Bucket list trip to Bora Bora: It’s not just for celebrities
reddish hue, and we fed baby sea turtles at the Turtle Center established at Le Meridien. We took the hotel’s boat to The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort to dine at the exclusive Lagoon restaurant by acclaimed French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and to check out the lavish bungalows with private swimming pools over the lagoon.
We tried paddle boarding. Then we tried snorkeling to find the sunglasses we lost while paddle boarding. Adventurous couples buzzed around the island on jet skis.
Feeling adventurous ourselves, we signed up for a snorkeling trip to swim with stingrays and sharks. There are so many stingrays there, you feel their slick, rubbery bodies hitting your legs. One is an older, docile stingray the guides call “grandma.” Our guide from Teiva Tours lifted grandma and kissed it— on the mouth!
But when the guides started “chumming” the waters with fish parts to draw blacktip sharks, we climbed back into the boat. The sharks were much more interested in the fish than in us, but we weren’t taking any chances of a misdirected chomp. In deeper waters, we snorkeled at the surface as 9-foot lemon sharks glided along the bottom.
We also spent a day in Vaitape. There’s a center where locals sell their crafts, a small marketplace to stock up on sunscreen, juice and inexpensive French wine, and a cafe. The mountainside is home to cannons left behind by U.S. forces during World War II.
The main thing we did though, was shop for Tahitian pearls. We were leaving one of the stores when I caught a glimpse of a pair of green pearl earrings. I walked away but no other pearl could compare, so we returned at the end of the day to buy the pearl that chose me.
There’s a must-visit spot along the coastline, about 3 miles from the city center: Bloody Mary’s, a funky restaurant known for its seafood and celebrity visits. I enjoyed the restaurant’s signature plate of teriyaki wahoo and the house drink, a Bloody Mary of course, while my husband loved trying meka, a broadbill swordfish found in the South Pacific. By the entrance there’s a long list of famous people who have dined there.
At the hotel, we ended the week as we began. We lounged on the deck, telling each other how unbelievable it was that we got to see such beauty in person and check Bora Bora off the bucket list.
In this photo, kayakers head out on the water from Le Meridien resort in Bora Bora. Bora Bora offers celebritystyle seclusion and has been a vacation destination for the likes of Justin Bieber, Jennifer Aniston and Usain Bolt. It’s located 160 miles from Tahiti with a balmy and relatively consistent temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
In this photo a couple strolls along the sidewalk next to the beach at Le Meridien resort in Bora Bora.