The Paradise

Trip Start Sep 06, 2010
Trip End Sep 04, 2011

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Where I stayed
Chez Robert&Tina

Flag of French Polynesia  , Society Islands,
Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chance to taste a paradise, where no concerns, no worries burden your mind and where beauty thrives, has since ever been the dream to most of us. To find such illusive dreamland, we usually must flee our hometowns and countries, and immerse ourselves into far-away destinations full of picturesque sceneries bursting in colors and flooded by sun-rays. This time, my trip brought me to one of those places; a place which name is an embodiment for the perfect holiday, and which makes most of the people green in envy, French Polynesia and it's the most glorious pearl, Bora Bora. Far, far away, well hidden in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, is a kingdom of breath-taking turquoise lagoons with crystal clear waters and bleach-white beaches resting in arms of barrier reefs and atolls. Created for all sun-and-sand addicts, and as the most spectacular honey-moon location, this Eden on the Earth is one of the God’s masterpieces. I have not been to many renowned beach resorts, but judging by pictures seen, you can hardly find anything similarly impressive.

French Polynesia, the over-sea territory of France, is not only Bora Bora, but also other 176 islands and atolls grouped up into 5 archipelagos stretching in the middle of the Pacific on the area as big as Europe. With Bora Bora being the main draw-card, also other islands do not come short on post card sceneries with the pulse slowing effect: the furthest located Marquises Archipelago with, alike Rapa Nui, high rocky coast and no beaches, or pearl-shaped sandy atolls of Tuamotu Archipelago, etc. French Polynesia simply offers so many great and unique places that even with Air Tahiti serving 47 islands, and one month of time at your disposal, you can still be short of time.

But to start nicely from the beginning….. after spending almost 5hrs on the plane to Rapa Nui, a few more minutes is needed to reach Papeete, the main city on Tahiti Island. Welcomed by air saturated by the scent of Gardenias and warm, yet humid, climate, I was ready to sort out my French Polynesia itinerary. Dumping the initial intention to spend the whole 7 days on easy-to-reach Moora Island, I was hoping to get on the first Bora Bora flight and after three days there to fly over to Tikehau Island in Tuamotu Archipelagos. To see how successful my flight booking exercise is going to be I, however, had to wait till the morning of the next day, as Air Tahiti really takes the life and business easy and surprisingly closes its office already at 4 pm. Impatiently lined up in front of their office already at 6 am, I only managed to get on the 4.15 pm Bora Bora flight. It was not an optimal scenario, but an advice to put myself on the flight waiting list was about to bring its fruits. Blessed with a bit of luck and armed with my irresistible smile, at 8 am, I was already sitting on the 'paradise’ bound plane. Lighter of EUR 475 paid for the three flights, I was ready to work hard my French Polynesian plan: ‘do totally nothing’.

Regardless of all those superlative stories you heard about Bora Bora, nothing prepares you for the striking and overwhelming reality classified as ‘amazing – out-of-this-world’. Already the first moments at the local airport reveal a view at the lagoon with colors any postcard would envy. You think that you know how turquoise color looks like……no away; no until you experience this blinding concert of milky blue waters suddenly changing its ‘mood’ into cobalt blue, as they get deeper. My skepticism about the true extent of Bora Bora’s beauty was demolished within 3 minutes from the arrival. It is simple like that. It is not that big turquoise swimming pool what makes Bora Bora unique, but its magic combination and contrast with the lush green slopes of the extinct volcano soaring over the main island.

The main island is surrounded with various in size, small sandy islands (called motu) where the most expensive hotel resorts reside. One of them, Motu Mute, is also whereabouts of the local airport. After the catamaran ride and reaching the Bora Bora’s main settlement, tiny village of Vaitape, my next steps lead to the island’s most southernmost place, Matira Point. Known for the best stretch of beaches and abundance of family run pensions, this small peninsula is a perfect spot to find an accommodation. Without any previous reservation, being on the verge of the Christmas Eve day, I ended up in the best lagoon overlooking room of Chez Robert & Tina Pension. Located right at the tip of the Matira Point, my balcony was one big,180 degree window overlooking shallow, bluish lagoon and nearby barrier reef. It is the view which makes you swoon. Without raising my head from the pillow, I was pampered with this truly a million dollar view during the daylight, and at night, a warm breeze and roaring ocean waves clashing in the distance against the barrier reef were putting me asleep. With crystal clear waters of the glorious Matira Beach around the corner and smiley and friendly owners, this is the place you want to end up if travelling on the budget. The first night, after waking up at 1.30 am, I sat at the balcony and made myself laughing while thinking where I am, and what I can see and hear. Call it a real Bora Bora experience.

To relieve myself from high temperatures and humidity, to catch a bit of bronze (guys, I am so dark that some folks here in NZ told me that I look like Brasilian .…haha), and to work on my French Polynesian plan, I spent two days just lying on the Matira Beach, the only natural stretch of beach on the Bora Bora’s main island. Believer or not, but all other beaches, obviously besides those on motu, were artificially made from sand extracted from the lagoon bottom. With like-from-a-mountain-spring clear and only knee-depth waters, the beach is one amazing water playground. A few tens of meters in-land from this fantastic spectacle called Matira Beach is a venue of similar beauty. Mounted with tropical blooming gardens and coconut palm trees playfully bending under the light breeze, walking along the island’s only road, while listening loud Polynesian music coming out from the near-by houses, is almost a spiritual experience. Even though I was sweating underneath the tropical sun, strolling around filled me with a lot of positive energy and put a smile on my face. You guys were freezing your asses off back in snow-bound Europe with me living one big dream…how unfair, right!?

