We flew Air New Zealand from LA to Tahiti and then on to Bora Bora. The service and comfort (we flew Economy) on Air New Zealand was exceptionally good. Not only did the seats recline as usual but as they reclined the seat bottom moved forward giving added support to the upper thighs. There was also a retractable foot rest. The flight attendants came around quite often offering H2O and juice for proper hydration. The food was excellent and there was a tea and coffe service following the meal and they used lovely teapots and coffee pots...and we were in economy.
I highly recommend Air New Zealand.
Our flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora and back was great and always on time. There are no assign seating on the flight, so seat where ever you want. You are served a fruit juice during the 50min flight.
This is one of the best airlines to go from the US to Tahiti and back. We left from Los Angeles. The flight to Tahiti was great. All the seats have their own TVs and you can watch as many movies as you like or play games. The flight to Tahiti was about 9hrs.
The flight back to the US was not so great. Although the flight was in the tarmac and ready to fly, it was delayed by more than an hour and a half so we missed our connecting flight in LAX. The pilot never came apologized about the delay or try to make up the time in the air........but why would he, right? They were heading to Paris next and probably didnt care much about the passanger that had connecting flights in LAX.
You reach Bora Bora by air, ferry, or cruise ship.
Cruise ships anchor off the Vaitape wharf, and you are shuttled to the island by tender.
Interisland ferries dock at Farepiti Point, about 3 km north of Vaitape. If you are lucky and the information is true, there should be a Le Truck bus service to Vaitape after a ferry’s arrival. (See more information in my tip about Le Truck.)
You can also travel on a cargo ship from Papeete (not daily). The route is Papeete – Huahine – Raiatea – Tahaa – Bora Bora, and return. You can find useful information about this in the chapter about French Polynesia in the Lonely Planet guide (also online).
The airport is on a motu (= an outlying small island along the reef), the Motu Mute, north of the island. You can fly in from Tahiti (best views from an window seat on the left side of the airplane), Moorea, Huahine, and Raiatea (best view on the right side of the plane), also flights to the Tuamotus. Take care if you want to visit remote islands like Rangiroa. There are daily flights out of Bora Bora but less frequent flights back.
All flights include a free boat trip through the lagoon to Vaitape. From there you have to arrange a pick-up service with your accommodation or take a taxi.
If you want to fly in from outside French Polynesia, you have to fly to Tahiti (Papeete) first, and then take an internal flight (Air Tahiti) to Bora Bora. There are half a dozen flights daily.
Car rental rates are just mad, and they know it. Otherwise they would not rent them for 2, 4, 8 and 24 hours at different rates.
I can give you the Avis rates for low and high season. Rates below are for the low season. Add about 550 CFP for high season. All rates in CFP (Euro).
2 hours 12,000 (101)
4 hours 14,000 (118)
Four seater, manual, with aircondition (Panda)
2 hours 9000 (76 Euro)
4 hours 10,850 (91)
8 hours 12,300 (104)
24 hours 13,500 (114)
(about 1500 cheaper without A/C)
Five seater, automatic, with A/C
9500 (80 Euro)
Fare Piti Rent-a-car lists its rates as follows:
3,800 CFP (US$ 31) for the smallest car for 2 hours, to $10,700 CFP (US$ 91 US) for a big car for 24 hours.
Other Car Rental Companies are:
Fredo Fils Rent-a-Car
(I think Fredo also has accommodation…)
Obviously a timetable for those buses which are typical on the French Polynesian islands does exist. But you cannot count on it.
They say that the timetable is adjusted to the ferry schedules and the school hours, so at least if you arrive by ferry you have rather a good chance to get a bus to your hotel if it is in Matira – and perhaps no chance if you arrive during school holidays.
We were cycling around the island for several hours but did not see a single bus on regular service, only two or three with cruise ship passengers on organised round the island tours.
Best you arrange ground transportation with your hotel, some have free pick-up service, others do charge you.
Taxis are very expensive.
There is a cheap alternative but I do not know if I should really recommend it. Some fellow cruise ship travellers took a ride on a so-called minibus. This was in fact a SVU, and they sat on plastic chairs on the tray… Although we have seen the locals travel like this on all islands we visited, I do not want to imagine what happens if the driver has to brake suddenly… A ride from Vaitape to Matira point (about 6 km) cost between 2 and 3 Euro.
