Bora Bora, French Polynesia

22-27 Feb, 2002, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Compared to Easter Island, Bora Bora is much lusher – much more tropical. It also, like most tropical islands, has a coral reef that almost surrounds the island, making it a “semi-atoll” (An atoll is formed when the island itself in the middle is completely eroded, and the only thing that remains is the lagoon and it’s enclosing coral reef). The lagoon in Bora Bora has water that is the most amazing turquoise in color – it’s not far removed from the familiar blue most swimming pools are painted – except, of course, it covers most ground than any swimming pool I’ve ever seen!

Also, compared to Easter Island, it’s much more touristy. Easter Island is certainly a “tourist” spot.. Most of the islands income comes now, I believe, from tourism. But Easter Island tourism is definitely of a different quality – it’s more laid back, low key, and on-a-budget. More the backpacker crowd than the resort crowd. To date, there are no golf courses, or large hotels. I’m sure one day that may change, but for now its a pleasant and welcome change of pace.

French Polynesia and Bora Bora is more like the French version of Hawaii – Tahiti itself is fairly built up, with the big hotels, and Bora Bora is full of hotels, although they’re deliberately kept lower key and smaller scale on Bora Bora – there was only one two story hotel, that I remembered, and it was tucked in against the hilside.

Bora Bora is also very French. French butter, French wine. French bread with breakfast. Lots of French speaking people. At least the beer wasn’t French – Hinano, a local, brewed in Tahiti beer – not bad on a hot tropical afternoon!

After traipsing around Easter Island looking at Maoi, we were perfectly content to kick back for a week and hang out on the beach. We did the usual touristy things – glass bottom, semi-submersible boat ride, snorkeling in the clear water, scuba diving to feed the sharks (yes, feed the sharks), catamaran cruise at sunset, read Jack Welsh’s autobiography, Paul Theroux’s “The Happy Isle’s of Oceania”, and the entire Harry Potter trilogy while sitting on the beach.

Well, alright, I didn’t quite finish the Harry Potter trilogy before we left. But, I had a long ride home to finish it.

[tahiti][chile & french polynesia]