By the Beach

5 days in Bora Bora

Nestled under the peaks of an extinct volcano sits a beautiful lagoon protected by a series of motus (little islands) and a barrier reef.   The waters are home to a plethora of beautiful fish, eels, rays, and even sharks. This area is also home to some of the most beautiful resorts in the world. The theme of any quality beach vacation, especially one at a 5-star resort, is relaxation.  Whether you’re the type who can soak up the sun in your hammock for days or the type who needs constant entertainment, there is plenty to do in paradise.  In my house, we have to balance relaxation with a bit of physical activity to keep from going stir-crazy. Enjoy our 5 days in Bora Bora!


Day 1 of 5 days in Bora Bora


Our first day in Bora Bora was a bit rainy.  It didn’t rain the entire day, but intermittent showers rolled through several times.  We didn’t let that slow us down!  We enjoyed a coconut demo by the pool where the pool boys showed us how to open a coconut, drink the water, carve and eat the meat, and squeeze milk out of the shredded coconut.  You’ll find several coconuts laying around the resort in the mornings, and you can take your own to the pool to give the process a try during your stay.  We did this several times during our stay for a nice midday snack!


Bikes in front of our overwater bungalow


One of my favorite parts of the hotel was the bicycles they had stationed around the island.  We were able to hop on and cruise around the 1.5-mile island loop visiting the overwater bungalows and the miniature golf course. The bikes made it very quick and easy to get to and from dinner and the pool since our bungalow was on the far end of the property.



The fun part about snorkeling is that rain or shine, the weather doesn’t really matter! We geared up and were about to jump in for our first pass at snorkeling under our villa when we saw three spotted eagle rays gliding past our dock.  They were beautiful rays with dazzling spots sparkling in the sunlight.

We waited for the rays to pass and jumped in.  We didn’t have to go far to see beautiful schools of fish pulsing from the coral on the piers of our bungalow. The fish would slowly float out from the coral, and as we would approach they would dive back inside. This would repeat over and over again like the beating of a beautiful heart.  Underneath a neighboring bungalow, we spotted a Moray eel. His head was sticking a few inches out of the reef, and there were colorful fish all around.  I’ll be the first to admit, the eel gave me more of a fright than the rays.  He was creepy, and I did not want him coming out near me at all.  I quickly swam the other direction!

Just when I was about to pull myself up the ladder onto our dock, my husband shouted for me to look down. The spotted eagle rays had returned, and I was two feet away from them in the water! Yikes!


Spotted Eagle Ray


We watched a stunning sunset between the two multi-story presidential villas and enjoyed a nice dinner at Iriatai restaurant.

5 days in Bora Bora Confessions of a Travaholic

Sunset between the presidential villas

Day 2 of 5 days in Bora Bora

We took the hotel shuttle to Vaitape in the morning and rented a car from Avis to explore the main island of Bora Bora.  We had read about a couple of hiking trails, restaurants, and a pearl farm that we wanted to explore, and by renting a car we were able to go at our own pace.


Our first stop was at the Pearl Farm.  The pearl farm is a pearl shop that offers pearl diving experiences.  I had read online that you pay $300 for the experience, and if the pearl you select is not to your liking, you can select a pearl from the shop valued at $300 to replace it.  My husband and I weren’t sold on the experience, so we asked them to show us the process.  The sweet lady at the shop showed us how black pearls are grown and explained the dive process.  Did you know that Tahitian pearls grow around the pearls of Mississippi River clams?  We had a look at the pearls in the shop, and I found one that I liked as a backup, so we figured why not, let’s give it a try!

After climbing into a painted canoe, our personal human motor swam us out 30 yards to the lines of pearls strung up 20 feet below the surface of the water.  We donned our snorkel gear and jumped into the water.  One at a time we swam down to the lines of pearls, selected a line, untied it from the anchor string, and pulled up a string of seven oysters to the surface.

5 days in Bora Bora Confessions of a Travaholic

Our oysters

Once back on the dock, we sorted through the oysters and had to select one to open. I have notoriously bad luck, so after ruling out the oysters that were calling to me, my husband and I selected the perfect oyster to open.  Our guide scrubbed the shell clean and proceeded to his workbench where he used several tools to pry open, slightly, and dug into the shell.  After only a few minutes, a beautiful pink 10.7mm pearl emerged from the shell!  The jeweler mounted the pearl on a pendant and we were off on our next adventure.

The day had turned a bit rainy, so we skipped our first hike and opted for lunch at a highly recommended pool club restaurant called Fare.  The food was reasonably priced by Tahitian standards, and the service was really friendly.  We enjoyed some pasta and a hamburger with a large Hinano beer.


