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Boarding pass: Experience Bora Bora

Sep 25, 2015 11:26AM ● By Dia

Leave your watches at home for this tropical vacation. Once you set foot on the white-sand beaches of Bora Bora, you’ll be on island time. But don’t be fooled by the postcard images you’ll send to envious friends; the beaches of Bora Bora are mostly man-made. The small island in the French Polynesia is known for its crystal clear, blue lagoons. These inlets are perfect for snorkeling, exploring or just swimming. And man-made or not, who doesn’t want to walk along the beaches day or night feeling the warm sand between their toes? If no vacation is complete without a quick trip to the city, the main island town of Viatape offers boutiques to—wait, have you seen the photos of the lagoons? Why were we mentioning leaving the beach? 

Where to Stay

 If you are going to travel all the way to Bora Bora for the epitome of an island vacation, don’t just experience the blue lagoons, stay in an over-the-water bungalow at the Four Seasons Resort and Spa. Although beachfront villas are available, the bungalows allow for an experience unlike any other. Whether you are vacationing with family or taking a couple’s retreat, there’s a bungalow for you. Many offer a private plunge pool or at least private decks that allow for breathtaking views of Mount Otemanu. Each bungalow features traditional teak furnishings housed under roofs thatched with pandanus leaves.

However, if you do opt for the beachfront villas, you won’t be taking a step down in luxury by any means, especially if you and your guests decide to stay in the three-bedroom Otemanu luxury beachfront villa. This secluded villa is one-of-a-kind and perfect for families and groups. It includes three bedrooms, four bathrooms and a private swimming pool. Smaller party? As in party of two? The one-bedroom Deluxe Fenua beachfront villa with pool sits on a secluded white-sand beach. It includes its own enclosed garden with coconut trees and Tahitian gardenia trees.

As if you weren’t relaxed enough lounging by the beach or over the lagoons, the spa at the Four Seasons offers additional opportunities for rest and restoration. You didn’t come all this way for a simple deep-tissue massage, although the spa does offer this— in your room if requested. Instead, experience unique spa rituals that combine ancient traditions, therapeutic disciplines and Western practices such as Kahaia Haven. This skin-smoothing body treatment uses naturally exfoliating kahaia body scrub, Tahitian black pearl powder and native fragrant vanilla. A full-body massage follows the initial treatment.

 What to Do

Whatever your idea of vacationing on a tropical island looks like, you can make it happen on Bora 

 Bora. From mountaintop experiences to lagoon snorkeling, there is something for any tourist who can pull themselves away from lounging on the white-sand beach. According to U.S. News & World Report Travel online, visiting Mount Otemanu is ranked No. 2 on the website’s list of best things to do in Bora Bora. The mountain is one of two dead volcanoes at the center of the island, rising 2,400 feet above the lagoon. Enjoy by land or air, whether you decide to hike, explore in a four-by-four, or partake in a helicopter tour. If you just can’t tear yourself away from the chaise lounge on your private deck, simply enjoy the otherworldly views of the Otemanu from afar.

If you are eager to explore the wildlife off the island, a visit to the Lagoonarium Bora Bora is a must. This is a natural aquarium located on a small island east of the main island. This family-owned attraction allows for snorkeling on the premises. A variety of creatures lie beneath the lagoon’s surface: sharks, turtles, rays and many different kinds of ocean fish. Select a half- or full-day adventure. Another locale to spot one of the ocean’s best menageries is the coral garden. Again, just a short swim or bike ride away from the main island, this inlet features a coral reef located just below the surface that allows for simply the use of snorkeling gear.,

Where to Eat

 You needn’t leave your bungalow to enjoy authentic Polynesian dishes. In-room dining means you are taking the island life as it’s meant to be—slow and relaxing. There are several dining options onsite at the Four Seasons Resort, including Arii Moana, which serves Polynesian and French traditional dishes featuring fresh seafood and meats. For a more casual atmosphere for dining, Tere Nui is an open-air restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The resort also has two bar and grills that serve both lunch and dinner.

If you want to explore the flavors of Bora Bora a bit more, venture out to other parts of the island for additional authentic fare. Located at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, the exclusive signature restaurant Lagoon by Jean- Georges features a French and Asian-infused menu created by chef Jean- Georges Vongerichten. What makes this experience even more delicious is dining in the open air with a clear view of Mount Otemanu at sunset.

For a completely different atmosphere, visit Bloody Mary’s Bora Bora Restaurant and Bar to spice things up a bit. Established in 1979, this is a favorite among regular island visitors and locals. For lunch, enjoy sandwiches and burgers along with other local dishes. But for dinner, choose from the assortment of the day’s bounty. Whatever local fishermen catch, you get to eat, made to order. And if you happen to be traveling by yacht, no problem—Bloody Mary’s has a dock. FourSeasons. com/BoraBora,,