Best things to do in Bora Bora
Top 10 travel activities, visits and excursions
The best activities, attractions, visits and excursions in Bora Bora
During a trip to Polynesia, we strongly recommend you to visit Bora Bora! To many people avoid this destination because they imagine it to be too crowded and touristy. Although it is indeed the most famous and developed for tourists of the islands, we’re far from a mass tourism destination. Hotels are actually small bungalows on stilts, and the number of visitors is finally quited limited. You’ll probably find more authenticity in the other islands, but Bora Bora’s lagoon remains undoubtedly beautiful! There are also amazing things to do and see at Bora Bora. To make sure you don’t miss out on anything, this TOP 10 gathers all the unmissables: excursions on the lagoon, beaches, travel and sports activities, hiking trails…
To save time and money, make sure you book your services in advance (hotels, inter-island flights, activities, transport…). We’ve selected the best offers and listed them in this article. Have a great trip to Bora Bora 🙂 . – By Flo, Caro and The Team
In this article, you will find :
- The TOP 10 things to do in Bora Bora
- Other visits and activities that you may love (for those who want to try and see everything !)
- Travel tips and good deals to organize tour trip (hotel rooms, car rental, travel insurance…)
- Other articles that may interest you (Activities Los Angeles, Activities Normandy, Visit D-Day Beaches…)
What to do and see in Bora Bora - TOP 10 activities and excursions
1. Explore Bora Bora’s lagoon and it’s mounds during a boat tour
- Admission fee ($$) – reservation highly recommended
Bora Bora’s number one asset is definitely its incredible lagoon! We’ve visited many Polynesian islands, but to us, none of their lagoons offer as many shades of blue. To discover the lagoon, the boat tour is the unmissable activity. You’ll be able to admire the summit of the island, the Mount Otemanu (2385 feet). You’ll also discover the many motus (mounds) of the island. Most of the tours offer a local polynesian lunch on one of them. Snorkeling sessions (see our Top #4) are also often included during the boat tours.
There are many operators offering boat tours in Bora Bora. By luck, one of our friends has a local company, with a great reputation, offering this type of excursions (Moana Adventure). you can check on the Internet, they are rates 5/5 almost everywhere! We decided to book our tour through them, and we were not disappointed! The food is delicious, the Polynesian crew on board is adorable, the boat is comfortable and the program is perfect. The tour takes place in small groups, and the private mound on which we have lunch is beautiful. For all these reasons, we definitely recommend this tour, which we absolutely loved! Be careful, you’ll need to book in advance due to the limited capacity.
Price & Online Booking : Boat tour on the lagoon / Luxury boat tour on the lagoon (the one we did and loved!) / Private boat tour on the lagoon (the best option you can book, but also the most expensive) / Catamaran sunset sail
Where to stay in Bora Bora? Price for accomodation & Online booking : Vacation rental (less expensive than hotels) Find all hotels Our selection : Best hotels and lodges on a budget (1, 2 or 3 stars) / Best luxurious hotels and bungalows on stilts (4 or 5 stars)
2. Chill at the beautiful beach of Matira on the main island
Although the motus beaches are incredibly charming, Matira on the main island remains a must-see beach. With its beautiful turquoise water, its thin white sand, and little snack bars, Matira offers a paradise scenery to its visitors. Cherry on top of the cake, the beach is often ignored by the tourists which usually privilege the beaches next to their hotel (and so in the mounds). Apart from the weekends (when the locals like to go to the beach), Matira is therefore rarely crowded. Another reason to spend some relaxing time there!
Matira beach is easily accessible by the road. If you’re doing a tour of the island (see our top #6), you’ll be able to make a stop there to relax and have a swim. You’ll also find several snacks and restaurants, ideally located, offering great food at an affordable price. It’s also a great place to admire the sunset.
