ROL Cruise recommends…
1. Savour sensational swimming and snorkelling
No sooner will you have stepped ashore than you’ll want to head back out in the water again – but this time in your swimming kit. The gorgeous aquamarine sea reaches up to 86°F (30°C) in these parts, making swimming in the expansive lagoon – three times the size of the island's landmass – impossible to resist. Take a quick dip and you will be surrounded by multicoloured tropical fish, of which nearly 500 different species live in the Tahitian islands. Once you’ve got the taste for it, venturing out on a snorkelling tour becomes a must-do. You’ll get to explore the multi-hued lagoon and golden coral banks that surround Bora Bora, gaze at rays and moray eels, and be awestruck by the over-the-water bungalows that dot the coastline. There is also a fenced-off area dubbed the Lagoonarium, where food is given to attract stingrays (whose barbs have been removed) and non-threatening black-tipped sharks.
2. Set off on a superb cycle ride
Delightfully simple to navigate, following the island’s main road takes you on a 30km loop of unbroken, eye-popping coastline. It can be seen from a hire car or motorised buggy but if you’re feeling sprightly, the more affordable and rewarding mode of transport is undoubtedly a rented bike (a number of shops have them displayed outside). Smell the mangos on the trees as you leisurely look out at the stunning surrounding islets, grab a freshly baked snack from a roadside stall, or pull over for photos at the extraordinary viewing points on the way. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road, so take the clockwise route and you’ll hug the coast on a relaxed, predominately flat, three-hour jaunt.
3. Dine out in spectacular style
As you breeze barefoot across the soft sand floor that’s inside at Bloody Mary’s, glance around at your fellow diners before you take your seat. Not only does Bora Bora’s hippest restaurant boast a menu of beautifully prepared fresh seafood and the finest cuts of meat, its clientele includes movie megastars like Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz and Keanu Reeves. To prove it, outside you will see a wooden wall with a list of the dozens of celebrities who have dined there. When you make a dinner reservation, aim to get to the Povia Bay establishment early to enjoy Mai Tai rum cocktails at the bar, or opt for the tomato-based beverage after which the restaurant is named. A little up the coast is the similarly fabulous Mai Kai, with a winner in the form of the local speciality, poisson cru – raw tuna marinated in coconut milk and lime juice. Nearby is Restaurant le Saint-James, which serves excellent duck and beef dishes.
4. Be floored by the sights from a 4x4
Rising from the surface of the turquoise blue lagoon, the brilliant green of foliage-covered Mount Otemanu is a majestic sight. Bora Bora’s highest peak is a remnant of an ancient volcano and climbs up to a sharp point at 727m. While the rugged roads and ridges can be tackled on a daring hike, taking a 4x4 tour of the inner island is a stress-free way to see panoramic views from on high. The company Vavau 4x4 Adventures boasts exclusive access to steep private roads that afford outstanding vistas. But any tour will leave you with incredible memories of getting up close to tropical fauna and overlooking the beautiful bays, eye-catching islets and snow white beaches.