Best Things To Do in Bora Bora

The main objective of a Bora Bora vacation is relaxation and this small island offers innumerable ways to achieve it. Repose on the deck of your overwater bungalow, cool off in the luminous lagoon surrounding Bora Bora or bike around the island at a leisurely pace. When you have some energy to burn, we suggest checking out the underwater life at the Bora Bora Lagoonarium and the Coral Gardens. For a taste of the local culture, take a jaunt into Vaitape. And whether you photograph it at a distance or climb its rocky slopes, Mount Otemanu is a must-see.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated June 18, 2019

  • #1
    Things to do in Bora Bora
    View all Photos
    #1 in Bora Bora
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Matira Beach is the largest public access beach in Bora Bora making it extremely popular with visitors. The water is crystal-clear and the sand is soft and downy. Matira Beach is also peppered with resorts, shops and eateries, so it's a convenient place to spend most of a day. 

    Travelers and locals alike have nothing but positive things to say about the beach. Most comment on the incredibly blue water and how the shoreline is rarely ever crowded making it the perfect place for some rest and relaxation. But save your snorkeling for another beach, as the shallow waters aren't the best for spotting sea life. If you don't have time to spend a whole day at the beach, many say the sunsets are at least worth a visit. 

  • #2
    4x4 Excursions
    View all Photos
    #2 in Bora Bora
    Beaches, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you have too much sand between your toes and saltwater in your eyes, or you just need a break from your resort, consider exploring the island on four wheels. Multiple tour companies, such as Vavau 4×4 AdventuresNatura Discovery and Tupuna Safari, offer customizable 4x4 island tours. Not only will you get to discover the nooks and crannies of the island, but you'll also learn about its historical and cultural aspects along with island legends. Whether you're looking for a relaxing ride or a bumpy "Indiana Jones"-style adventure, there are tours that appeal to all kinds of travelers. Packages include everything from half-day cultural island expeditions to romantic sunset and Champagne tours to wild deep safari jungle treks. Plus, most of the tour guides are locals and will be more than willing to share their favorite island secrets. 

    Recent 4x4 tour enthusiasts raved about their excellent tour guides who provided a bunch of interesting historical and cultural facts about the island. In fact, many say their favorite part of the tour was their guide. And travelers say the views are absolutely breathtaking, so make sure to bring your camera. Some do caution against a 4x4 tour for those who are faint of heart as the roads are bumpy, hilly and sometimes even muddy. Just make sure to thoroughly read the tour description, so you know what you're getting yourself into. 

  • #3
    Coral Gardens
    View all Photos
    #3 in Bora Bora
    Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    On a small islet just east of the main island and directly across from the Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort, you'll find a gorgeous coral reef. Most travelers hire a tour operator to guide them through the process of swimming and snorkeling among the coral, not to mention among sea life, such as sting rays, moray eels and blacktip reef sharks. 

    Many past travelers described the Coral Gardens as a "must-do." One recent visitor recommended staying with the group while snorkeling, rather than swimming off on your own. The sharks and sting rays don't tend to be aggressive, but sometimes they can become so, especially with an isolated snorkeler. 

  • #4
    Bora Bora Boat Tours
    View all Photos
    #4 in Bora Bora
    Beaches, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Bora Bora is a boater's dream – whether it be sailboats, glass-bottom boats, speedboats, kayaks, Jet Skis or more, the island has it all. So why not give your body a break from all that swimming and snorkeling, and instead explore Bora Bora's waters by boat? Tour packages can be customized to each traveler and include everything from half- to full-day and private or shared excursions. And for those thrill-seekers, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling and animal feeding can be added to most itineraries. Some boat tours also include full meals abroad the vessel. 

    Lagoon ServiceMoana Adventure Tours and Bora Bora Photo Lagoon are a few tour companies that come highly recommended by past travelers, who said the tour guides were fabulous and, of course, the island was breathtaking to explore by sea. Many also enjoyed visiting the island's hidden lagoons and coves, as well as the learning about the island's history. And if you plan on doing a longer tour, some recommended making sure a meal is included because once you leave shore, you're stuck at sea. 

  • #5
    Shark/Stingray Feeding
    View all Photos
    #5 in Bora Bora
    Beaches, Recreation, Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    Beaches, Recreation, Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE

    Thanks to the crystal-clear waters that surround Bora Bora, it's easy to spot the wildlife that inhabits the region. For an up-close encounter, consider signing up for a tour. Outfitters, such as Moana Adventure Tours and Pure Snorkeling by Reef Discovery, offer snorkeling, and shark and stingray feedings and encounters. You'll have the opportunity to interact with native blacktip reef sharks and stingrays in their natural habitats. And if you don't feel comfortable feeding the stingrays and sharks, you'll still be able to enjoy snorkeling the reefs and seeing the plethora of rainbow-colored fish. 