With two days inconceivably ‘wasted’ by stretching on the beach, the day No. 2, the Christmas Eve, was devoted to the lagoon tour. Boarding the small boat with two super smiley local guys kicked off one of the most picturesque, yet pumped-with-adrenaline, trip of my life. After picking up two honeymoon couples, we drove closer to the barrier reef to encounter one of the local under water residents, white teeth sharks. What I did not manage back in Galapagos, I was about to catch up here on Bora Bora. Already the ride there through spectacular lagoon waters shading in all colors of blue, with the sun warming you up with its rays, and with pleasant breeze dancing over your skin was one of the most joyful and happier moment of my life. Even now, I can still feel the vibe of that moment. A few moments after anchoring, the boat was suddenly circled by seven or eight underwater shades waiting for the breakfast. Not us though, even thought the guides were making jokes on this account, but a bucket full of sardines. To see the whole feeding show from the proximity of a few decimeters, we were kicked out of the boat directly in the middle of those 1,2 meter long predators. We were said they do not bite, but still, they were sharks. During the feeding, those blood craving creatures were literally hand-reach from us. Afterwards, while snorkeling around the boat, they kept swimming a few meters from us. Wow, what an amazing experience it was.

The second stop was one of numerous coral reefs, a home to hundreds of tropical fish. Not an adrenaline experience, but definitely like-from-the-national-geographic moment. Acting as one big living swirl, the fish swam just a few centimeters from us. I even got a few times slapped by their small thins, as they were chasing the food thrown to them. It was another great moment. I smiled in a joy that much that water started flowing into my goggles. Making the trip even more enjoyable, afterwards, we were taken to a new spot to feed another lovely creature, friendly and toothless stingrays. With sardines in our hands, those triangle shaped guys, with soft and smooth bodies and hard tales, were literally touching and jumping on us to get that fish. Wow, that was the most amazing wild life experience ever. Stingrays are so peaceful and lovely animals that you must love them.

Great vistas of Bora Bora lagoon, amazing lunch, and another memorable moments in paradise, this is what the last part of the trip was about. Spectacular, breath-taking, mind-blowing ….those are adjectives that come to your mind when seeing the view from the top of the visited motu. Turquoise, turquoise, turquoise, a bit of deep blue and great panorama of the Bora Bora’s volcano; those are essential ingredients of paradise, guys. I am not kidding now, but up there, I was walking around for at least 30 seconds while loudly saying "wow, wow, wow…..". Simply staggering and out-of this-world vistas! After all that wild life feeding, it was our lunch time. Great fish, fruit salad and pineapple juice served on the shore with blue waters in front of you……………. The whole trip was simply great and more then valuable replacement of the Christmas Eve dinner.

The Bora Bora’s divine beauty however carries, actually as all great and posh things, a nice, fat price tag. As one of, if not, the most expensive holiday destinations, the price level here is sky high. Even f**** Luxembourg is so, but so, cheap. An ordinary on-a-budget backpacker simply cannot afford to show up here. Without including flights in and out of French Polynesia, which are on my RTW ticket, seven days here cost me $1,400, the amount on which I can be easily live for a month in South America. A small grocery shopping (3 apples, 4 bottle of water, 1 l of fruit nectar, small jar of jam and 2 baguettes) – EUR 13; half an hour of internet – EUR 4; a fish burger – EUR 14, an ice cream – EUR 4, etc. My room with a great view, but without a private bathroom and only with cold water was EUR 70. If you want to upgrade to the midrange category with a private bathroom and hot water, pull out EUR 200 each night. Tempted to fall asleep in one of those sea bungalows resting over turquoise bays? ………EUR 700 a night will fix it. The most expensive resort on Bora Bora is The Four Seasons were a night costs you an astonishing EUR 4,300. Eight nights there would totally clear my entire RTW budget….simply crazy! But the local prices have one big advantage; they serve as very effective and efficient ‘backpacker repellent’. I did not see any other backpackers, besides one French couple and me, during the whole stay.

Bora Bora is everything, but an ordinary place. Even for somebody like me, who is not a big fan of beach vacations, spending a few days here was an unforgettable moment. It was also an opportunity to recharge batteries after almost 4 months of travelling through America, and to spend once-in-a-life-time Christmas time. I sincerely wish that all of you could come here one day and get your own bite of this paradise. I got my own and will not forget its taste till my last day on this planet. Now, get yourself a glass of wine, some chips, and enjoy the pictures……………

Greetings from Te Anau, New Zealand

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Faran on

Te Anaaaaau maaaan, big rough lake, hope the weather is good...

I will concentrate on the pictures in this one dude, they look promising. Just wanna verify that shark story, dont yet know how to understand that...

luxguy on

Te Anau...I was there 2 days and have not seen anything besides Milford Sound, as it was raining in the mountains like hell. The same here in Wanaka

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