Bora Bora is a small South Pacific island in the Leeward group of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France, northwest of Tahiti. Called paradise for a reason, Bora Bora is a major international tourist destination, famous for its aqua-centric luxury resorts. Surrounded by sand-fringed islets and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef, the island is known as one of the best scuba diving locations worldwide. Many species of sharks and rays inhabit the surrounding body of water. There are a number of dive operators on the island offering manta ray dives and also shark-feeding dives.
On the center of the island lies the extinct volcano risings of two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu. The largest settlement is Vaitape, on the western side of the main island, opposite the main channel into the lagoon. The island has a small permanent population of 8,800, but has earned its reputation as being one of the most popular luxury resort locations on the globe due to its unparalleled beauty and its distinctive guest bungalows perched over the water on stilts. Island hoping in this part of the world is common.
Economically the island is limited to what can be obtained from the sea and the plentiful coconut trees, so the island's economy is driven almost solely by tourism. Over the last few years several resorts have been built on motu (small islands) surrounding the lagoon.
The indulgent Hotel Bora Bora opened in 1961, and nine years later built the first over-the-water bungalows on stilts over the lagoon. Today, over-water bungalows are a standard feature of most Bora Bora resorts. The quality of those bungalows range from comparably basic accommodations to the most luxurious you will find anywhere.
Most of the tourist destinations are aqua-centric, though there are other visit attractions on the island such as U.S. cannons from WWII. Air Tahiti has five or six flights daily to the Bora Bora Airport on Motu Mute, from the communal Fa'a'Ã„ International Airport (IATA: PPT, ICAO: NTAA) on the island of Tahiti.
Public transport on the island is nonexistent, thus rental cars and bicycles are the recommended methods of transport. There are also small, two-seater buggies for hire in Vaitape. It is possible to rent a motorboat to explore the lagoon.
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