Last year, a travel dream of mine came true after many, many years – I finally visited beautiful Bora Bora.
I first learned about Bora Bora in a pretty unconventional way… through a VHS tape. Am I showing my age here? Anyways, my godmother lived across the street when I was younger, and her family had heaps of cool videos that my brother and I would go over and watch. One of them was ‘The Lion King’s Timon & Pumbaa’ (an excellent and underrated spin-off) and part of the storyline involved them accidentally ending up in Bora Bora. It looked SO GOOD even as a cartoon, and at the tender age of around eight years old, I decided that one day, I’d go there.
Then, in August 2017, my partner Scott and I decided to go full YOLO and go to Bora Bora. Well, we visited other parts of French Polynesia too, like Tahiti and Mo’orea, but Bora Bora was the big splurge. I found a Scoopon voucher for a 5-night stay at the beautiful Sofitel Marara Beach Resort in a deluxe overwater bungalow. I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t exactly cheap. But, it WAS a pretty good deal, so we thought ‘screw it’ and bought it.
We saved Bora Bora for the last week of our trip to French Polynesia, and after falling in love with the other islands, I was so ready to fall madly in love with Bora Bora. And I absolutely did.
Here are a few memories from our week in paradise…
When we arrived, we were picked up at the airport by our resort. We travelled for around 15 minutes around the sparkling blue lagoon before the boat pulled up at the Sofitel Marara Beach’s sister resort – the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island. The boat driver grabbed our bags and put them on the jetty, and we got very confused.
“Hmm, I think we’re supposed to be staying at the Marara Beach Resort,” I told him. He shrugged and replied, “It says you’re staying here, just head up to reception and they’ll sort you out”. Well, okay then! The Sofitel Private Island was around two thousand dollars more than what we paid to stay on the mainland (yes, two THOUSAND more) so we were a little confused.
There was another traveller with us, and she told us that she too had booked to stay on the mainland, but her travel agent had advised that some of their overwater bungalows had been damaged in a storm so she’d been upgraded for free to the private island. She figured that is probably what happened to us, too.
We certainly were NOT complaining!
So we checked in, and the beautiful woman handling our reservation didn’t say anything about an upgrade or acted like anything was out of the ordinary. She gave us a wet cloth, a flower lei and a fresh coconut while she checked us in.
After the paperwork was done, she led us down towards the overwater bungalows. I could hardly contain my excitement – it was seriously like a dream come true. As we walked down the footpath, I noticed one bungalow stood out from the rest. Located at the end of the walkway, it had uninterrupted views of the island. Could that be OUR bungalow?
It WAS our bungalow! Oh boy, it was hard to control myself as the lovely lady showed us around our incredible bungalow, and as soon as she left we cracked open the complimentary bottle of champagne and jumped all over the enormous king sized bed. Then, we stepped outside to our private deck, and watched the sun set over the island.
The next week was spent pretty simply; we explored the tiny island on a scooter, we jumped off our private deck into the lagoon, we went snorkelling in the coral gardens, we kayaked around the resort, we drank plenty of cocktails and ate so, so many delicious meals. The entire time I kept wondering just how I got so lucky.
I still cannot get over the colour of the water. It was SO blue, so vibrant, and so full of life. As we walked around the lagoon, we could spot plenty of baby black tip reef sharks, fish aplenty, and even a few spotted leopard rays that were either fighting or mating right next to our bungalow. What a time!
The coolest thing about Bora Bora is Mount Otemanu. It’s the highest point on the island, and is the remnant of an ancient volcano (how cool is that?) 👌🏼 The most magical part, however, is how unique and different the mountain looks from different angles 🙉 It can be seen from every part of the island & looks like a completely different peak from different spots ⛰ SO COOL!!
It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies and baby blues, though. Everything you’ve heard about Bora Bora being expensive is absolutely true. We expected this, and budgeted for it, but it was still ridiculous. I paid $40 AUD for a bowl of risotto that was about the size of a burger at our resort. Since we were staying on the private island, we were pretty limited in our options. There was a free boat to the mainland (it only took a few minutes) and we could go to the restaurants at the Sofitel Marara Beach Resort, but the prices weren’t much cheaper, if at all!
Another thing we didn’t expect was the wind. Oh man, the wind.
It was ridiculously windy. I’m not talking about a light breeze that blows your towel up every few minutes. I’m talking about gale force, strong winds that prevented us from doing a lot of things. It feels wrong to complain about this, but it really did have an impact our trip – first world problems, am I right?
I couldn’t even sit on our private deck half the time, because the winds were so strong that my book kept almost flying out of my hands completely. We couldn’t leave our towels unattended on the deck either, or they’d end up in the lagoon. The winds lasted almost the entire time we were there, but as frustratingly annoying as they were, we tried not to let it bother us.
In all, Bora Bora was a spectacular place to visit, and I still thank my lucky stars every day that I was able to travel there. Although they say that Bora Bora is a ‘once in a lifetime’ travel experience, I am determined to get back there one day!
Have you ever been to Bora Bora? Tell me in the comments!