Prepare for a customized small-group experience exploring the Bora Bora lagoon and barrier reef renowned for its outstanding marine life. After pickup from selected hotels or the Vaitape pier, board your traditional Polynesian boat for the first of several stops made during your 26-mile (42-kilometer) cruise around the island. Arriving at shallow waters frequented by blacktip reef sharks and stingrays, your guide demonstrates how to interact with these curious creatures. See all the action on these extraordinary fish from the boat. Next up in Bora Bora’s tropical paradise is a vibrant coral garden teeming with colorful fish. Snap on your mask and snorkel for a look, and receive helpful tips from your guide who ensures your comfort in the water. When it’s time for lunch, speed away to a motu with the 2,385-feet (727-meter) Mt Otemanu as your backdrop. While your guide prepares a Polynesian-style barbecue on the white-sand beach, enjoy free time to swim or snorkel in the tranquil turquoise waters. Then settle in at a shaded table for a savory picnic that may include grilled fish, chicken and beef accompanied by salads and other dishes. Your guide explains how to cook these local favorites and shares other cultural and historical facts. Finish your memorable 6-hour tour with drop-off at your hotel or the pier.
I haven’t had the best of luck with bicycles when I travel, so it was a surprise that I grew to embrace them in French Polynesia. Like the island time I mentioned above, cycling slows you down, chills you out and ensures you don’t miss anything. I was always moving slow enough that the locals could call out to me as I passed, I was able to stop every few metres to snap a photo of a colourful flower or deserted beach, and the roads were well-paved, so it wasn’t painful to ride.
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In July, the Heivā festival in Papeete celebrates Polynesian culture and the commemoration of the storming of the Bastille in Paris. After the establishment of the CEP (Centre d'Experimentation du Pacifique) in 1963, the standard of living in French Polynesia increased considerably and many Polynesians abandoned traditional activities and emigrated to the urban centre of Pape'ete. Even though the standard of living is elevated (due mainly to French foreign direct investment), the economy is reliant on imports. At the cessation of CEP activities, France signed the Progress Pact with Tahiti to compensate the loss of financial resources and assist in education and tourism with an investment of about US$150 million a year from the beginning of 2006.
The Society archipelago is a hotspot volcanic chain consisting of ten islands and atolls. The chain is oriented along the N. 65° W. direction, parallel to the movement of the Pacific Plate. Due to the plate movement over the Society hotspot, the age of the islands decreases from 5 Ma at Maupiti to 0 Ma at Mehetia, where Mehetia is the inferred current location of the hotspot as evidenced by recent seismic activity. Maupiti, the oldest island in the chain, is a highly eroded shield volcano with at least 12 thin aa flows, which accumulated fairly rapidly between 4.79 and 4.05 Ma. Bora Bora is another highly eroded shield volcano consisting of basaltic lavas accumulated between 3.83 and 3.1 Ma. The lavas are intersected by post-shield dikes. Tahaa consists of shield-stage basalt with an age of 3.39 Ma, followed by additional eruptions 1.2 Ma later. Raiatea consists of shield-stage basalt followed by post-shield trachytic lava flows, all occurring from 2.75 to 2.29 Ma. Huahine consists of two coalesced basalt shield volcanoes, Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti, with several flows followed by post-shield trachyphonolitic lava domes from 3.08 to 2.06 Ma. Moorea consists of at least 16 flows of shield-stage basalt and post-shield lavas from 2.15 to 1.36 Ma. Tahiti consists of two basalt shield volcanoes, Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti, with an age range of 1.67 to 0.25 Ma.[4]

In about 1810, Pōmare II married Teremo'emo'e daughter of the chief of Raiatea, to ally himself with the chiefdoms of the Leeward Islands. On 12 November 1815, thanks to these alliances, Pōmare II won a decisive battle at Fe'i Pī (Punaauia), notably against Opuhara,[29] the chief of the powerful clan of Teva.[10] This victory allowed Pōmare II to be styled Ari'i Rahi, or the king of Tahiti. It was the first time that Tahiti had been united under the control of a single family. It was the end of Tahitian feudalism and the military aristocracy, which were replaced by an absolute monarchy. At the same time, Protestantism quickly spread, thanks to the support of Pōmare II, and replaced the traditional beliefs. In 1816 the London Missionary Society sent John Williams as a missionary and teacher, and starting in 1817, the Gospels were translated into Tahitian (Reo Maohi) and taught in the religious schools. In 1818, the minister William Pascoe Crook founded the city of Papeete, which became the capital of the island.
