The South Pacific paradise of Bora Bora has long been a honeymoon staple, with its dreamy lagoon, romantic overwater bungalows, tropical weather, and exotic landscapes. What’s more, French Polynesia has a long history of acceptance of LGBTQ+ people, so you’ll never think twice about holding hands in public or stealing a kiss at dinner while in Bora Bora or its neighboring Society Islands.

1. Getting there is half the fun. Travel to Bora Bora is through Papeete, Tahiti, where the lone international airport is located. There are direct flights from several U.S. gateway cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu. The islands are in the same time zone as Hawaii — but are roughly as far south of the equator as Hawaii is north. That means about a nine-hour flight from LAX … or six hours from Honolulu.

French Polynesia’s flagship carrier is Air Tahiti Nui, and they fly newer 787-9 Boeing Dreamliner widebody jets from LAX to Papeete six days per week. We sampled both the Poerava Business Class and the Moana Premium Economy products to and from the islands. Both offered expedited check-ins at the airport, and Poerava also allowed us to access the upscale Air Tahiti Nui lounge, a wonderful respite from the normal craziness of the terminal.

The economy section of the Dreamliner is situated with 3-3-3 across seating, while premium economy is 2-3-2 and business class is a luxurious 2-2-2. Our flights in both directions were overnight ones, so the extra room was much appreciated. Seats in premium economy reclined significantly, and we found that the two seats next to each window were perfect for couples. In business class, the seats were in self-contained pods, and when fully reclined, form a flat bed, allowing for sound sleep. Meals in both classes were excellent, and served along with wine, Mai Tais, champagne, cocktails, or juices. A hot breakfast is also served before landing, which was much appreciated.

After landing in Papeete, we easily connected via the interisland portion of the airline, Air Tahiti, for a quick 45-minute flight to Bora Bora’s airport, and then a relaxing boat transfer to our resort.

2. Your choices of ultra-luxury digs. Bora Bora has several top notch resorts, and we tried out two of them, the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora and the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, both situated on motus (small islands at the edge of the lagoon). Each resort features the iconic overwater bungalows, and we couldn’t get enough of the concept.

At the Four Seasons, our stunning bungalow was well equipped and spacious, with a sizable shower, double vanities opposite each other, large soaking tub facing the lagoon, bedroom, with a king bed, and comfortable living area. There were multiple areas where you could see through glass in the floor to the fish swimming in the lagoon below, including near the tub and from the shower (ingeniously raised, so you’re not exposing yourself to someone who may be swimming below). And the views of Bora Bora and dramatic Mount Otemanu from each window were enough to make you pause and stare.


There’s a spacious beach area on the resort’s grounds, and an extensive pool area nearby. Restaurants include Arii Moana for French classics with a Mediterranean flair, Vaimiti for excellent seafood and Asian specialties, and Tere Nui for a delightful breakfast buffet each morning. Faré Hoa Beach Bar and Grill is also available for lunch — and located right between the pool and beach areas. There are also a number of private culinary experiences available, from breakfast delivered by outrigger right to your bungalow to dinner on a small private island just offshore.

The InterContinental featured an equally magnificent and romantic bungalow, although its balcony was a bit smaller. But here, the living room featured a large glass floor under the coffee table, perfect for relaxing and watching the tropical fish swim by. Several times, we jumped into the lagoon right from our balcony; a ladder from the lower level allows for an easy return from the water.

The resort’s dramatic open-air restaurants include Reef Restaurant, Sands Restaurant, Bubbles Bar, and the South Beach Bar. And the attached Deep Ocean Spa is a must for honeymooning couples; purchasing any treatment allows you full-day access to the spa’s extensive garden-like grounds, which include hydrotherapy pools, saunas, cold-water plunge pools, and more. Even the massage rooms are built in the overwater style, and while facing down, you’re able to watch fish in the lagoon through a glass floor. There are even three- and five-day spa packages available, for those couples who really want to pamper themselves.

Both resorts feature protected areas that are offshoots of the lagoon, where they have programs to grow and nurture individual corals. Guests can snorkel in these more protected areas, an ideal situation for first timers or those who are not as comfortable swimmers.

3. That lagoon — and those colors. Bora Bora is world famous for its lagoon, and with good reason. The oldest of the main Society Islands, its lagoon is the most geologically developed, with multiple motus situated along the outer reef, and only one passage to the open ocean beyond. The result is an incredibly clear, shallow body of water around the central island, with every shade of blue and green you can imagine.

The local company Bora Bora ATV Tours does both ATV tours and combo ATV/jet ski tours. We decided on the ATV tour — and while it didn’t get us in the water, the fun ride around a portion of the island, and then to two scenic lookouts, gave us a wonderful perspective of the lagoon and the motus. The next day, we joined the wonderful and dynamic Narii of Bora Bora Cultural Lagoon Tours for a fantastic day of adventure.

We started by swimming with blacktip reef sharks — a lifetime memory, for sure! Although we were nervous at first, Narii explained that these sharks are not aggressive and simply curious creatures. We stood next to the boat in about five feet of water as the sharks lazily swam circles around the boat, occasionally coming within a few feet of us. Next, we boated through the clear water to the lagoon’s coral gardens area for some world-class snorkeling. From schools of colorful tropical fish to huge corals embedded with blue and purple clams, that experience alone was worth the price of the tour.

Afterwards, we traveled to a sandbar where we were able to swim and interact with stingrays, even spotting a female manta ray along the way. And we finished the day with lunch and cultural activities on a private motu. We learned how to operate a traditional outrigger canoe, made shell bracelets for ourselves, discovered more about the local flora and fauna, and ate plenty of local delicacies, such as poisson cru — raw fish in coconut milk, served in half a coconut.

Narii then took us back to our resort in the boat, serenading us as he played his ukulele, while we marveled at the water and the island — and made plans in our heads for the day we’d return to this magical place.