We badly wanted to escape the polar vortex that hit New York last winter and  thaw out somewhere nice and warm. I was thinking of an easy hop to one of the Caribbean islands, but Keith had a grander idea in mind. Since we were going around Valentine’s Day, he wanted a destination that was not only toasty but really romantic as well. How grand and really romantic was his plan?  Well, how does island hopping in French Polynesia sound? I didn’t veto his plan.

So off we flew to Tahiti, then to Huahine and we wrapped up the island hop in Bora Bora, dubbed as the “Jewel of the South Seas” and one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic islands.

I heard some people referred to Bora-Bora as the “ultimate island paradise.”  And I used to think that those who said that probably had not yet seen many beautiful, exotic islands. But I now found myself agreeing. Within moments of arrival, the island cast a spell on me. Its beauty deeply moved me. With tears in my eyes, I remember telling my husband,  “Thank you for taking me to this paradise.” View of Bora Bora from the plane, French Polynesia, South PacificIt was magical from the moment our plane started its descent in Bora Bora.  We were mesmerized by the sight of spectacular palm covered motus (islets) that surrounded the main island, and the stunning water in multi-tones of blue and green and so translucent that the coral reefs can be clearly seen through.

We found Bora Bora’s airport so delightful and exotic.  Palm trees hedged the end of the runway.  Even the baggage claim area was so picturesque; it’s outdoor and set against the backdrop of a pretty beach.Bora Bora Aiport, French Polynesia, South PacificOutside the airport terminal, boats instead of cars await the passengers. After being welcomed by our hotel staff with leis, the hotel’s private boat whisked us out of the airport into the enthralling lagoon and into our lovely hotel.

Colorful Water and Islets of Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificBora Bora’s fabled blue lagoon is  “So stunning, that there are really no adequate words to describe it” said novelist James A. Michener.  And I’d like to add that there’s no picture that can really capture it.

Mountain in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificOur first full view of the majestic twin peaks of Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu that lie within the center of the island and are the remnants of one extinct volcano.

Overwater-Bungalow-Hlton-Bora-Bora-Nui-Resort-Spa-Bora-Bora-French-Polynesia-South-PacificWe were filled with awe as we arrived in our home in Bora Bora, the Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa. Situated in a motu by itself and nestled between the lagoon and the ocean, it was absolutely breathtaking.

Overwater Bungalow, Hlton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific.

Overwater Bungalow, Hliton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific

Overwater Bungalow, Hlton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific.On the balcony of our overwater villa.

Over Water Bungalow, Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa, French PolynesiaWe loved and really enjoyed our over overwater villa. It was lovely, very private, with a great uninterrupted view of the ocean and the horizon, and really romantic. The glass windows on the floor were fantastic features.

Over Water Bungalow, Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa, French PolynesiaEnjoying the calming sight of the villas and the water in early evening.

Over Water Bungalow, Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa, French PolynesiaWe chose this resort not only because it’s beautiful and romantic, but also because of its eco-conscious initiatives. Each bungalow is powered by solar panels that are placed on the rooftop. It has also implemented Biorock technology to spearhead coral reef preservation.

Over Water Bungalow, Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa, French Polynesia

Overwater-Bungalow-Hlton-Bora-Bora-Nui-Resort-Spa-Bora-Bora-French-Polynesia-South-PacificIt was very meditative sitting by our little pier each morning looking at the peaceful water and sky and watching fish and rays swim by.

In our first morning, we woke to a sound of loud splashing underneath our villa. We thought someone was snorkeling by. We run down and saw that it was a big school of fish jumping up and down the water. It was an amazing sight.

Overwater Bungalow, Hlton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific.We also enjoyed taking a walk around the motu every morning.  It was very relaxing and peaceful. And did I say really romantic and beautiful?

Beach in Hlton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific.

Relaxation, Hlton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific.

