• BILLABONG TRAVELS: BORA BORA, TAHITI

Lush tropical slopes turn into valleys blossoming with hibiscus, while palm-covered motu surround crystal clear lagoons. Perfect white-sand beaches give way to emerald waters where coloured fish animate the coral gardens as they greet the giant manta rays. This Bora Bora. With sand between our toes, salt in our hair, sun on our skin and our favourite bikinis, we explored the beautiful island paradise.

Hightlights:
• Swim with the majestic lemon sharks among thousands of fish and coral gardens
• Hike Mount Pahia, most trails wind their way up the lush hillside from Faanui. At 2300ft, Mount Otemanu is the idyllic backdrop of Bora Boras most famous vista and best viewed from below.
• Boat trips out to neighbouring islands like Raiatéa or Taha'a.
• Rent a bike from Vaitape, the main town on Bora Bora and explore the island around the ring road.
• Visit the Farm Bora Pearl Company. Diving down with local farmers to see how Tahitian pearls are grown and harvested is a fantastic cultural education. So delicate in their work, guides will show you the full process, from seeding the oysters to creating the stunning pieces of wearable art for sale at their nearby shops.
• Hit the beach! Matira Beach (the only public beach on the island) is a beautiful mile stretch of incredibly soft, white sand at the southern tip of Bora Bora Island. The water is crystal clear and we’d have to say it's one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Often called the Aquarium, you can snorkel right off the beach; two of the best spots are located at the northern point. Bring your snorkel gear and frolic among the colourful coral and the overwhelming number of tropical fish!
• Make Polynesian handicrafts with local craftspeople or ‘mamas’ including baskets and mats from pandanus and coconut tree leaves and Pareo or Pareu (traditional had dyed sarongs.

Stay:
Bora Bora is famous for being the ultimate island paradise. The name alone conjures up daydreams of picture perfect overwater bugalows, but there are accommodation options for every budget. We chose to stay at Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort. A quintessential beach resort, the luxury hotel sits on a sparkling beach with lush grounds dotted by hibiscus flowers and tropical blossoms.

Eat:
• Mahi Mahi burgers from Roulotte Matira just off Matrira Beach
• Tropical fruit and fresh seafood and salads from the local snack bars along the road. A great way to experience the island and more affordable than the resorts.
• At the famous Bloody Marys for fresh catch of the day. Loved the rustic vibe, think log stools and sand on the floor.

Pack:
No doubt you’ll spend most of your time in a bikini, but there’s a few other things you wont want to forget…
• Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat)
• Bug repellent - just in-case
• Phrase book or brush up on some French before you set off (the locals will appreciate your attempt at their native tongue, although most speak English)
• Reusable water bottle, you’ll stay hydrated while adventuring and help the environment at the same time!
• Snorkel and mask – you can hire them but you’ll be glad you packed a good quality set of your own!
• A breezy summer dress
• Comfy shorts
• Easy tees or a singlet
• Sandals & footwear to hike in
• Plus something a bit nicer for a fancy dinner.
• All the usual essentials in travel size: shampoo, conditioner, after-sun lotion and don’t forget your toothbrush.

Getting there:A small propeller plane will take you from the main airport in Tahiti to Bora Bora, landing on the narrow air strip lined with coconut palms feels like something from a movie! Find out more at www.airtahitinui.com

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A big thank you to tahiti-tourisme.com