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Is Bora Bora Safe? What You Need to Know When Visiting

Is Bora Bora Safe? What You Need to Know When Visiting

Are you traveling to Bora Bora soon? The Bora Bora Islands are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful destinations for individuals who enjoy spending time by the sea. But is Bora Bora safe?

Located in the central South Pacific Ocean, this small group of islands draws plenty of tourists from across the globe to explore the pristine beaches, translucent waters, and tranquil surroundings. 

Despite being a paradise for travelers, many people are concerned about safety in Bora Bora. The post below aims to put visitors’ fears to rest and answer the question about Bora Bora’s safety.

You can enjoy an interruption-free holiday and avoid any hazards if you follow the safety advice mentioned in this article and properly understand the threats that this location poses, which are minimal. 

So, let’s start and discover everything you need about traveling to Bora Bora!

Why Visit Bora Bora?

Boats Sailing in the Clear Sea

Bora Bora is a small group of islands (part of the Leeward Islands) with a lot of beauty. The closely connected group is about six miles long and slightly more than two miles wide. A dormant volcano erupts at its heart, spreading over a lush jungle before crashing into an azure lagoon.

Bora Bora was termed “the most beautiful island in the world” by American novelist James Michener, who also penned “Tales of the South Pacific.” Additionally, it was named the “Pearl of the Pacific” by British explorer James Cook in the 18th Century.

Overall, Bora Bora is the epitome of a tropical holiday, with its magnificent resorts, friendly locals, warm waters, and bright sky. Famous for a diverse range of adventurous activities and beautiful luxury resorts, Bora Bora Island has plenty to offer visitors. So whether you prefer a calm day at the beach or like to get your adrenaline racing, Bora Bora has numerous options. 

The Motu, or tiny island, is known for its white-sand beaches with coconut trees. The surrounding coral reef and the bright, blue waters of the South Pacific Ocean offer some fantastic activities like scuba diving, with colorful tropical fish and enormous manta rays drifting slowly through the coral gardens.

The beautiful Mount Otemanu in Bora Bora’s center is the island group’s highest point, ideal for tourists looking to venture beyond the sandy beaches.

Surrounded by a serene environment and breathtaking views, it is understandable why this 12-square-mile island group is considered one of the most picturesque and intimate holiday spots.

Where is Bora Bora Situated? 

Over water Bungalows and Clear Ocean

Bora Bora is an island in French Polynesia. It’s situated in the Pacific Ocean, almost in the middle of the United States and New Zealand

French Polynesia includes more than 100 Pacific islands and is an overseas collectivity of France. This land is considered French sovereign soil, so you’re technically visiting Europe when you visit Bora Bora. 

All the beautiful islands of French Polynesia cover an area of more than 4,000 sq km. This means that the area surrounding the most eastern and western island is roughly around 2,000 kilometers – which is almost the exact distance between Amsterdam and Athens!

Furthermore, the nearby islands are split into five groups. Bora Bora belongs to the Leeward Islands, which forms the western part of the Society Islands group. Besides that, it is only a 50-minute flight from French Polynesia’s capital city, Papeete, located on the island of Tahiti.

Here is a map of Bora Bora and the Leeward Islands to help you get oriented with this iconic tropical island.

Map of Bora Bora, Leeward Islands

See Related: Bora Bora vs The Maldives

How to Reach Bora Bora

Bora Bora Airport Welcome Sign
Pascale Gueret / Adobe Stock

As Bora Bora is near Tahiti, it is best to fly to Tahiti first from the Papeete airport and then board a transfer flight to Bora Bora. Flying to Papeete may take some time, depending on your origin. However, once you reach Papeete, it only takes 50 minutes to Bora Bora.

You can then take the free boat from Bora Bora’s airport (also known as Motu Mute Airport due to its location on the Motu Mute island) to Bora Bora’s main port.

If you have booked one of Bora Bora’s premium resorts, you will most likely be picked up from the airport by your hotel’s pick-up service.

Safety in Bora Bora

If you plan to travel to Bora Bora, you may be concerned about your safety because it is a relatively distant location with a distinct culture.