Overwater Bungalow, Hlton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific We heard people say that there wasn’t much to do in Bora Bora. Being active,  that was something we were not too excited about. But we found that there was actually a lot to do. Within our resort alone, there were wide array of activities to keep us busy – other than lazing on the beach and luxuriating at the spa, there was paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, jetskiing, etc.  There were also a great variety of outside activities we wanted to sign up for. Whether we got to do all of them was another story.

Lagoon Safari in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificOn one of the days, we went for an exhilarating lagoon safari which took us around the island. We stopped in several places to feed rays and sharks and to snorkel, and we ended in a picnic on a private and romantic motu.

Shark Feeding during Lagoon Safari in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificA big school of reef shark surrounded our boat as soon as our skipper threw a small fish into the water.

Snorkeling during Lagoon Safari in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificWe got off the boat in a rather shallow water to check out what was going on underneath.

(One of the most popular attractions in Bora Bora is swimming with the sharks and rays in Lagoonarium. Be warned that the marine life there is caged.  Why see them in a captive environment when you can enjoy them in their natural habitat? )

Snorkeling during Lagoon Safari in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificWe were surprised to see such richness of colorful marine life in the rather shallow water.

Snorkeling during Lagoon Safari, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific

Feeding Rays, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificKeith and our skipper, Tepeva, were surrounded by giant rays. Tepeva even gave one of them a goodbye kiss.

Snorkeling in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificWe moved into deeper water where the underworld scene was even more amazing.

Snorkeling in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificWe enjoyed swimming with reef sharks, especially these ones with little fish riding on their backs.

Snorkeling in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific

Snorkeling in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificEach place we stopped by presented different species of marine life and colors.

Lagoon in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificThe translucent and refreshing water of the lagoon.

Motu Ta, a Private Islent in Bora Bora, French Polyneisa, South PacificAt the end of our lagoon safari, we headed to this private islet called Motu Tapu, the most photographed isle in South Pacific. It was the private beach of Queen Pomare IV, who was the 4th monarch of the Kingdom of Tahiti in the 1800’s. It is now owned by Hilton Bora Bora Nui and is reserved for invited guests and those staying at the hotel.

It was wonderful and romantic to have Motu Tapu all to ourselves.  It was a perfect little paradise to relax after an active exploration of the lagoon.Picnic in Private Motu Tapu in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific The only other soul on the motu was the daughter of Tepeva (he dropped us off and came back for us) who prepared the traditional Tahitian barbeque lunch for us.  We had grilled fish, grilled chicken, sashimi fish marinated in coconut milk, salad and vegetables. It was plentiful and delicious.

Lagoon-Safari-Bora-Bora-French-Polynesia-South-PacificOn the cruise back to our hotel, Tepeva turned over the steer to his daughter, and he serenaded us with beautiful Polynesian songs.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificCruising by a verdant hill of Bora Bora.

There were more outside activities we had planned to sign up for.  We wanted to go hiking but the trails were closed due to the erosion caused by the heavy rain that fell before our arrival. We also wanted to go helmet diving, but there was only one company that offered it and they were fully booked. There were other things that we could do like deep water fishing, kitesurfing,  etc.

But then we realized that we were okay if we didn’t do much because we were happy just to do this….. Hammock in Bora Bora Nui, Bora Bora, French Polynesia,  South PacificThe calming sight of the stunning water and the delicious breeze lulled us into sweet relaxation.  Our restlessness was defeated.

The Spa at Hiton Bora Bora Nui, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificAnd for an utmost relaxing and romantic indulgence, we treated ourselves for a divine couple massage for Valentine’s Day. The resort spa location itself was so romantic. It was on top of the hill with the most splendid vista.

_34_View from The Spa at Hiton Bora Bora Nui, Bora Bora, French Polynesia,  South Pacific copyThe spectacular vista of some of the overwater bungalows and the ocean from the spa.

View from The Spa at Hiton Bora Bora Nui, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South PacificThe tantalizing view of the lagoon from the spa.

I felt so blessed to have experienced this special island with my husband. We said that it was a place we should experience once in our lifetime, but we have already decided that it warrants another visit.

