s island but the high end bungalow style rooms on the water are few and far between. This island is full of local life and has very little to offer in the way of shops and restaurants. The small takeaway places are called snack places. There were only a few in the area we stayed in. This is true island living.
We stayed in an apartment right across the street from the ocean. Unfortunately it’s not a desirable beach area but it’s still the sea. There isn’t a shoreline and it backs right up to the main road. Outside of the small apartment building there are local homes and further down the street is the Intercontinental hotel. There aren’t any high-rise buildings or modern structors on this island. Everything is built keeping within the Polynesian style.
Playa Matira is the nicest beach on our side of the island and only a ten minute bike ride away. This is where we spent our first day in Bora Bora. Relaxing on white sand and swimming in warm ocean waters. The beach area is public and it’s the same beach used by the ultra expensive Intercontinental Hotel. Surprisingly, it’s mostly locals swimming in the ocean and only a few tourists on the days we went. It was also spring break for the kids so people were out and enjoying life the past two weeks without a schedule.
We were so glad we weren’t paying over a thousand dollars a night to stay on Bora Bora. There are plenty of places to stay for less and many airbnb options. Some people come to Bora Bora and spend thousands on their rooms just to be in a cottage on the ocean. With that comes day trip expenses, lunches, dinners and snacks. It’s a never ending spending trip.
It’s easy to get to the ocean from anywhere on the island. We purchased groceries at the local grocery store and bought groceries for 6 nights. This averaged out to be twenty-five dollars a day (for two people). This bought us breakfast, lunch and a three course dinner. Coming “home” after a full day at the beach, we encountered a couple and all of their luggage in front of the building. They asked us if the building was called Bora Bora Enjoy. Even though our apartment is privately owned, the owners named it “Faretai Love”. Faretai is the name of the town and love is their trademark name. The girl had a blank area pin marked on Google maps and it looked like she was in the general area. The taxi basically dropped them off and left. We tried to help and find out where she should be but we were getting no where. Finally she decided to leave her husband with the luggage and start walking around different streets looking for anything that may say Bora Bora Enjoy. We left them in the heat and hoped for the best. I felt kind of bad but things must have worked out because they were gone later.
A huge savings for us during this world trip is not taking day trips or excursions. We normally do the research on our own and go to the exact same places that day tours. Bora Bora is one of the places we splurged on a day trip. Shark Boy tour company has been in business for 35 years taking people out to sea to feed sharks and stingrays. This was something we would never get to do anywhere else so it was a no brainer buying tickets for this.
After boarding a decorated boat we cruised to the outer reef to swim with the sharks. This part of the ocean was deep blue. At first we didn’t see any sharks but soon after the guide threw raw fish from the side of the boat, several sharks suddenly appeared. They started multiplying fast along with various colorful fish. After the boat was surrounded he announced “jump in”. I figured this was a daily tour so it was safe so I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be. There were two types of sharks swimming around — black tip reef sharks and lemon sharks. Sometimes it was scary watching them come closer and seeing their little pupils moving up and down at a rapid pace. There were times they would just appear coming from ahead where I couldn’t see that far through the water. After ten minutes we were on our way to the next stop — swimming with stingrays.
This time the water was shallow, light blue and clear. Just like the shark area, we didn’t see any stingrays until fish was being thrown into the water and like magic they appeared everywhere. The guide took fish with him and fed them standing in the shallow water. They all came to him and surrounded him begging for fish. I’ve never seen a stingray beg from a human so it was strange seeing them literally climbing on him trying to get their mouths to his hand. I hung around and started petting them but there were so many and they were so big it was intimidating.
Overall, I am in love with Bora Bora and would return here anytime, any chance on any day. Next stop is Huahine island which is an island less traveled by tourist. Goodbye beautiful Bora Bora. I’m in love with you.