9 Best Sights in Bora Bora with Maupiti, French Polynesia

Aloe

Aloe. Aloe, a popular Internet café in Vaitape, has four PCs and printers, scanners, a webcam, and choice of French or English keyboards. Half-hour Internet use costs around 1,000 CFP. 67–78–88.

Anau

Anau is almost directly opposite Vaitape on the east coast, although you have to go around the island to get there. Here you'll get a glimpse of authentic Polynesian life. There's one small church with a steeple and a few shops. The lagoon is very narrow at this section, as Motu Piti Anau is only a mile away. There's a great view of Mt. Otemanu from the town.

Bora Bora Lagoonarium

This natural aquarium and water park is located on a private island near the Motu Piti Anau, not far from Le Meridien Resort. The family owners run half-day and full-day visits that include swimming with marine animals, ray and shark feeding demonstrations, circle-island tours in an outrigger canoe, and snorkel visits to the famed coral gardens at the southeast end of the main island. Alternatively, visitors can spend half a day just swimming, exploring, and learning about marine life. The owners also run a small guesthouse, called Pension Lagoonarium, on the main island's east coast.

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Faanui

This village, perched on Faanui Bay, is about 5 km (3 mi) north of Vaitape. It has a lovely pastel pink church in the shadow of a mountain. This area was once the stronghold of the former ruling family, the Pomare, which explains the presence of several marae not too far away. There are a few shops and stalls with brightly colored pareos (sarongs) fluttering in the breeze. Nearby are the remains of the former U.S. naval base, built in 1942.

Marae

Marae Ruins, Raiatea, French Polynesia
gdvcom / Shutterstock

These ancient stone temples were religious and social gathering places, as well as the scene of human and animal sacrifices. One or two have been restored and some are adorned with turtle petroglyphs (images cut in stone); the turtle was considered sacred as it was a major source of food. Look for Taharuu Marae at Point Haamaire on the east coast, Aehautai near the former (and now closed) Club Med resort on the southeast coast (not far from Paoaoa Point) nd the beautifully restored 164-foot-long(50-meter) Marotetini Marae near the wharf at Faanui Bay on the west coast. The Fare Opu Marae is a little north of Faanui and partially buried under the road. As some are tucked away in the jungle, it is advisable to take a 4WD or Circle Island tour, or ask the tourist office for exact locations.

Marine Museum

This small museum at the very northern end of the island is only open upon request (and never on the weekends), so if you want to see 40 models of ancient and modern canoes, tuna fishing boats, and models of legendary ships such as the Bounty and the Kon Tiki, call before you visit.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia
-67–75–24
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Free, Mon.–Fri. upon request

Matira Beach

This lovely beach at the southern most tip of the island graces both sides of Matira Point and is about 1.5 km (1 mi) long. Technically there are two beaches—west and east—with Matira Point in the middle. It's one of the few public access beaches on the island. Several luxurious resorts, shops, eateries, and activity centers are located on or near the beach making it a tourist hub. The beach is located about 6 km (4 mi) from Vaitape; take a taxi, ride your scooter or bike, or wait for the local, but somewhat unreliable, L'Truck.

Vaitape

On the west coast, this is Bora Bora's main town and will be the first port of call for those staying on the main island. It has a marina and public wharf (where transfer boats come and go), a tourist office, police station, three banks, two gas stations, a post office with public phones, pharmacy, and a medical center. Boutiques and eateries are strung along the one main road, which doesn't have a name. Near the police station (the Gendarmerie) is the grave of French yachtsman Alain Gerbault, who single-handedly sailed his yacht around the world in 1923–29, and lived here in the 1930s. There are also a bus stop, taxis, a cyber café, and two charming churches (Catholic and Protestant) painted in pastels with red roofs and steeples.

WWII Guns

There are seven giant cannons on Bora Bora, perched on the hills above the four points of the island. U.S. servicemen stationed on the island during WWII installed them. Like the marae they can be difficult to find. Their general locations are the hills above Matira Point (about 6.5 km [4 mi] south of Vaitape); Fitiiu Point (on the east coast about 15 km [9 mi] from Vaitape via the southern route); and at Farepiti and Tereia Point (which are 2 km [1 mi] and 8 km [5 mi] north of Vaitape). The best way to see them, or some of them, is on an exciting but very bumpy 4WD tour.