3. Fly over Bora Bora and the “heart-island” of Tupai in a seaplane or helicopter
- Admission fee ($$) or ($$$) – reservation required
If you’re willing to go over your budget for one activity, it should definitely be this one! Among the main islands of Polynesia, two are really worth flying over: Tahiti (for its huge mountains), and of course Bora Bora. It’s from the sky that you realize best how beautiful the lagoon is. You’ll be amazed throughout the entire flight, discovering all the different shades of blue the lagoon has to offer. If your budget allows you to, you can include flying over the island of Tupai, which is famous for its heart shape! You have to fly over a certain angle to see the heart shape, but it’s really a unique experience!
If you don’t get the opportunity to book a sightseeing flight over Bora Bora, make sure you try to have a good seat on your plane to get there so you can see the island before you land. You just need to ask one of the flight attendants what side to sit on when you board, seats aren’t pre-booked so you can sit wherever you want.
If you do decide to book a sightseeing flight, you’re probably wondering whether you should choose a helicopter or a (sea)plane. On our end, we chose to go for a seaplane (which actually turned out to be a regular small airplane of 8 seats when we did our tour). We wanted to be able to see the entire lagoon, and the airplane generally offers a more aerial view.
Most of all, we really wanted to fly over Tupai. Only helicopter flights of 30mn offer this option, at a higher price than the airplane. And since a helicopter is slower than an airplane, we rathered the second option which allowed us to fly over more territory. We don’t regret at all our choice as this island is very different and amazing… the pictures speak for themselves!
If you’re not particularly interested in Tupai, you can choose a helicopter flight of 10mn or 20mn. It’ll allow you to limit your spendings while offering you an amazing view on Bora Bora. Either way, make sure you book in advance as availability is limited!
4. Have fun on the lagoon of Bora Bora: jet-ski, kayak, paddle board or wakeboard
- Admission fee ($$) or ($$$) – reservation strongly recommended
We already recommended the boat tour on the lagoon… but because you can’t get enough of the lagoon, we’re sure you’ll enjoy a more active experience! To go around the island and fill up with high-speed sensations on the waves of an incredibly blue water, our favorite one would be the jet-ski! If you’re looking for calm and serenity, you should rather go for the kayaking or paddle board.
Once again, we indicated the operator which we used for our jet ski tour below. Everything went well and we really loved being able to go high speed on secure engines. We strongly recommend it!
For kayaking or paddle, unfortunately we did not have enough time to try them out, but rentals are usually available through hotels. For wakeboarding, you need to book in advance. Learning your way through the activity is quite fast, and you easily manage to stand-up out of the water.
Price & Online Booking : Jet-ski tour on the lagoon / Combo tour: Jet-ski + snorkeling with sharks and rays (awesome tour combining both activities, we strongly recommend!) / Stand-up paddle guided tour (you can also choose to simply rent a paddle board for a smaller budget) / Wakeboard initiation class
5. Swim with the stingrays, sharks, and tropical fish during a snorkeling session
- Free : swimming on your own from the beach/coast (not very interesting)
- Admission fee : access to the best spots by boat ($) – reservation strongly recommended
Most boat tours on the lagoon include a snorkeling session. However, if you don’t want to spend the whole day on a boat, and you’ve chosen the jet-ski tour over the boat, or if you want additional time exploring the ocean, you can book a session only dedicated to snorkeling. They are offered at a low price, and allow you to discover the incredible riches of the underwater of the lagoon. You will then be able to see amazing coral gardens (among the most beautiful we’ve seen in Polynesia). You will also be able to reach a spot where you can swim with black tip sharks (harmless) and stingrays. Sensations guaranteed! Finally, you will be able to go looking for Manta rays! No meetings can be guaranteed as we’re dealing with wildlife…
Although you may swim freely with your own material, you won’t be able to access the best spots. Those are indeed located too far from the coast, and thus only accessible by boat. To choose your operator, please make sure you don’t go for one that feeds the animals. This type of practice modifies the behavior of wildlife, and thus makes the animals dependent on human activity. We indicated the one we used below, which was awesome and respectful of nature.