In July 1768, Captain James Cook was commissioned by the Royal Society and on orders from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to observe the transit of Venus across the sun, a phenomenon that would be visible from Tahiti on 3 June 1769.[21] He arrived in Tahiti's Matavai Bay, commanding HMS Endeavour on 12 April 1769.[22][11]:141 On 14 April, Cook met with Tutaha and Tepau.[11]:144 On 15 April, Cook picked the site for a fortified camp at Point Venus along with Banks, Parkinson, Daniel Solander, to protect Charles Green's observatory.[11]:147 The length of stay enabled them to undertake for the first time real ethnographic and scientific observations of the island. Assisted by the botanist Joseph Banks, and by the artist Sydney Parkinson, Cook gathered valuable information on the fauna and flora, as well as the native society, language and customs, including the proper name of the island, 'Otaheite'. On 28 April, Cook met Purea and Tupaia, and Tupaia befriended Banks following the transit. On 21 June, Amo visited Cook, and then on 25 June, Pohuetea visited, signifying another chief seeking to ally himself with the British.[11]:154–155,175,183–185
The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa is a floating oasis in the South Pacific. It features all spacious overwater villas. Found on the southeastern side of the coral reef, these luxurious accommodations face the spectacular Mount Otemanu and boast incredible views of Bora Bora. Here, modern architecture flourishes with an authentic Polynesian design, accentuating a color palette that reflects the sapphire blue of the surrounding lagoon.
Football in Tahiti is administered by the Fédération Tahitienne de Football and was founded in 1938. The Tahiti Division Fédérale is the top division on the island and the Tahiti Championnat Enterprise is the second tier. Some of the major clubs are AS Manu-Ura, who play in Stade Hamuta, AS Pirae, who play in the Stade Pater Te Hono Nui and AS Tefana, who play in the Stade Louis Ganivet. Lesser clubs include Matavai. In 2012, the national team won the OFC Nations Cup qualifying for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil and becoming the first team other than Australia or New Zealand to win it.
French Polynesia was one of the last places on Earth to be settled by humans. Scientists believe the Great Polynesian Migration happened around 1500 BC as Austronesian people went on a journey using celestial navigation to find islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The first islands of French Polynesia to be settled were the Marquesas Islands in about 200 BC. The Polynesians later ventured southwest and discovered the Society Islands around AD 300.[6]
In a surprise result, Oscar Temaru's pro-independence progressive coalition, Union for Democracy, formed a government with a one-seat majority in the 57-seat parliament, defeating the conservative party, Tahoera'a Huiraatira, led by Gaston Flosse. On 8 October 2004, Flosse succeeded in passing a censure motion against the government, provoking a crisis. A controversy is whether the national government of France should use its power to call for new elections in a local government in case of a political crisis.

