The ultimate romantic destination: Bora Bora, French Polynesia

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on October 16, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Bermuda, Bora-Bora, destination, Dominican Republic, Greece, Hvar, island, Martha's Vineyard, Molly Feltner, Nova Scotia, Sabah, vacation package.

The ultimate romantic destination: Bora Bora, French Polynesia

With its crystal-clear water, tiny islets covered in palm trees, and emerald green mountains rising from the sea, French Polynesia's Bora Bora is the tropical paradise myth made real. With the 2,384-foot, knife-shaped Mt. Otemanu at its center, this 15-square-mile island is embraced by a necklace of coral and motus (small islands), creating a protected lagoon. Writer James A. Michener called Bora Bora the most beautiful island in the world, and to many it's the romantic destination of their dreams. It's no surprise then that some Bora Bora resorts report 80 percent or more of their guests are honeymooners.

Luxurious, private accommodations are an integral part of honeymoons and other romantic getaways, and the hotels and resorts in Bora Bora more than deliver. Most of the resorts are set on the western peninsula of the main island or on one of the motus, affording spectacular views of the mountain and easy access to the lagoon's warm, shallow water. Fine dining restaurants, on-site spas, and private, over-water bungalows are de rigueur at the top resorts, and glass-floor viewing panels, canopy beds, and marble bathrooms are common room features. Most properties also offer special romance packages and amenities, ranging from breakfast delivered to your bungalow by outrigger canoe to elaborate Polynesian wedding ceremonies.

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Hotels can usually arrange excursions outside the resort, such as diving, jeep tours, sailing, shark-feeding (a popular activity on Bora Bora), and helicopter flights. Some resorts also have their own unique offerings, such as those of Le Meridien Bora Bora, which has an on-site sea turtle care center where guests can learn about turtles and then swim with them in the resort's lagoon.

Trip planning

Read more about Bora Bora resorts, activities, and romance offerings by visiting the official Tahiti Tourisme North America website. On TripAdvisor, average hotel rates range from $98 to $1,246 per night.

It's a haul to Bora Bora, requiring a transpacific journey to Tahiti and then a short interisland flight. In January, round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Tahiti start at $1,601, including taxes, on Air Tahiti Nui. Interisland flights from Tahiti to Bora Bora are $366 round-trip, including taxes on Air Tahiti.

NEXT >> An easy, affordable resort getaway: The Dominican Republic

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