Price & Online Booking : Snorkeling tour (coral garden, rays and sharks – 2:30-3hrs approx.) / Combo tour: Snorkeling + Jet-ski / Luxury boat tour on the lagoon including snorkeling
6. Make a tour of Bora Bora by bike, car or E-Mook (20 miles)
- Admission fee: renting cost ($) – reservation required
As for all Polynesian islands, we advise you to do a complete tour of the main island. Just so you are aware, you won’t be seeing any important site, but you’ll discover another point of view of Bora. You’ll have different views on the landscapes and houses, you’ll also be closer to the locals. By going out of the main road, we were able to play around with kids who were surprised to see us on this side of the island. Authenticity is definitely there when you take the time to look for it! Last, going around the island will allow you to easily access some small hiking trails which are worth the detour (see our top #7).
If you want to make a tour of the main island, you can choose to do it by bike, but you’ll need to pedal over 20 miles, including some climbs. You can also choose to rent a car, but you won’t be able to enjoy the fresh breeze and the beautiful landscapes. To meet the best compromise, we chose to go for an E-Mook, a small little electric car without doors (kind of like a golf cart). It’s the perfect option to combine utility and pleasure, making the drive an experience in itself. Whatever your choice, you can book all those activities on the link below. It’s the best rental operator of the island, offering quality vehicles and perfect service.
Price & Online Booking : Vehicle rental in Bora Bora (car, E-Mook, bike…)
7. Go on a hike in Bora Bora: American cannons or mount Popoti summit
Although Polynesian islands offer ideal landscapes and mountains for hiking, private lands, poorly maintained and marked trails make this activity complicated. Unfortunately, this is the case in Bora Bora where trails are hard to find and follow. However, there are still some little walks which are easily accessible. We recommend a walk up to one of the old American cannons you can find in the mountains around the islands. They were built during World War 2, and are today a curiosity in this paradisiacal landscape. For a more active walk, you can follow the route de la Traversière or reach the summit of Mount Popoti. You will then have an amazing view of the lagoon (also accessible during the quad ride recommended in the following top).
First of all, you should know that the summit of the island, the mount Otemanu, is not accessible to hikes. It has only been climbed by some locals in difficult and dangerous conditions.
Concerning the other hikes, it’s complicated to indicate the exact departing point and the trail to follow. The easiest way is to ask your hotel or inn. Once you approach the departure point, ask confirmation to a local and follow their instructions. You shouldn’t get lost as the trails we’ve suggested follow a clear path. Beware though, there are some crossroads, so it’s best you know which direction to follow in advance!
Trails recommended by users: Wikiloc (this website gathers the walks and hikes made by other travelers, and can give you additional ideas)
8. Take a Quad ride on the heights and off-road trails of Bora Bora
- Admission fee ($$) – reservation strongly recommended
You want to admire Bora Bora from its heights but you don’t feel like climbing to the top? Or you simply want to have fun riding a powerful motorized vehicle? Go for a quad ride! You will be able to take steep and wild trails into the heart of the island. In addition to the driving sensations, expect to discover beautiful panoramas!
Different operators each offer different routes. Indeed, the lands crossed by the quads are private and the owners allow access only to one operator. We therefore compared the different tours, and chose the one which to us offered the best view (see link below). We did not regret our choice! Our guide was super nice, and allowed us to access a summit near the mount Popoti. The view was incredible, and only accessible through this tour. Then, we were invited in his family house for a drink in an ideal scenery. For your information, we also made the tour of the island during this ride, but without making any stops. This tour thus offered a nice overall view of Bora Bora.
Price & Online Booking : Bora Bora island quad bike tour (it’s the tour we did, the only one giving access to the viewpoint of our picture above)
9. Scuba dive in Bora Bora
- Admission fee ($$)
There are amazing diving spots in Bora Bora. It’s definitely a great place for a first dive or even for more experienced divers. If scuba diving offers a more immersive experience underwater than snorkelling, it is also more expensive. The reason we didn’t put this activity higher in our Top 10 is simply because we found more impressive spots at the Tuamotu (especially at Rangiroa or Fakarava). If you were to dive only in one place, it should be there, but if the Tuamotu are not part of your trip and you like to dive, do not hesitate! The underwaters of Bora Bora remain beautiful and guarantee an amazing show!