5 days in Bora Bora Confessions of a Travaholic

American Cannon Hike


The rain turned out to be persistent, but we decided to make the most of our day and proceeded to hike the American Cannons trail.  Make sure to bring cash of 500 francs per person to pay the people who maintain the trails.  Starting near Anau, we hiked to Hiro’s rock, two American cannons, and a military pillbox. The trail was muddy and slippery from the rain, but sweet tiare flowers lined the paths and the views to the outer motus of Bora Bora were incredible.

5 days in Bora Bora Confessions of a Travaholic

Tiare flowers

When the rain refused to subside, we called it an early day and headed back to our peaceful oasis at the hotel.


Day 3 of 5 days in Bora Bora

Day 3 was a Sunday, which meant we had to start our day with football.  We watched the Green Bay Packers from the comforts of our suite. The serene background of the lagoon and the mountains helped to calm me down, as we played terribly.

We practiced our putting skills on the extremely difficult miniature golf course and had a ton of fun trying to finish the course without losing both of our balls.

We put on some heart-pumping music and put the gym to the test. I didn’t see anyone else in the gym during our stay, but it was a really nice facility complete with equipment for a full body workout.

We jumped back into the lagoon for some more snorkeling and visited the Moray eel again.   We saw more beautiful fish and enjoyed the refreshing water.

5 days in Bora Bora Confessions of a Travaholic

Views of the volcano

Finally, we made our way up to the overlook sitting atop the hill of the resort for sunset.  Beautiful views of the extinct volcano peaks of Mt. Otemanu and Mt. Pahia sat to the east, while we watched the sunset over the lagoon to our west.

5 days in Bora Bora Confessions of a Travaholic

Sunset over the resort

Day 4 of 5 days in Bora Bora

We enjoyed a sunny day 4 in Bora Bora. We headed to the beach and took a pedal boat around the resort. Then we returned and took paddleboards around another part of the resort.  Finally, we jumped into the water and snorkeled around the entire resort.  We swam with reef triggerfish, parrotfish, angelfish, and as my husband said: “I think we found Dora.”

Day 5 of 5 days in Bora Bora

Our last day of vacation was spent lounging in our private hammocks, reading, playing card and board games, and floating in the pool.  We soaked up some final rays of sunshine before our trek back to Papeete, LAX, and ultimately home.

5 days in Bora Bora – Where to stay:

5 days in Bora Bora Confessions of a Travaholic

View from our private bungalow deck

Conrad Bora Bora Nui sits in a private cove on Motu To’opua off of the western coast of Bora Bora.  The 5-star resort offers spacious villas with options ranging from garden villas to suites with private pools and plenty of overwater bungalows.  There are several dining options available including Chinese, French, sushi, and other international dishes.  Activities are a plenty including an infinity pool, miniature golf, fitness center, kayaks, paddle boards, pedal boats, and some of the world’s finest snorkeling. It is one of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed and set the benchmark for all other resorts.


5 days in Bora Bora Tips:

  • Reaching Bora Bora is a bit of an effort. You’ll need to connect from your international flight in Papeete to the inter-island airline, Air Tahiti.  Make sure to research flights on both legs to make sure you can connect with a reasonable amount of time.  It seems like they don’t always schedule flights to coordinate well.
  • There is an overpriced luggage storage option at the airport if you have a long layover and want to explore the island of Tahiti. You can also walk off airport for dinner at Ocean Restaurant nearby.
  • Know your options for reaching your resort. Flights to Bora Bora land on an island airstrip.  Your airfare includes a ferry to the center of Vaitape town.  Taking this free shuttle from the airport to Vaitape, and then a hotel shuttle from Vaitape to the resort was 20% the cost of a private transfer directly from the airport to the resort.
  • Don’t plan your on-island adventures for a Sunday. Most shops and restaurants are closed.
  • Wear bug spray all day every day.
  • Consider getting the Amex Hilton Ascend card to earn extra points during your stay and obtain Hilton Gold status. Gold Status with Hilton entitles you to late checkout, room upgrades, and continental breakfast.  We were lucky enough to receive a complimentary upgrade to an overwater bungalow and thoroughly enjoyed an amazing breakfast buffet each morning. With the crazy price of meals in Tahiti, this was very valuable!

If you enjoyed reading about our 5 days in Bora Bora, make sure to also read 5 days in Moorea. You’ll also want to follow the blog for my next post comparing the islands and their resorts.

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