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Bora Bora was introduced to the Western world a la the famous explorer Captain Cook, who admired its idyllic greenery and flawless waters. From golden sunrise to rosy sunset, Bora Bora has a host of enthralling excursions that make for one perfect memory after another. So take a helicopter tour, ride bikes around the mainland, swim with docile sharks, dine on the beach and enjoy the sunset. Here, according to our Forbes Travel Guide editors, are the best ways to carve yourself a little slice of paradise in Bora Bora:
1. Take a helicopter ride. If you’ve never been in a chopper, now’s your chance to get an aerial view of heaven. It’s the fastest way to get your bearings. View the full palette of the Pacific waters and witness Bora Bora’s dramatic geography—all from a comfortable seat. It’s a great double date and some helicopters have room for four. Flights range from 15 to 30 minutes, but the dreamlike memory of looking down on Mount Otemanu never fades.
2. Enjoy an island bicycle tour. If heights aren’t your idea of a good time, there’s nothing like a little exercise to kick your jetlag. Bora Bora’s main island has a 20 mile circumference that can be leisurely peddled in a matter of hours. Soaking in roadside views from the paved loop will add to the trek, but in a place like Bora Bora, who’s keeping time? For a little boost, rent a motorized bicycle from the Avis in Vaitape, but make sure it’s not Sunday or you’ll end up on foot.
3. Feed the friendly sharks. Forget Jaws, because taking a dive with these beautiful creatures is all fun and no fear. After paddling offshore, your guide will load up on goodies then hop in the water to attract Bora Bora’s beautiful blacktip reef sharks. Watch as the sharks snatch bits of food from the guide’s bare hands. Don’t worry, these gentle nibblers are nothing to fear as you gaze from behind your snorkel mask. Still not convinced? Watching from the boat is thrilling too. Manta Ray feeding is also available for the shark-shy.
4. Dine on the beach. It’s the best way to wind down. Most resorts offer fine dining while rubbing sand between your toes as waves splash just out of reach. Tiki torches keep bugs at bay while you munch on fresh fish and tropical delicacies beneath the Polynesian stars. Be sure to inform your concierge that you’d like a sweet beach spot for two on at least one special evening.
5. Sip a sundowner. It’s an activity that never gets old—watching the orange sun sink into a blue horizon. Nearly every inch of Bora Bora is prime sun-spotting real estate. We recommend a seat on the pier at the St. Regis Lagoon Restaurant with a handful of wasabi-covered peanuts. If you are staying in an over-water bungalow, then try to land a west-facing hut so you can witness the magic from your own deck. Many resorts are BYOB friendly, so be sure to pack a bottle of your favorite drink for optimum enjoyment and some serious cost savings.