You can find several diving clubs in Bora Bora. We indicated an operator with great reputation below. Keep in mind that the prices are higher in Bora Bora than on the other islands. If you’re looking to do a diving training in Polynesia, we advise you to choose Rangiroa or Fakarava, where the prices are lower (but the courses are as serious!).
10. Visit the sea turtles protection center in the amazing Le Meridien hotel
- Free : for hotel clients
- Admission fee : for external clients ($)
To end your trip to Bora Bora, we suggest a fun and instructive visit. If you like nature and you have a bit of time, you should go see the sea turtles protection center. It’s managed by the 5-star hotel Le Méridien, located on a motu. There, you’ll discover the work of the caregivers who take care of injured sea turtles to set them free. In addition to having a good time, you will do a good deed since the funds collected will be used for the development of the center and the protection of the turtles.
[The Méridien is currently under renovation and the center is not accessible].
If you’re staying at this hotel, the visit of the center and the feeding session is free (of course, donations are welcomed). Otherwise, you can also pay for the visit, which will give you access to all the other facilities of the hotel for the day (pool, beach…). For an extra fee, you can even help with some treatments and swim with the turtles!
Price & Online Booking : Sea turtles protection center (prices and booking by email indicated on this page)
Other things to do and see in Bora Bora (activities, excursions, attractions, visits...)
In addition to the activities listed in our TOP 10, you’re looking for other things to do and see in Bora Bora? Here are some other ideas:
- Sunsets, meals and meetings: this article highlights activities specific to Bora Bora. However, like everywhere in Polynesia, make sure you take the time to admire sunrises and sunset, exchange with the locals and enjoy some delicious traditional meals.
- Observation or swim with the whales: between July and November, Polynesia welcomes many whales in its waters. You’ll then get the chance to observe some of them off Bora Bora and maybe even get in the water to swim with them. However, whales are more numerous and more easily observable around Moorea (or in the Austral Archipelago, but it is less likely that you will go there). Therefore, we advise you to do this activity there and spend your time on other things in Bora Bora. And if you are lucky enough to come across a whale during a boat trip, it will be a great bonus! Lien
- Skydiving: if you have the budget and you’re looking for an adrenaline shot, you should definitely go skydiving. The view is amazing and the experience unforgettable! Know that it’s also possible to skydive from Moorea at a way more interesting price. Lien
- Fish in the lagoon: as in almost all the islands of Polynesia, you can hop on a small boat and go fishing. This experience allowing you to get in contact with locals is quite expensive though. Lien
- Kitesurf lessons: if you want to learn kitesurf, you can do so in Bora Bora! The lagoon obviously offers a great playground but once again, this activity is a little more expensive here than on the other islands. Your choice to make! Lien
Travel tips to visit Bora Bora and organize your trip (hotels, sightseeing tours...)
Book accomodation in Bora Bora: you’ll find the greatest choice on Booking (for hotel rooms) or Airbnb ( for appartments).
Book travel activities in Bora Bora: you can book all the best activities online on Viator (american website – many offers and sightseeing tours), Get Your guide (european website – our favorite choice with lots of good offers), Tiqets (european website – great one to book tickets for museums or attractions) or Ceetiz (european website with a large offer of activities worldwide and many promotions)
Book a flight to Bora Bora: you will generally find best prices on Skyscanner.
Book and airport transfer in Bora Bora: save time by using the usefull Airport Shuttle
Rent a car in Bora Bora: it is important to make a booking before departure, as prices on site are much higher than those displayed online. We advise you to use Rentalcars.
Book a travel insurance (can be important)
Check our other "TOP 10 activities" wordwide - Best Things to do
As an American, Florent is in charge of the English website. He’s been travelling for years and already lived in 5 different countries. Francois and Caro are the ones you will see the most on the pictures. Indeed, we are an international team composed of travellers from different cultures and countries. We think it’s the best way to find and highlight the best activities each destination can offer!