Traveling here in 2017, Amanda can speak firsthand to the French Polynesian Islands' beauty. While Bora Bora is known as a romantic paradise, the moment you step on the boat to your over-the-water bungalow, a calm washes over you. From beautiful beaches to mouth-watering food to healthy air and an unpolluted environment, Bora Bora has all this...but what makes it a paradise is that there are no poisonous insects or snakes. You can sleep on the beach without risking a snake bite!
Did you know that Bora Bora is one of the most secluded islands on the planet? To demonstrate this, picture this: the Island of Hawaii gets more visitors in 10 days than French Polynesia in a whole year.
The language: French may be the official language of Tahiti, but the Tahitian te roa language is widely spoken by locals. It includes only 16 letters and 1,000 words, so it's relatively simple to learn. Some simple words to know before you go are...
Hello: Ia Ora na – pronounced yo-rah-nah
Welcome: Maeva – pronounced mah-ay-vah. This word isn't quite the same as the basic greeting of "hello." It's typically used when welcoming someone into your home or space.
Goodbye: Nana – pronounced nah-nah
Flying: French Polynesia is only 8 hours from LA. It’s closer than you think and well worth the trip. Upon arriving in Papeete, you will most likely be welcomed at the airport by dancing locals receiving flower greetings. So, if you plan your trip and have some spare time, you might want to add a day or two in Papeete to explore the area before taking the puddle jumper over to Bora Bora.
Hotels: Upon arriving in Bora Bora, you will take a boat to your hotel. It’s hard to pick a favorite hotel as they are all so unique in their way. There is so much more to do than sit on the beach. Everyone speaks English (and French), the cuisine is fresh, and there are so many things to keep you busy!
Le Meridien has its Turtle Sanctuary and Ecology program. This was the first resort built in Bora Bora and has the best views of Mount Otemanu.
St. Regis is a large property where you can ride on bikes from one area to the next. And there are always bikes at hand (imagine a Citi bike but on an island). The famous Lagoon by Jean-Georges restaurant is here, so the it may be worth the trip even if you don’t stay on property.
The Four Seasons and Conrad both have excellent spas. The Four Seasons has an entire healing center on the property with relaxation lounges, yoga, and much more.
TIP: Splurge on the overwater bungalow. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sitting by your little pier each morning can be so calming, looking at the peaceful water and sky and watching fish and rays swim by. Amanda woke to loud splashing underneath her villa one morning on the island. Thinking someone was snorkeling by, she looked down to see it was an octopus and a big school of fish jumping up and down the water. What a site to see!
Wear Sunscreen: The sun in the South Pacific is much stronger than it feels. The breeze masked its intensity. Use sunblock with higher SPF than you usually 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 sunburned; mosquitoes also like hanging out in paradise. Don’t forget to pack insect repellent!
Food Recommends: No trip to Bora Bora would be complete without dining at Bloody Mary’s. It isn’t just a restaurant; it’s an experience. You walk on sand floors, sit on coconut stools, and choose your meal from the fresh catch as you enter. Don’t forget to check out the bathroom stalls. They are quite a treat, too, and you must check out yourself!
Activities: Bora Bora focuses more on water-based activities like jet-skiing, snorkeling with sharks and stingrays, and sailing. We recommend pre-booking your tours, as it’s nice not to have to worry about planning anything once you are on the island. Amanda with Live Well Travel can assist with that well in advance, so all you have to do is relax and enjoy!
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding- Ever done it? Paddle boards are everywhere on this island, and it’s one of my favorite water workouts. Did you know you could burn 300-over 400 calories an hour when paddle boarding? They even have lessons at some of the resorts for it.
Water bikes- Where else would you enjoy riding than in tropical paradise? Only some resorts have them, but if you are lucky enough to be on a resort with one, try it out.
Health Tip: Tahitians embrace nature and everything that happens in all its facets and have a great appreciation and positive perspective on life. Thus, Bora Bora can be an incredible experience if you are focused on rejuvenating your mind, body, and soul. As an avid traveler and lover of total wellness, it’s one destination where you can fall in love with healthy living.
Contact me to book your trip, email me, and follow my adventures on Instagram @LiveLifewellmanyways.
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