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Have you ever wanted to bask in warm sand, shop for black pearls, climb a volcano or snorkel in the waters of a multicolored lagoon? You can do all this and more in an island utopia where coconuts grow on swaying palms, poisonous snakes are nonexistent and the sun shines for 2,500 hours each year.
In any contest for the world's most magical location, Bora Bora could easily take top honors. This South Pacific paradise, the most popular of the French Polynesian islands, was not only a favorite of French artist Paul Gaugin but also of writer James Michener, a visitor who deemed it the world's most beautiful island.
Bora Bora sprang into being after a volcanic eruption nearly four million years ago. Eleven islets, each of which rises from the surrounding coral reef, encircle it today. Taken together, the group comprises the Bora Bora community whose real name, Pora Pora, actually means "first born."
Following its service as a base for 6,000 American soldiers during WWII, peace soon returned to Bora Bora. The island now serves as a getaway for harried people from around the world who come for relaxation, rejuvenation, romantic encounters and food. In Bora Bora, lovers of fine cuisine feast on delicacies ranging from local fish and fruit dishes to French and international specialties, all served with a friendly flair. At the famous Bloody Mary's, patrons can either order off the menu or create a combination of their own choosing.
Then, there's the shopping. Although the traveler will find the great majority of the island's galleries and retail emporia clustered in small areas along the main road, many hotels feature fine boutiques of their own. Bora Bora's famous black pearls are a favorite of visitors in search of fine take-home gifts and souvenirs.
For those who prefer more ambitious activities, Bora Bora also offers such exotic experiences as 4x4 safaris; parasailing; deep-sea fishing; shark and stingray feeding; snorkeling; and adventure tours. When an even greater challenge is in order, a strenuous hike up either of the island's two interior mountains is sure to provide it. These are actually extinct volcanoes, so if you're up for the challenge, be sure to hire the services of an experienced guide to lead the way.
Best Time To Visit:
Any vacation destination will have its peak season. In Bora Bora, the months of May through October always attract the largest number of sightseers. Temperatures that range between the upper 60s and the mid-80s combine with very little rain to permit the enjoyment of a wide range of activities that include May's popular Tahiti Pearl Regatta and the Heiva i Bora Bora competitions during June and July.
If crowds are not your cup of tea, November and April could be the best months to visit. Not only are tourists fewer in number, but temperatures range between 75 and 85 and rain is rarely in the forecast. April's visitors will enjoy the Leeward Islands Handicraft Exhibition while those who vacation in November can have a front-row seat at the challenging outrigger canoe races of Hawaiki Nui Va'a.
During the months of December through March, temperatures still range between 75 and 85 and skies are often clear and bright. However, the rains are sufficiently frequent to keep some visitors away, resulting in less crowding and more-attractive accommodation rates for everyone else.