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History of Bora Bora – French Polynesia

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There’s no doubt, Bora Bora is one of the most cherished vacation destinations on the planet. Just look at the breathtaking beauty and you want to go visit. And you may have wondered what a package trip to Bora Bora costs, figuring in connections from where you are, working your way either east or west until you get smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where somehow these atolls pop from beneath the surface to form mountains and atolls that are so full of great energy all things living are attracted to them (fish, birds, you.) This is why people come – it makes you feel good being here, like those “good vibrations” you’ve heard about. Let’s take a look at Bora Bora.

Bora Bora from air

Just a brief history of Bora Bora before we get to the beaches and lagoon. Don’t want to “Bora” you, but if you’re going for a visit, this is interesting to know.

History of Bora BoraBora Bora was settled by Polynesian people around the 4th century. You may be more familiar with the story of Captain James Cook, considered by many to have been the greatest of the explorers, sighting the island in 1777.

So, locals had been living there for more than 1300 years. What a shock it must have been to see Captain Cook float in.

Capt James Cook Bora BoraCook did something no previous European explorer to touch on a Polynesian island had ever done: he learned the basics of the local language, and then he used his rudimentary linguistic skills to ask how the islanders sailed and navigated their canoes, and where they voyaged.

They were able to explain how the Polynesians sailed their canoes and navigated by reference to the sun, moon, and stars, and to provide information on islands immediately surrounding Bora Bora as well as those a considerable distance away.

Polynesian sailing vesselThe early European explorers who first encountered the Polynesians could not believe that a stone age people, with only simple sailing canoes and no navigational instruments, could themselves have discovered and settled the mid-Pacific islands. Accordingly, they dreamed up elaborate theories that explained the presence of the Polynesians in the middle of the Pacific, while denying to them the ability of having reached there through their own sailing abilities.

Still, the people of Bora Bora, and French Polynesia in general, are known to be some the most friendly and hospitable on the planet. In fact, during World War II, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Bora Bora was chosen as a military supply base by the United States. They set up an oil depot, airstrip, seaplane base, and fortifications were built all around.

WWII cannon on Bora BoraBut Bora Bora never heard a shot fired. Americans went uncontested during the war. The base closed soon after in June of 1946 and it took force to remove some Americans from the island as they had fallen in love with the place and the people.

Today the island is dependent on tourism. Many high-end resorts dot the perimeter reef. Interestingly, tourists are mainly American and Japanese.

Most come to Bora Bora for a beach holiday, and are surprised to learn it is a lagoon destination with very few, narrow beaches. We’ll cover those, but we want you to see the beauty of the lagoon and our special pages on the overwater bungalows with glass floors! Bora Bora is gorgeous and awe inspiring.

Bora Bora ferryGetting to Bora Bora is fairly easy. Air Tahiti has five or six flights to Bora Bora from the island of Papeete. Since the airport here is located on a large strip of flat land, your transportation to your resort is by boat.

And you’ll know you’re in paradise when you see Bora Bora’s airport has no walls or fences. No parking lot – except for the docked boat waiting to take you and your luggage to your resort.

On the main island, you can get around by public transportation. There is one bus that goes halfway around the island every hour or so. Bicycles are the recommended method of transportation for tourists. Arrange a bike at the resort. There are golf carts for hire in Vaitape.

Bora Bora tourBora Bora is also famous for scuba diving in and around its beautiful lagoon. Many species of shark and rays can been seen. Two dive operators handle everything: Bora Bora Dive Center and Top Dive. Both offer shark feeding excursions. Brave enough?

Snorkeling is a favorite pastime. The color of the fish is bright. We’ve found that tropical fish from the Pacific are more brightly colored than those of the Caribbean or elsewhere. If and when you go, take an underwater camera (you can buy a disposable one here), and stay close to the rocks. The best formations are near rock. You’ll see fish in the sandy area, but not much else.

Bora Bora snorkeling turtleOne thing you will most likely see are turtles . They are prominent in this area and are not afraid of humans. Check around the sand and grassy areas. From your bungalow you will be able to spot a lot of marine life. Many bungalows have stairs that go down to the ocean surface.

On the site we chose not to bring you lots of those aerial lagoon shots, although those are amazing. We look to bring you the most interesting views of Bora Bora you’ll ever see. So, sit back and click through our site and enjoy – Bora Bora! Next >>

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