In ancient times the island was called "Pora pora mai te pora", meaning "created by the gods" in the local Tahitian dialect. This was often abbreviated Pora Pora meaning simply "first born". Because of ambiguities in the phonemes of the Tahitian language, this could also be pronounced Bola Bola or Bora Bora. When explorer Jacob Roggeveen first landed on the island, he and his crew adopted the name Bora Bora which has stood ever since.[2][3]


This emigration, across several hundred kilometres of ocean, was made possible by using outrigger canoes that were up to twenty or thirty meters long and could transport families as well as domestic animals. In 1769, for instance, James Cook mentions a great traditional ship (va'a) in Tahiti that was 33 m (108 ft) long, and could be propelled by sail or paddles.[7] In 2010, an expedition on a simple outrigger canoe with a sail retraced the route back from Tahiti to Asia.[8]

In 1946, Polynesians were granted French citizenship and the islands' status was changed to an overseas territory; the islands' name was changed in 1957 to Polynésie Française (French Polynesia). In 1962, France's early nuclear testing ground of Algeria became independent and the Moruroa atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago was selected as the new testing site; tests were conducted underground after 1974.[16] In 1977, French Polynesia was granted partial internal autonomy; in 1984, the autonomy was extended. French Polynesia became a full overseas collectivity of France in 2003.[17]
In July 1768, Captain James Cook was commissioned by the Royal Society and on orders from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to observe the transit of Venus across the sun, a phenomenon that would be visible from Tahiti on 3 June 1769.[21] He arrived in Tahiti's Matavai Bay, commanding HMS Endeavour on 12 April 1769.[22][11]:141 On 14 April, Cook met with Tutaha and Tepau.[11]:144 On 15 April, Cook picked the site for a fortified camp at Point Venus along with Banks, Parkinson, Daniel Solander, to protect Charles Green's observatory.[11]:147 The length of stay enabled them to undertake for the first time real ethnographic and scientific observations of the island. Assisted by the botanist Joseph Banks, and by the artist Sydney Parkinson, Cook gathered valuable information on the fauna and flora, as well as the native society, language and customs, including the proper name of the island, 'Otaheite'. On 28 April, Cook met Purea and Tupaia, and Tupaia befriended Banks following the transit. On 21 June, Amo visited Cook, and then on 25 June, Pohuetea visited, signifying another chief seeking to ally himself with the British.[11]:154–155,175,183–185

In 1940, the administration of French Polynesia recognised the Free French Forces and many Polynesians served in World War II. Unknown at the time to the French and Polynesians, the Konoe Cabinet in Imperial Japan on 16 September 1940 included French Polynesia among the many territories which were to become Japanese possessions, as part of the "Eastern Pacific Government-General" in the post-war world.[15] However, in the course of the war in the Pacific the Japanese were not able to launch an actual invasion of the French islands.
Political life in French Polynesia has been marked by great instability since the mid-2000s. On 14 September 2007, the pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru, was elected president of French Polynesia for the third time in three years (with 27 of 44 votes cast in the territorial assembly).[20] He replaced former president Gaston Tong Sang, opposed to independence, who lost a no-confidence vote in the Assembly of French Polynesia on 31 August after the longtime former president of French Polynesia, Gaston Flosse, hitherto opposed to independence, sided with his long enemy Oscar Temaru to topple the government of Gaston Tong Sang. Oscar Temaru, however, had no stable majority in the Assembly of French Polynesia, and new territorial elections were held in February 2008 to solve the political crisis.
A trip to Bora Bora and Tahiti is your ticket to discover a new and colorful world. Lush green mountains, crystal clear lagoons and romantic overwater bungalows are awaiting you in this idyllic part of the world. Just looking at the images of Bora Bora makes you want to leave everything behind and fully immerse in this world of beauty and tranquility. It's no surprise Tahiti is a bucket list destination for many people, and a honeymoon in Bora Bora is the dream of many brides and grooms.
The wonderful thing about Bora Bora is that you can be as active or inactive as you wish to be. Should you decide to venture away from the resort, you can visit the main village of Vaitape and shop at the local boutiques or dine at one of Bora Bora's restaurants including Mai Kai Bora Bora, or the legendary Bloody Mary's. You can also explore Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu on a guided hike or Jeep Safari tour.
