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Pristine beaches, swaying palm trees and gentle sloping mountains await
Seeking a getaway that really looks like the brochures? That's a holiday in Bora Bora you're looking for – the crown of French Polynesia. Honeymooners and movie stars frequent this luxurious part of the Pacific, 230 kilometres northwest of Tahiti's Papeete.
The dry season, May–October, is high season at this playground: an island surrounded by a lagoon and a reef with extinct volcano peaks rising in its centre. Jeep tours, including US World War 2 sites, hiking, climbing and sunset watching are some of the land-based activities on offer. Swimming, snorkelling, diving, sailing, canoeing and cruising make the most of the setting.
Matira has the largest beach and several hotels and restaurants but Vaitape is the main settlement and arrival point of the ferry from the airport. French and Tahitian are the main languages spoken, along with English at many resorts. The locals have a strong sense of culture and tradition handed down by the Polynesian gods but their main philosophy is not to worry. That translates well, whichever language you use.