Rest assured that Bora Bora is a very secure location. However, when it comes to Bora Bora safety, here are a few things you can keep in mind: 

Natural Disasters

Dark clouds and rainbow after shower rain in Bora Bora
Spotmatik / Adobe Stock

Natural disasters, particularly tsunamis, constitute a moderate threat in Bora Bora. As the island is located in the center of the Pacific Ocean, the island is vulnerable to tidal surges if an earthquake strikes somewhere as far away as Chile or Samoa.

Hence, if you hear about a tsunami warning when you visit Bora Bora, stay away from the beach and get to higher ground. 

Cyclones and hurricanes are two other natural catastrophes that might occur in Bora Bora. Regarding man-made disasters, it’s reassuring to know that French Polynesia has never had a terror attack.

Driving

Golf Cart for driving in Bora Bora, Polynesia
eSchmidt / Adobe Stock

Driving in Bora Bora can be risky due to narrow roads, slow pothole repair, and the possibility of flooding during the rainy season, which spans from November to April. 

Public transit is virtually non-existent except for a few taxis, a free ferry from the airport, and “Le Truck,” which operates along Bora Bora’s main road.

However, most visitors and locals ride bicycles around the island, which is the safest and most pleasurable mode of transportation. No other mode of transportation can top the fresh ocean breezes and fantastic sights while wheeling around on a bicycle.

Temperature

Over-water stilt accommodation in Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Liv Gaunt / Shutterstock

Bora Bora can get very hot, so dress in light-colored, loose clothing that will allow you to manage your body temperature.

Whenever you expect to go outside, apply sunscreen to your skin. Use reef-safe sunscreen to help conserve Bora Bora’s delicate coral systems. Also, remember that you do not want a severe sunburn, especially on an expensive trip

Furthermore, stay hydrated to avoid exhaustion and heat stroke, but avoid untreated tap water. Water provided by resort restaurants is usually safe, but bottled water is recommended otherwise.

Crime

Pickpocket taking a wallet from a stranger
9nong / Adobe Stock

Bora Bora is one of the safest travel destinations globally, with one of the lowest crime rates. Though the crime on this beautiful island is almost negligible, there are still chances of thefts, like bag snatching and pickpocketing. Just be attentive and careful while exploring this place – like any new place.

Moreover, to secure your valuables, put them in an anti-theft backpack or purse.

See Related: Best Travel Sandals for Beach Destinations

Scuba Diving

Woman Snorkeling in Tahiti Ocean, Bora Bora
Maridav / Adobe Stock

Take measures against decompression sickness, commonly known as “the bends,” a deadly medical condition that occurs when a diver descends too deep, ascends too rapidly, remains too long, or takes an airplane ride too soon. 

Get medical attention immediately if you go scuba diving and experience symptoms like exhaustion, joint pain, vertigo, weakness, tingling, itching, shortness of breath, or numbness.

Are There Sharks in Bora Bora?

Black-tip reef sharks and stingrays in Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Danita Delimont / Adobe Stock

Bora Bora is home to many sharks, as a barrier reef encircles the main island. There are also various other wild marine creatures, such as barracudas and stingrays, which you must avoid at all costs.

However, shark attacks in Bora Bora are extremely rare — only two have been documented in the previous century. The most recent incident occurred at Bora Bora’s Anau lagoon in 2015 when a blacktip shark bit a 9-year-old kid’s hand as the youngster attempted to feed the animal.

You must also consider other marine life during your Bora Bora visit, including the sea urchins and the coral, which may cause painful puncture wounds. Therefore, do not forget to wear protective water shoes whenever you are in the water. 

It is also suggested not to pick cone shells since they can be harmful. Besides, be aware of the well-hidden stonefish, which may look like a rock that can release poison when stomped on.

If you think you’ve been stung by a stonefish, immediately get medical help and apply heat. Wearing foot protection when visiting snorkeling sites and doing other water activities is the easiest way to avoid this.

You will also find a lot of mosquitos in Bora Bora. Remember that mosquitoes spread chikungunya, dengue fever, and other diseases in this area. Hence, use efficient repellent to keep them at bay.

