My husband Andrew and I took our dream vacation on our honeymoon to Bora Bora. Planning our honeymoon was quite the process which I’ll delve into in a later post. Other options that we considered besides Bora Bora were Kauai, Bali, Italy and Greece. Since we had previously travelled to Italy and Greece during our Europe Trip and Kauai a couple years prior, it was narrowed down to Bali and Bora Bora. We were originally leaning towards Bali because we felt it had aspects of adventure, culture, and scenic beauty. We also liked the idea of it being cost effective and getting more bang for your buck (nothing Andrew loves more). In the final analysis we decided on Bora Bora because we knew that if we didn’t travel there on our honeymoon we may never experience it in the future. And what better time than the present to visit a romantic, relaxing and secluded destination? Here is my guide to one of the most beautiful and serene places on earth.
Bora Bora is an island in French Polynesia that sits below the equator in the South Pacific Ocean. As far as I was concerned it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere and halfway between Peru and Australia. The island is surrounded by an atoll (a ring-shaped reef of coral) and a few resorts are actually located right on it. Our travel itinerary to arrive at our destination required a layover in Tahiti followed by a one hour flight on Air Tahiti. After in depth research, our “travel agent” Andrew insisted that we sit on the left side of the plane in order to have the best scenic view of the islands from above. You can imagine his disappointment when this happened to be one of the rare flights where the pilot took a route that provided the best views on the right side… This resulted in a very blunt conversation between Andrew and the flight attendant and another mimosa for me because I knew I would never hear the end of it. Long story short, get there ahead of time in order to sit on the left side and hope for the best. Fingers crossed! Once you arrive at the Bora Bora airport you’ll need to take a water shuttle to your hotel. The views along the way are breathtaking.
Where We Stayed
We chose to stay at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora as opposed to the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort because my “travel agent’s” research indicated that it had slightly better dining options and accommodations. We stayed in an over water bungalow which was phenomenal; It was so cool to see the fish swimming beneath us through the glass bottom. There was a beach and pool located within our resort but we spent most of our time relaxing on our private deck and snorkeling in the lagoon. Something we didn’t realize until we arrived was that it’s a bit tricky to get to from our isolated resort to other resorts or the main part of the island. Truthfully, we didn’t want to leave our resort much, if at all, because everything we wanted to do was available to us. However, my “travel agent” insisted that we take an island excursion through Expedia (guess why he didn’t book it through The Four Seasons…). I would much rather have gone to the spa to relax but finally decided to “live a little” and agreed to it. Before I get into the details, I’ll have you know that his exact words to me were that “it will definitely not be treacherous”.
What To Do
This “excursion” consisted of an open-air 4×4 mountain island tour, snorkeling, and swimming with stingrays and sharks. Imagine my dismay when we were stuck in the bed of a truck, no seatbelts, and heading off of the main road and onto a muddy, steep, and bumpy trail in the rain. Next thing we know, while scaling up the mountain we look out the side of the “Jeep” and recognize we’re on the edge of a cliff. Needless to say there was a real possibility that this could have been the end. Unfortunately, my immense fear outweighed how upset I was so I held on to Andrew for dear life while the tourists across from us got a good laugh at our expense, and a great picture… see below:
Needless to say, I could have done without the island tour. Not only because of the danger involved, but also because of the lack of exposure to the Polynesian culture. It felt a bit too touristy and honestly, we lost some valuable vacation time in the back of a truck. On the other hand, the second half of the day was well spent snorkeling and swimming with stingrays, blacktip sharks, and lemon sharks. It seemed scary at first but we are both glad that we did it. One of the interesting highlights is that stingrays have a tendency to swim right on top of you, almost as if they’re trying to give you a hug! I would highly recommend taking the plunge and trying this out. Another activity we enjoyed, and would encourage anyone to do, was taking a catamaran around the island. It was a lot of fun and gave us the opportunity to explore the island from a different prospective.
Where To Eat
Let’s talk about one of my favorite things: food. Due to the fact that the island is so isolated, the food options were limited at times. Can you guess which ingredient they were out of during our stay? Avocados! No avocado toast, omelets, or guacamole… rough life, I know. I will say that a highlight of the trip for me was the all you can eat Tere Nui breakfast buffet each morning at our resort. It was one of my favorite parts of each day… They had the most amazing crepe + waffle station, scrambles, a coconut bread that was to die for, and a different fresh fruit juice every morning. The best part about this was getting to enjoy the view of the ocean. We also took advantage of room service which I highly recommend in an over water bungalow. The Four Seasons had some really great dinner options as well, their most upscale restaurant is called Arii Moana and it also had an amazing wine list. We spent most of our nights at the Sunset Restaurant + Bar which featured an Asian-inspired menu and offered an amazing sunset view. One night, we ventured 30 minutes away on boat to the town of Vaitape to check out Restaurant St. James. We had heard so many amazing reviews from locals and it lived up to our expectations. An added bonus was being right above the water to see the manta rays during our meal. Lastly, we made sure to eat at Bloody Mary’s, a casual hamburger shack on the beach. It is also known for its fresh seafood and a place where celebrities are known to frequent. Fun fact, our first dance song from the wedding came on while we were here and I was about to kill Andrew for the wonderful “Jeep” tour… good timing. The food and drinks were pretty amazing; I suggest the frozen strawberry daiquiri which is one of their most popular drinks.
One inevitable factor of this trip was the expense. We knew going into it that everything was more expensive in Bora Bora. Think $25 for a cocktail and $50 for breakfast… Similar to one of my Top 10 Home Renovation Tips, don’t skimp and do it right the first time. We knew that it might be a long time before we would ever make it back to Bora Bora, so we didn’t want to have any regrets. Get the $25 piña colada, order room service, and go through the hotel for any activities.
Some of our favorite things to do on site at the resort included paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and going to the spa. There was a snorkeling lagoon with tons of exotic and colorful fish and coral that we spent much of our time at. We played tennis one day on the grass court. There was also a beautiful little chapel situated right by the lagoon that we loved walking to before dinner to watch the sunset. Every step around the grounds of the resort was truly paradise.
We didn’t have much time to think about packing because we only had a day between our wedding and our flight. I kept it simple with tons of bathing suits, coverups, and flowy dresses. The resort was a mix of upscale but not pretentious with a causal and beachy vibe, which I loved. I never felt underdressed or overdressed and you can really wear whatever you feel like. The majority of people staying in Bora Bora during our (USA) summer months are honeymooners. We observed that most tended to take it easy during the day and get slightly dressed up for dinner. This is the most dressed up I got during our nine days there.
We went at the end of July to the beginning of August which is actually considered Bora Bora’s winter due to its location in the Southern Hemisphere. This makes the climate very mild. We experienced highs of 85 and lows of 70 at night. It only rained a handful of times throughout our stay and each “rainstorm” was short and sweet. If you want to go when it’s a bit warmer, consider October-December. There will most likely be more precipitation around this time as well.
I hope this guide will come in handy if you’re traveling to Bora Bora or planning to vacation there. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have below or via my instagram! As they say in Bora Bora, Mauruuru (this means thank you and we heard it at least 15 times a day)!