Bora Bora was every bit of a paradise from everything we had seen in and around of our resort motu, but how about the mainland? Is it as much a paradise as the surrounding motus?  We explored the mainland to find out and to learn more about the people of Bora Bora, their culture and livelihood. We will share our insight with you in our next post.


Travel Notes:

  • The sun in South Pacific is much stronger than it feels. The breeze masked its intensity. We recommend that you use sunblock with higher SPF than you normally use and apply often. Bring enough supplies from home. Everything can be expensive on the islands.  Also pack aloe soothing gels, in case you get sunburns. (We wished we did.)
  • Mosquitoes also like hanging out in paradise. Don’t forget to pack insect repellants.
  • We booked our French Polynesia trip through Tahiti.com. It is convenient booking through them if you are going to several islands. We customized our itinerary and they booked all the hotels, and international and inter island flights for us. Their rep Ryan was very helpful and responsive.
  • Book popular activities (diving, aqua safari, lagoon cruises, etc)  before you arrive in Bora Bora. There are limited number of operators and they tend to get booked up.
  • Also book popular restaurants ahead of time.


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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

62 responses to “Beautiful, Romantic Bora Bora

  1. Bama

    Marisol. It’s just a big WOW. Bora Bora does seem like the ultimate paradise with that blue and turquoise water, towering peaks, and lush forests. I’m glad Keith suggested the idea at the first place. :) I just returned from a trip to the island of Flores and Komodo in eastern Indonesia and did some snorkeling myself. Looking at your photos now I regret a little bit for not having an underwater camera with me. The beauty was otherworldly down there.
    Bama recently posted..The Tale of Two TemplesMy Profile

    • Hi Bama, I’m also glad that Keith came up with the idea:) It truly is an ultimate paradise. I heard so much about the incredible diving/snorkeling opportunities in Komodo. That’s too bad you didn’t have the camera to capture it. But I’m sure it will be forever ingrained in your memories. I’d love to go there someday.

  2. Katie

    Wow – Bora Bora is just as beautiful as I imagined! It’s always been a dream to get there one day, but I was also fearful that we would get a little bored. It’s great to hear that there are things to do, and that even active people can fall into the rhythm of relaxation on such a peaceful and beautiful island.
    Katie recently posted..The quiet beach village of Pemuteran, BaliMy Profile

    • Hi Katie, It’s much more beautiful than anyone can imagine! I really hope from the bottom of my heart that you get to go there soon. I’m sure you will enjoy the diving or just doing nothing:)

  3. This is what I call “beach vacation”! I am relaxed by looking at these photos! Amazingly romantic place and incredible photo coverage, Marisol!

    • Thanks Alex, I’m glad that these photos give you some relaxation despite already being in a relaxing beach of Rio.

  4. You’ve captured the magic just as I remembered it from our brief introduction on a cruise stop last year. Beautiful photos as always, you two!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..Summer’s Sizzling in GreeceMy Profile

    • Hi Jackie, thank you! I thought of you when we went to the port where the cruise ships docked. I hope you get to come back sometime soon and spend more time.

  5. this is the most epic of photo essays! Wow, just look at all those shots. What camera do you use?! Specifically, for the underwater shots? I’m a water junkie so seeing all those snorkeling photos made me go gaga.

    I hear that Bora Bora is extremely expensive though, is that true? I always said that when I go, I’m going to go on a cruise instead to get a taste of each of the islands, then before flying out, stay at an overwater Villa just for one night in order to experience it (and save a lot of money). What’s your take on that?

    -Maria Alexandra
    Maria Alexandra @LatinAbroad recently posted..It’s official: I’m moving to INDONESIA, studying in Malang for a year!My Profile

    • Hi Maria Alexandra, thank you! Glad you enjoyed the photos. We used Canon 5D Mark II for above water shots and Olympus Stylus TOUGH TG-3 for underwater shots.
      Yes, Bora Bora is on an expensive side but totally worth it. I don’t think you’ll get a real taste of each island if you go on a cruise because they make very short stop in each island. I suggest you research and choose few islands and spend more time in each to get the real taste of them. Save the overwater bungalow for Bora Bora because that’s where you will experience it the best.