The Best Hotels in Bora Bora 

Bora Bora is home to several luxurious hotels. Some of the best places to stay are as follows:

1. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora 

Swimming and Huts in a Resort

The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is situated on Bora Bora’s coral atoll. It features enormous beachfront villa estates and overwater bungalow style suites, designed with indigenous artwork and thatched roofs.

The luxury resort also incorporates four restaurants that provide diverse culinary experiences. Additionally, the resort offers other facilities, such as a tennis court, lagoon sanctuary, and different water sports. 

2. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort 

Hotel Room with Pool View

The St. Regis Bora Bora is set on 44 acres of land, with a pristine lagoon, white beaches, and Mount Otemanu as its backdrop. It has beautiful beach garden villas and overwater bungalows.

You can eat at one of four St. Regis Bora Bora’s restaurants, including the resort’s trademark fine-dining restaurant, Lagoon by Jean-Georges. Every guest has access to a butler service (you can request it before arrival). 

You will also find swimming pools, various beautiful beaches, and a naturally filtered private lagoonarium with a brilliant assortment of tropical species. To add to the experience, the Clarins Miri Miri Spa is set on a secluded islet inside the lagoonarium.

3. Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Chair and the Ocean view

Conrad Bora Bora Nui is a lush tropical paradise with an extensive white sand beach in Bora Bora, situated in a lagoon of black lava rock and clear blue waters. It has several villas and suites, including over-water villas and two Presidential overwater bungalows on a private island.

In-room dining is available 24 hours a day, and all rooms include solar panels, soaking baths, a Nespresso coffee machine, and king-size mattresses.

4. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

Sitting Area is a Resort

Step off the private deck of your magnificent over-water villa at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa Resort into the warm embrace of a calm lagoon.

The breathtaking resort features scuba diving, sunset excursions on neighboring reefs, an award-winning spa, and a pristine beach

The resort also recently launched a new Brando Suites Bora Bora Experience, featuring vast living spaces, including two bedrooms and a dining and living area.

It also boasts an expansive outdoor terrace, the largest private infinity pool, and uninterrupted 180-degree spectacular views of Mount Otemanu and Bora Bora island.

5. Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts

Dining Area in a Resort

Situated on the beach at Motu Tevairoa, Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts features beachfront suites with a private hot tub, garden suites with private pools, and overwater bungalows with direct access to blue waters.

You can choose between three different restaurants, including Tevairoa Restaurant, which provides al fresco dining on the terrace and overlooks the turquoise waters of the Bora Bora Lagoon. Other amenities at the resort include:

  • A diving center.
  • A large outdoor swimming pool.
  • Tavai Spa.
  • A flood-lit tennis court. 

6. Maitai Bora Bora

Bar and Sitting Area

The Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora is adjacent to Matira Beach — Bora Bora’s only public beach and is surrounded by magnificent tropical gardens. They provide excellent, reasonably priced lodging, a friendly environment, and a Polynesian welcome. 

The hotel includes two bars, two restaurants, souvenir shops, and more. The Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora is an excellent choice if you want to stay on the beach at a reasonable price while visiting the Society Islands of Tahiti and French Polynesia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need a Passport to Go to Bora Bora?

A passport is required to exit the United States and enter Bora Bora, French Polynesia. All international travelers must possess a valid passport. Most nations may additionally require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond your intended entry date and that you have a return flight ticket.

Is Tahiti Safe?

Tourist-targeted violent crimes in Tahiti are almost unheard of, and even petty crimes are rare. However, it does not mean you should risk your life by leaving a valuable camera in the passenger seat of your car rental or on the beach. Take care of your belongings, no matter where you are.

Overall, there are no big frauds in French Polynesia. Some believe this is because the place is super expensive; hence, visitors do not need to overcharge.

Is Bora Bora in the US?

Bora Bora, the pearl of the Pacific, is not a part of the United States. Bora Bora is in the Pacific Ocean between Australia and South America. As a result, it is also not a part of these nations. It is, nevertheless, a part of French Polynesia.

As the letter “B” is not found in the indigenous alphabet, the island’s name is “Pora Pora.” The people who live on the island communicate using a blend of Tahitian and French.

The term Pora Pora means “the firstborn.” This indicates that the island is ancient, maybe around seven million years old. However, the island was first found in 1722 by Dutch admiral Jacob Roggeveen. 

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