Although various explorers had refused to get involved in tribal conflicts, the mutineers from Bounty offered their services as mercenaries and furnished arms to the family which became the Pōmare Dynasty. The chief Tū knew how to use their presence in the harbours favoured by sailors to his advantage. As a result of his alliance with the mutineers, he succeeded in considerably increasing his supremacy over the island of Tahiti.
Whether it's Bora Bora, Tahiti or Moorea, a trip to French Polynesia is unforgettable. The shades of blue are hypnotic and the sharp volcanic landforms enchanting. The heady vegetative luxuriance commands respect, contrasting with the beaches draped in coconut palms. No words can describe the feeling of eternity and immensity that you feel as you walk on the soil of one of the 118 islands of French Polynesia. Your gaze is easily lost in the horizon. A grandeur that, as much as it tries to tempt you to relax and unwind, is also uncovered by getting to know the culture and way of life, which are as refined as they are emblematic. Put on your flip flops and set off to discover the Polynesian arts and folklore that continue to resonate, like the tattooing, the 'upa'upa dance and songs such as the fakanau. Taking part in the famous Heiva festival will give you a flavor of that culture in all its vivacity. But a trip to French Polynesia wouldn't be complete without taking full advantage of its fauna and flora, its world-renowned natural resources like the seabeds that are so popular with divers. Just grab yourself a mask and snorkel and you'll be ready to go off and meet the graceful manta rays and moray eels. When you visit the Leeward islands, how about lacing up your sneakers and hiking along some of its heavenly paths, maybe discovering an idyllic waterfall hidden among a tangle of ferns. Finish up by trying your hand at the most beautiful sport there could be in this garden of Eden: surfing. Novices will head for the beach breaks, while experienced surfers who are used to riding the tubes will seek the reef breaks for ultimate excitement!
But you know what? It was actually the islands outside of Bora Bora that captured my heart and that was a big surprise. I visited five of them over my two weeks in French Polynesia and I was thrilled to discover how much each individual island had to offer travellers — and they were all so different! I spent my time hiking volcanoes, spotting manta rays, learning how to crack open coconuts, swimming in lagoons, feeding sacred blue-eyed eels, and sunbathing on some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen.
French Polynesia also sends three deputies to the French National Assembly, one representing the Leeward Islands administrative subdivision and the south-western suburbs of Papeete, another one representing Papeete and its north-eastern suburbs, plus the commune (municipality) of Mo'orea-Mai'ao, the Tuāmotu-Gambier administrative division, and the Marquesas Islands administrative division, and the last one representing the rest of Tahiti and the Austral Islands administrative subdivision. French Polynesia also sends two senators to the French Senate.
The expansive and immaculate St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is the ultimate South Pacific splurge. Located on the secluded northeastern side of the lagoon, this luxurious island lair is home to some of the largest overwater bungalows in the region. While these perched abodes are the most enticing, the resort features a diversity of accommodations including garden villas with private plunge pools and the lavish Royal Estate, which has welcomed a number of the world's most elite.
Several international groups are established: InterContinental, Sofitel, Novotel, Le Meridien, Starwood-Sheraton, Orient Express, Club Med and Radisson. Two local chains, Maitai and South Pacific Management, complete the hotel scene. Although complying with international standards, the overwater bungalows are decorated in Polynesian-style with the use of pandanus, bamboo and shell light fixtures. Some bungalows are fitted with glass-bottomed tables for watching the fishes without ever getting your feet wet. Be advised that the Radisson is quite a way from the airport and is perfect if you want to relax, but makes getting into town difficult (either a limited hotel shuttle or an expensive taxi ride).
The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora exudes an effortless luxury. Located on the northeastern side of the island along the outer coral reef, this exclusive enclave is one of the premier resort options in Bora Bora. The overwater bungalows, some of which have their own private plunge pools, boast exceptional views of the lagoon or Mount Otemanu. They incorporate a fascinating architecture, featuring walls made of volcanic stone and decorative accents fashioned from mother of pearl.
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