  6. Agness

    You simply killed me with these pictures. Absolutely stunning! You know what… while I was reading your post and admiring your photography I was thinking of Bora Bora being my honeymoon destination! What do you think of this idea? I’m still a solo traveler, but who knows what will happen in the future :)!
    Agness recently posted..55 Travel Selfies From Around The WorldMy Profile

    • Hi Agness, I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the photos. I think it’s a great idea. Bora Bora is an ultimate honeymoon destination. Most of the people we met during the trip were, in fact, honeymooners. I’m sure something will happen in the future:)

  7. jan

    There are so many beautiful photos here. At first I thought my favourites were the underwater shots – I always like seeing what happens beneath the water. But then I saw Tepeva singing in the boat and thought what a wonderful photo that is. One that will always take you back to that moment. :)
    jan recently posted..Cengelkoy in a hook of the Bosphorus in IstanbulMy Profile

    • Thanks Jan. So true that Tepeva singing for us in the boat is one our favorite memories and that shot truly bring us back to that moment.

  8. WOW!!! These pictures are so gorgeous and makes me want to go there right now! I can’t believe you so that much ocean wildlife while snorkeling… I’m so jealous! I’d love to go to Bora Bora someday too… it looks like the ultimate luxury getaway!
    Anna | slightly astray recently posted..South America Instagram Round-upMy Profile

    • Hi Anna, thank you! It truly is the ultimate romantic and luxury getaway. I really hope that you get there sometime soon.

  9. This is one of those posts that makes me want to book flights and a hotel immediately. Amazing trip!! What a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and escape the chill of NY.

    • Hi Michelle, it really was amazing. Looking at the photos makes me miss Bora Bora and makes me want to book a flight back myself.

    • Hi Chanel, it sure was. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Hi Noel, it was truly a wonderful treat. Hope you and your camera will have chance to get there soon.

  10. Stunning pictures as usual, Marisol! You always take the best photos. I especially love that one of the twin peaks – wow! I loved Tahiti and can’t wait to return one of these days with Jave. When I went, I didn’t make it to Bora Bora, but I’ve always heard such great things. Your pictures are very telling of the island’s beauty, and I’m looking forward to your next post!
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted..The Lure of AvignonMy Profile

    • Hi Dana, thank you! Bora Bora is truly stunning. I hope you get a chance to visit with Jave soon. If you love Tahiti you will love Bora Bora 10x more!

    • Hi Aleah, thanks! Bora Bora is actually a lot more beautiful than what any picture can who. Keep pinning them though – and I’m pretty sure they will take you there sometime soon.
      Marisol recently posted..Beautiful, Romantic Bora Bora My Profile

  11. WOW!!!! Every time I see a picture of Bora Bora I cannot help but salivate. I’m sure it’s one of those few places where you say, IT’S BETTER, PRETTIER IN PERSON!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing this.
    Photo Cache recently posted..Capitola: Artistic TilesMy Profile

    • Hi Maria, you’re so right — it’s definitely much more beautiful in person. I haven’t seen any photo that captured it true beauty.

  12. Romer

    So amazing! I feel like I can reach out and touch everything in those pictures. Can’t wait to visit.

    • Hi Romer, it truly is so amazing. I hope you and Bruce and can make it there soon. You will love it.

  13. The pictures are absolutely stunning! it is indeed the ultimate paradise.

    • Marisol

      Thanks Rachel! Yes, it truly is.

  14. ladyfi

    Oh my – it’s paradise! Gorgeous pictures of this slice of heaven.

    • Marisol

      Thanks Fiona! It really is a slice of heaven.