Some guesthouses/hotels rent bicycles for little money, this is the perfect alternative once you have arrived.
The problem with hitchhiking is not the danger you could put yourself in – but just the fact that about nobody would stop to give you a lift. Of course, there will be exceptions, but just do not expect it.
A small plane flying Moorea to Bora Bora, but a bit bigger than the small plane connecting Papeete to Moorea. The company offers a refreshing fruit juice to enjoy during the flight. The landscape is marvellous from up there : spots of brown earth delicately set on turquoise lagoons, that’s what you’ll see during 45 minutes.
We had a short stop on Raiatea before we finally landed on Bora Bora.
The landing is really a unique experience. The tiny airport is set on an islet, Motu Mute, and the transfer to the main island or other motus is a pleasant boat trip, which gives you a first approach of the island from the distance.
Some locals call it a “tape-fesses”…Well, you will experience every bump of the road, that’s for sure :-) It is not really cheaper than a car, but a lot funnier ! If you’re good, you can reach a peak of 40 to 50 km/h :-)
You can rent a buggy from a few hours to a full day, in every car rental.
And just to give you an idea of how bad the roads are on Bora, click on the second picture : each dash of sand hides a hole in the macadam...
Once you’ve got off the plane and walked the short distance to the pier, you won’t believe your eyes ! The landscape that stretches in front of you is unbelievable…colours are simply magical…
A shuttle boat will bring you to Vaitape, the capital of Bora. (Special shuttles will pick up the passengers to hotels on other motus).
During 20 minutes we enjoyed gorgeous views on Faanui bay and on the numerous overwater bungalows, lagoons and palm trees of the luxury hotels set in the motus around Bora.
A great start to discover the island :-)
So what is the dilemna that you face when you go to a tropical island? You want to rent a vehicle to see the "other" side of the island, but you fear the safety of a scooter, but don't want to be stuffed into a car with no air conditioning. The Be-Up on Bora Bora was a great way to feel safe, yet still enjoy the convertible lifestyle! Sarah and I took this little mini car around the island, and had it up to as high as 65 km/hr. In just under an hour, we had encircled the island, and used it for a total of three hours. It was nice to go to some of the shops outside of walking distance, and also to enjoy the beautiful views that you will see in my other tips!
Sarah and I enjoy the cruising lifestyle as much as the next person, but there is one place where cruising would be at its most extravagant. Bora Bora is a beautiful island, and one of the highest end cruise ships was in port during our stay. Radisson Seven Seas' ship, the Paul Gaugin appeared to have the beautiful appeal to make a cruise ship look sophisticated.
Although we were not on this boat, I think that you would definitely enjoy cruising through French Polynesia.
If you are going to be staying at the Bora Bora Nui Resort, you will enjoy the spoils of your high end rack rate for the suite you purchased. We were absolutely stunned when we were picked up by a yacht, and we were the only ones they were picking up!
A moist vanilla scented towel to wipe your face, fresh bottled water, heart shaped corn muffins and an informative LCD TV on things to do in Bora Bora are in store with you here.
I personally think that the catamaran was really designed with French Polynesia, and especially Bora Bora in mind. As you enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the sunshine of the South Pacific, you can see many experienced sailors carelessly soaking in the sunshine while easing these beautiful seacraft around the reef. Although we were not here long enough to experience it, Bora Bora offers many sunset cruises for couples to enjoy!
One of the most common ways to make it to Bora Bora is by air. Bora Bora is in a unique situation where the airport actually resides on its own private motu (island). The Motu Mute is the official name of the Island that holds the Bora Bora airport, and some wonderful views can be experienced on the way in. Although every flight pattern is different, we were very satisfied with the views from the right side of our airplane on the transfer from Moorea. We took a morning flight on Air Tahiti and were able to snap some great pictures.
Each hotel and pension has its own "le truck" or mini-van service between the hotel and the boat dock in Vaitape or Faanui, coordinating their runs with the arrivals and departures of Air Tahiti and the inter-island ferries. Some of them may stop for you if you flag them down, but there is no official public transportation service on the island.
Motu Tehotu, 98730, French Polynesia
Good for: Couples
Motu Ome'e BP 506, Bora Bora, 98730, French Polynesia
Good for: Business
I would highly recommend the Interncontinental Thalasso Resort & Spa if you enjoy luxury amenities....more