    Those that did this in the past said their shark and stingray adventure was the highlight of their Bora Bora vacation. The majority of travelers say it's a fun activity for the entire family and a great way to explore the ocean floor. And although getting up-close with stingrays and sharks may seem scary, many say it's not, as the sharks are small, the stingrays are harmless and the water is shallow (think: knee-deep). Travelers also noted the tour guides made everyone feel comfortable. 

  • #6
    Bora Bora Lagoonarium
    View all Photos
    #6 in Bora Bora
    Natural Wonders
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Bora Bora Lagoonarium is a natural aquarium on a small motu (island), just east of the main island. (By "natural," we mean that this aquarium isn't man-made. Rather, it's a portion of the actual lagoon). One of the coolest things about this family-owned attraction is that you can actually snorkel on the premises under the supervision of wildlife guides. Beneath the lagoon's surface, you'll spy sharks, turtles, rays and many different kinds of ocean fish. And depending on what tour you choose (full-day, half-day morning or half-day afternoon), you'll enjoy a number of extras, such as a canoe tour of the island or a barbecue picnic. 

    Reviews were mixed on the Bora Bora Lagoonarium. Some described the Lagoonarium as a great introduction to snorkeling since it feels safe and confined, especially when compared to deep-sea snorkeling, which might push some out of their comfort zones. Others also enjoyed feeding the fish. However, some travelers were unimpressed with the state of the boat and the setting the animals live in. 

  • #7
    Mount Otemanu
    View all Photos
    #7 in Bora Bora
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Mount Otemanu is one of two peaks of an extinct volcano located at the center of the island. Rising 2,400-some feet above the lagoon, this volcanic remnant makes for a dramatic photo op or an adrenaline-pumping adventure. In fact, many say a trip to Bora Bora isn't complete without a visit to the top of this breathtaking mountain. And fear not, hiking isn't your only option; you can enjoy Mount Otemanu in all sorts of ways – a 4x4 tour, a boat tour, a helicopter tour or even some casual snapshots on the beach. 

    Many travelers are floored by the mountain's otherworldly beauty, which can be seen from just about any corner of the island. And the 4x4 tours come highly recommended from past travelers who said they were able to reach the top of the mountain quickly allowing for more time to take in the incredible views and snap some awesome photos. If you're interested in hiking, consider tackling the smaller of the two peaks, Mount Pahia. 

  • #8
    Vaitape
    View all Photos
    #8 in Bora Bora
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Let's be honest: You didn't come here to sample the city life. But Bora Bora's main town on the west coast of the island is worth a few hours of your time if you want to explore beyond the confines of your resort for an afternoon. You'll find a number of eateries, souvenir shops and churches along its main corridor. By the way, this central street really comes to life on Sunday mornings when stalls appear selling everything from clams to doughnuts. Vaitape also boasts a tourist office, a car rental kiosk, a couple of gas stations and a medical center, among other facilities. 

    If you're looking for a fancy souvenir, you might want to visit Sibani Perle and purchase some beautiful black pearl jewelry. Recent travelers raved about the pieces they bought from Sibani and the authenticity of the pearls. But if you're looking for something a tad more affordable, you'll find that here, too: a slew of smaller stores selling less expensive souvenirs are scattered along the street.  

  • Spas
    View all Photos
    Spas
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Spas
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Bora Bora Turtle Center
    View all Photos
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Mount Pahia
    View all Photos
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

Explore More of Bora Bora

Recommended

The World's 30 Best Places to Visit in 2019-20

Using reader input and expert analysis, U.S. News identified the latest can't-miss vacations.

Tilly PeckerJune 25, 2019

The 16 Best San Diego Tours

Take advantage of the adventures this coastal city has to offer with a guided trip.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

12 Top Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

Set your sights on these can't-miss wineries during your next visit to California's wine country.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

The 6 Best Denver Brewery Tours

Discover the buzz about Denver's craft beer scene with these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 21, 2019

The 10 Best Charleston Walking Tours

Experience true southern hospitality as you explore Charleston on one of these strolls.

Claire LawtonJune 20, 2019

The 15 Best Charleston Tours

See everything this historic South Carolina city has to offer on one of these guided excursions.

John RodwanJune 19, 2019

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gwen PratesiJune 12, 2019