BORA BORA, but far from boring. It’s a place that’s truly regarded as a dream destination. And having spent 8 sweet nights there, I can confidently report back that it is, in fact, a dream. Although it’s a popular honeymoon escape (and rightfully so) I found it to be a really special place beyond the surface-level honeymoon appeal. Not that I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I didn’t quite know I’d have a connection with it beyond it just being an exquisite Instagram backdrop.
I have been describing it to friends and family as feeling as if a little chunk of untouched Hawaii broke away and drifted a couple thousand miles south to form nothing short of a small blissful island oasis. I’ve always felt a special connection to Hawaii, and I felt the same feeling here. The air is sweet and heavy, and the water is like warm sparkling bathwater leading to colorful underwater universes below. I don’t know. Maybe there’s just something in the air.
Bora Bora is centered by a magnificent dormant volcano that’s then surrounded by a cluster of islets, with crystal-clear impossibly turquoise lagoon water in between. Said dormant volcano, Mt. Otemanu, makes an appearance in just about every photo we took here as you will surely notice. We couldn’t help it, both because it’s probably the most magnificent sight you can imagine, and also because it’s visible from almost every angle of Bora Bora’s circling islets, so it’s delightfully hard to avoid.
When I say crystal clear water, I don’t want it to sound like I’m exaggerating for the sake of more vivid travel blogger-y language – no – it’s actually the clearest water I think I’ve ever personally witnessed that’s not of a swimming pool. It’s also impossibly still water (hence the water portion of Bora Bora being a “lagoon”, which is essentially ocean water that’s cradled in between islets and coral reef.) And speaking of coral… wow.
Snorkeling in a lagoon is the most peaceful and extraordinary way to take a peek into that colorful underwater world. There’s something almost tranquilizing about snorkeling in a place where you can see 360 degrees around you clear as day, no questionable murky drop-off in the distance, no huge waves thrashing you around – it’s quiet and clear and special. Even in the deeper portions of Bora Bora’s waters where we were lucky enough to swim with sharks later on (more on that coming soon!), I was both amazed and comforted to be able to clearly see the sandy seabed below even on a cloudy day. There’s certainly thrill and adventure to be found in the open ocean, but the waters of Bora Bora have a certain stillness to them that really leave you feeling immersed and enchanted by what’s happening around the coral below.
And while we spent a lot of our time in and under the water, it’s clear that we barely even began to cover some of the most fantastic snorkel-tunities that Bora Bora has to offer (or scuba, if you prefer). While snorkeling one day we ran into a photographer who was literally staying on a boat for an entire month, living on and in the water as he jaunted around Bora Bora’s gorgeous oceanscape. Zack and I were both very inspired by his method of experiencing the island, and let’s just say we have a few ideas in mind for our next trip…
But, the land portion of Bora Bora is where we stayed, and let me tell you, it rocked.
Our first 4 nights were spent at one of Instagram’s most admired destinations, The Four Seasons Bora Bora. As this was our first impression of Bora Bora right after a less than restful red-eye from LA, we weren’t quite sure where the dream ended and reality began. Bora Bora is a place that really hits you like a tidal wave the second you arrive (ironically, as there aren’t really any waves there), and the Four Seasons has arguably one of the most scenic views of Mt. Otemanu, so you’ll be sure to have trouble forming sentences when you first arrive. It really is that beautiful, but as always, photos will do a better job at explaining this than I can. And although it’s impossible to take a bad photo here, the truth is that there is nothing that can really compare to gawking at this place with your own eyeballs.
If you’re looking for absolute island luxury, this is your hotel. It’s groomed and pruned and gorgeous, with immaculate attention to detail in it’s tropical gardens, private swimming lagoons and thatched overwater villas. With multiple restaurants from sushi to French-inspired island cuisine, we loved having so many dining options.
Beyond simply basking in actual 5-star paradise and enjoying the finer things in life, which this place is alllll about, there are so many water activities, excursions and beautiful underwater life to be explored and enjoyed. With natural private lagoons on property, you are able to snorkel in enclosed areas that still offer outstanding coral reef and marine life – really perfect for leisurely exploring and especially suitable for kids (we constantly thought of Zack’s niece and nephew and how this would be an absolute paradise of a playground for them).
The infamous overwater bungalows of the Four Seasons Bora Bora are just as dreamy as pictured, with all the modern luxury amenities of a 5 star hotel room that just so happens to be perched on stilts over calm turquoise water. I was somehow lucky enough to spend my 25th birthday here, and as you can imagine, it was wonderful. I stuffed my face with sushi in paradise, and I’m not sure how much better a birthday could possibly get.
As far as first impressions go, this place wowed us. Tropical, picturesque, luxurious island paradise.
Huge thank you to The Four Seasons Bora Bora and all the lovely staff there for having us for my birthday and making it such a special and memorable experience, and to Bora Bora itself for producing the single-best sunset that a place could possibly conjure up on the evening of my 25th birthday. I’ll never forget it.
Stay tuned for another post on the second half of our trip, including sharks, stingrays and a liiiittle more adventure. And if you’re curious about the bikinis / outfits / brands I wore this trip, you’re in luck cause that’s coming too! x