  15. Magnus

    Just wonderful photos and great readings

  16. What a gift that any such place exists! Your photos and the gratitude expressed in your words really touched me. Bora Bora is as close as I can imagine to Paradise. For once, that word is not a cliché.

    • Marisol

      Hi Carol, you’re as sweet as your posts. I agree that it is a gift of a place. I’m touched that the post touched you. You’re right that it is not a cliche after all.

    • Marisol

      Hi Molly, I’m glad you agree.

  17. Mike

    Marisol and Keith, I’m just speechless with awe and envy. Since I was a little boy in 1978 when I read an article on Tahiti in National Geographic I haven’t wanted to go. I haven’t made it yet but it is my #2 life travel bucket list. The Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort has been where I wanted to stay in Bora, Bora since it was built! Of course I was drooling at ever single picture. I actually stayed on your post for almost 30 minutes just staring at every detail. The underwater pictures are out of this world awesome!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
    Mike recently posted..A Grilled Veggie Pizza Delight From Last Winter!My Profile

    • Marisol

      Oh dear Mike, after all the upheavals you have gone through, I think you deserve to treat yourself to #2. I truly wish from the bottom of my heart that you get to visit sometime soon. It’s a special place that a special person like you deserve to experience. I’m sure Phoenix would agree.

  18. Leigh

    Looks like you had another magical travel experience. Your wonderful photos are testament to how beautiful it is.

    Now for the downer part of my comment. I kayaked Rangiroa for about a week (via a short plane ride from Tahiti) – staying in a tent – and frying in the sun so badly even with zinc oxide that my legs swelled up. Despite looking like paradise my trip was hell. However, if I had a comfortable bed, great food and a romantic week with my husband, my view might change considerably. DO NOT GO KAYAKING for a week. We did swim with sharks and there were some very lovely experiences but overall I try and blank out that trip.
    Leigh recently posted..What to do on a Trip to Fogo Island, NewfoundlandMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Lei, it was truly magical! Oh, that’s too bad about your frying experience. One hard lesson learned for us was also how intense the heat in South Pacific was. We had the worst sunburn of our lives. We didn’t realize how bad it was until we got home. We heard some cases of sun poisoning. Now we know how it can easily happen. Yours must be bad for you to blank out that trip.

    • Marisol

      Hi Rajlakshmi, you’re very welcome. Yes, it truly was a fabulous experience.

  19. Marisol, I’ve always shied away from island vacations, because of the lack of things to do but it sounds like that really isn’t a problem at all on Bora Bora. It sure does look like paradise. Your photos, as always are stunning. How long was your stay? Was it enough? Too much?
    Corinne recently posted..Making New Friends on Lake GenevaMy Profile

    • Marisol

      HI Corinne, this is the kind of island that you can be as active as you want or as lazy as you want. It’s great to have both options We were there for 5 days. We thought it would be too much but on the last day we thought we could use some more days – just to be lazy.

  20. Freya

    It indeed looks like the ultimate paradise, wow so beautiful just stunning.

    I love those photos of the marine life, wow I would love to go snorkeling there.

    Magical is indeed the right word to describe this place. I added it to my wish list.
    Freya recently posted..EBC Trek Day 2: Phakding to MonjoMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Freya, you will love it there for sure. You know, you can hike there, too! It’s worthy of being on your list.

  21. Marcia

    Marisol & Keith, my only question is, how do you return to your life (and work) after this? I’m sure you’re still daydreaming about it. Bora Bora is breathtakingly beautiful and so romantic – your photos are stunning!
    And Keith, you the man! I was chatting with a girlfriend today and she was complaining about how tired she was having to always plan their trips because her husband never does. He could take some pointers from you.

    • Marisol

      Hi Marcia, it wasn’t easy. Ha! Ha! Yes, Keith earned big points here.; I think I’l keep him.

    • Marisol

      Hi Kendra, it was a perfect escape! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  22. Scenic, dreamlike… and, at the edge of the World!

  23. Nick

    Am adding Bora Bora into my bucket list… Looks like a perfect place to live. How are the local people? Friendly i guess

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