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Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia
Located 160 miles (257 kilometres) northwest of Tahiti, Bora Bora is the epitome of an idyllic South Pacific island. Emerald-green hills and crystalline blue lagoons highlight the spectacular beauty of this once quiet retreat, now a favourite destination for tourists, hotel entrepreneurs, and film producers. During World War II, 4,500 U.S. troops were stationed on Bora Bora. In 1977, an army of Italian filmmakers descended on the island for the filming of the movie Hurricane and most recently, the Vince Vaughn film Couples Retreat was shot here.
James Michener, author of Tales of the South Pacific, called Bora Bora ‘the most beautiful island on earth’. Painters and artists are equally enthralled by its seductive power.
The island is 20 miles (32 kilometres) in circumference and a round-the-island tour can take from 90 minutes to several hours depending on the conveyance used and number of stops made. The island's major community is Vaitape Village, which features most of area’s shops and boutiques. Scattered across Bora Bora are a number of maraes, or ancient Polynesian temple ruins, that are worth visiting. Tours by jeep into the rugged interior are equally popular, especially for World War II buffs. Swimming, snorkelling, diving and various other water-related activities are also popular with guests.
The ship is scheduled to anchor off Bora Bora. Guests will be taken ashore via ship’s tender to the Vaitape Pier. The village is within walking distance of the pier. Taxis are generally available for trips around the island and bicycles can be rented near the pier.
There are a number of small boutiques in Vaitape selling black coral jewellery, pearls, t-shirts, and resort wear. The ‘Gallery’ features upscale handicrafts by local artists. A pareo
, the brightly- coloured wrap-around, makes for an attractive souvenir. Some shops close between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The local currency is the Pacific Franc (XPF) but euros and U.S. dollars are generally accepted.
In addition to excellent hotel restaurants, the island abounds with other dining choices. Bloody Mary's Restaurant & Bar
, a local institution, is renowned for excellent, though pricey seafood, and as a favourite haunt of celebrities. As a less-expensive option, plenty of open-air cafés and eateries can be found in and around Vaitape.
Other SitesAmerican Gun Emplacements
Walk the trail starting across from Club Med to the rusty World War II guns that were aimed at an enemy who, fortunately, never came. It is recommended that guests be accompanied along the trail and carry water if venturing here.
Matira Beach and Park
At low tide, you can wade from the end of Matira Point directly out to the reef. Matira is known as the island’s best beach.
Silver Shore Privato
is unavailable in Bora Bora, due to the very limited number of qualified guides and suitable vehicles. Guests wishing to consider any private arrangements should enquire at Concierge@silversea.com for any availability, if even possible, and price.