1-Don't expect to get much attention from service personnel by
saying "we're on our honeymoon." Bora Bora gets many newlyweds,
and the special treatment goes only so far.
2-Do pick up a fish identification guide so you'll know what you're
looking at when you're snorkeling or diving.
3-Do sign up for one of the shark- and ray-viewing lagoon tours
offered at Bora Bora. Be aware that these trips involve getting in the
water with feeding reef sharks, something dozens of visitors do
every day without incident. If you're not convinced, it's also possible
to stay in the boat for that part of the tour.
4- Don't expect to find many bargains on Bora Bora. This is easily
the most expensive island in the South Pacific—and also one of the
5-Do ask about the operator's policy on shark feeding if you plan to
scuba dive or snorkel. Shark feeding is a common practice on Bora
Bora, though some experts feel it's unwise to make the animals
dependent on handouts and to make them associate people with
food. If you agree, or if you just don't like the idea of being near
hungry sharks, seek out an operator who doesn't engage in feeding,
though they can be hard to find.
6-Do take along everything you need (from camera supplies to
sunscreen) if you want to save money. Prices for most items are far
higher than what you'll pay at home. Also consider stowing a few
food items in your suitcase to save on a trip or two to the pricey
7-Do be careful if you're swimming near an offshore motu. At certain
times, strong currents can be created that have the potential to sweep
you out into the open sea.
8-Don't be frightened if you find a gecko in your room (usually you'll
find more than one). They're harmless unless you're an insect, though
their high-pitched "barking" can be a strange sound to wake up to.
9-Do book flights and hotels well in advance, especially if you're
interested in the high-end resorts or if your vacation falls during a
10-Do invest in a pareu and experiment with a few of the many ways
to wear it.
11-Do take in the view of tombstonelike Mount Otemanu from the pier
at Bloody Mary's Restaurant and Bar.
12-Don't feed the local dogs. There are so many strays that they have
become major pests.
13-You can rent a bicycle or small car to circle the island on its
winding, two-lane road. Jeep safaris take you up steep tracks to
interior viewpoints. Seven large cannons installed at four different sites
during World War II can still be visited. (Bora was the site of a U.S.
base during the war.) Several ancient ceremonial sites, or marae, are
also open to visitors.
14-Crime is relatively rare on Bora Bora. Still, it's wise to practice
15-Bora Bora gets its drinking water from a modern desalinization plant,
and drinking it from the tap isn't as risky as it is elsewhere. However, if
you would rather not take any chances, prepackaged water and other
drinks are widely available.
16-When swimming on rocky or coral-laden beaches, always wear
sandals, flip-flops or some other footwear to avoid stonefish, the
lagoon's only common danger. These fish look just like rocks and have
spines that inject a poison if you step on them, which can be extremely
painful and occasionally fatal. If you do step on one, apply heat
immediately and head to the nearest doctor or hospital.
17-Couples Retreat, starring Vince Vaughn, was filmed at the St. Regis
Bora Bora Resort.
18-Transvestites (or mahu) are an accepted part of the French
Polynesian community and often work in restaurants, on airplanes and
in boutiques on Bora Bora.
Ready to jump off your own over water bungalow into the crystal blue waters? The best way to get the most out of a honeymoon like this is to let a travel professional handle the details. This way you will not encounter any unexpected surprises!