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French Polynesia

Bora Bora: the most beautiful island on the planet?

 Posted by Germain Laroche
Germain Laroche
, November 10, 2013 at 04:12:37 :: French Polynesia

Bora BoraBora Bora Island, surrounded by an atoll, is located about 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Tahiti and approximately 4,200 km (2,600 mi) south of Hawaii. The island was discovered in 1722 by Jakob Roggeveen, and is arguably the most beautiful island on the planet.

Less than an hour's flight from the island of Tahiti or Moorea, the island of Bora Bora (“Pora Pora”, meaning First Born) is a volcanic island in the Society Islands archipelago of French Polynesia.

Approximately 5,000 people live a seemingly idyllic lifestyle in the main villages of Vaitape (largest city), Anau and Faanui.

The first European explorers who visited the island were led by James Cook in 1770. In 1842, the island was colonized by France under the leadership of Admiral Abel Aubert Dupetit Thouars.

In World War II the United States picked Bora Bora as a South Pacific military supply base, and a seaplane base, airstrip, oil depot, and defensive fortifications were built around the island. However, despite all the preparations, no combat took place here. June 2, 1946 marks the official closing of the US Military Base in the island. The abandoned base became Bora Bora Airport (Motu Mute Airport), French Polynesia’s only international airport until Faa'a International Airport opened in the 1962 in Papeete, Tahiti.

Shrouded mountains of dense vegetation, blue lagoons and white sand beaches are waiting for you - Bora Bora remains the island of all dreams.

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French Polynesia: Tahiti, Bora Bora, Raiatea, etc.

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 07, 2009 at 07:57:11 :: French Polynesia

French Polynesia (French: Polynésie française, Tahitian: Pōrīnetia Farāni) is a French overseas collectivity in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands, the most famous island being Tahiti in the Society Islands group, which is also the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the territory (Papeete).

French Polynesia
Map from

French Polynesia covers over two million square miles of the South Pacific Ocean and is comprised of 118 islands spread over five great archipelagos.

Many islands are crowned with jagged peaks while others appear to barely float above the breaking waves. Spread over an area as large as Western Europe, the total land mass of all the islands adds up to an area only slightly larger than the tiny state of Rhode Island.

The three archipelagos most sought by visitors are the Society Islands, comprised of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha'a; The Tuamotu Atolls or "Tahiti's Strand of Pearls", include the atolls of Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau, and Fakarava; and the Marquesas, or "The Mysterious Islands."

The two other archipelagos, the Austral Islands and the Gambier Islands, lie to the south and the southeast, respectively, of the Society Islands. While very few travelers venture to these remote islands, those that do are not disappointed by the pristine environment.

BoraBora Island and Lagoon

Fun facts about French Polynesia:

- Hawaii gets more visitors in 10 days than Tahiti does in an entire year.

- In ancient Tahiti, archery was a sacred sport, practiced only by people of high rank. And while they were expert marksmen, bows and arrows were never used as weapons of war.

- It’s common to put a tiare (Tahiti’s national flower, a fragrant white blossom) behind one’s ear -- left side you’re taken, right if you’re looking.

- James Michener’s mythical island of Bali Hai is likened to Moorea.

- Moorea is known as "The Island of Love," and Bora Bora as "The Romantic Island."

- Moorea means "yellow lizard" which is a name taken from a family of chiefs.

- Natives of the lush Austral Islands grow many crops in the fertile soil. Due to their diets of foods rich in fluoride, people from these temperate isles have beautiful white teeth.

- Over half of the population is under the age of 20 years old.

- Tahiti and Her Islands covers over two million square miles of the South Pacific Ocean and is comprised of five great archipelagos with 118 islands.

- Tahitians are very friendly, but somewhat shy. Visitors find that by offering the first smile or "ia ora na" (hello), they will be greeted by wonderful Tahitian hospitality.

BoraBora Motu Tapu

- The beautiful black pearls, cherished by natives and visitors alike, are indigenous only in the Tuomotu Islands of French Polynesia.

- The Chinese population (about 10 percent) monopolizes the retail trade, so when Tahitians talk about going shopping, they say they are going to "la Chine" or to the Chinese.

- The letter "B" does not exist in the Tahitian language. Bora Bora is actually Pora Pora, meaning first born, but early visitors heard it as Bora Bora.

- The Pearl Museum on Tahiti is the only museum in the world devoted entirely to pearls. The unique presentations about Tahitian Cultured Pearls describe and demonstrate the history and practice of cultivating pearls as well as their place in art, history, mythology, and religion.

- The traditional method of "stone fishing" is still performed for special festivals. Dozens of outrigger canoes form a semicircle, and men in the canoes beat the water with stones tied to ropes. The frightened fish are then driven towards the beach and the men jump from the canoes yelling and beating the water with their hands to drive the fish ashore.

- The translation of Papeete (Tahiti’s capital) is "water basket".

- The ultimate private island escape, Motu Tapu is the most photographed isle in the South Pacific. This tiny motu,
just a few hundred yards from the main island of Bora Bora, is best described as the world's most perfect to relax.

- The word tattoo originated in Tahiti. The legend of Tohu, the god of tattoo, describes painting all the oceans’ fish in beautiful colors and patterns. In Polynesian culture, tattoos have long been considered signs of beauty, and in earlier times were ceremoniously applied when reaching adolescence.

- There are more hotel rooms in a typical Las Vegas hotel than on all 118 islands of French Polynesia.

- There are no poisonous snakes or insects in French Polynesia.

- Those things that look like mail boxes outside the homes of Tahitian residents are not for mail, but for French bread delivery. Residents get a fresh loaf dropped off twice a day. But alas, they must go to the post office to retrieve their mail!

Visit French Polynesia, Tahiti and Bora Bora now, on Landolia.
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