What No One Tells You About Bora Bora



Yes Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are honeymooning on the island but before they discovered it I’d been there 3 times. Here’s what the real people who don’t stay in over water bungalows need to know about it.

There are 2 economic systems of payment. The islanders get the low prices for everything and us tourists pay through the nose.

At the grocery store it got ugly one day.

We were looking at a poorly made plastic Chinese toy truck on the shelf to perhaps buy for our 2 year old son who was enamored with it.

It was dusty and old, as in, it hadn’t been touched for years. Add the humid sea spray air and you have the makings of disintegration.

The truck fell apart in our hands and the woman who owned the store went berserk, “You pay for truck now, 80 dollah!”

We didn’t and she screamed at us all the way outside.

I live in Hawaii now and its routine to pay $50 for a bag of groceries. It would be $100 on Bora Bora.

The barge arrives bearing food and essentials and the cost is higher but its twice as high for tourists than it is for locals.

Over water bungalows cost $600 to $1500 per night. You don’t have to stay in one. There are other bungalows to stay in not over water. Matira Beach has a hotel with bungalows, and kitchens.

Don’t eat out every night you’ll save by cooking. We were there 3 weeks so it made sense to make most of our meals in the bungalow.

The Bora Bora lagoon is breathtaking. There is an otherworldly feel to it. A shangri-la in the South Seas.

We stayed with the Bora Bora Yacht Club. It had floating houseboats to live in. About $120 a night but that was 26 years ago.

Open up your wallet and keep it open.

The highlights were:

Feeling my baby move inside me for the first time when I was pregnant as I leaned against a palm tree on an outer island we were exploring that day in our tiny boat.

The drop dead gorgeous sunsets with no development.

Discovering the outer islands inside the reef with no one on them but us.

The sunset cruise in the lagoon on a catamaran and non-stop cocktails.

Feeding fish after breakfast at the Bora Bora Hotel and walking back to our beach.

Living on Gauguin’s beach where he painted for 10 days. Matira Beach on Bora Bora. Check it out.

I remember a woman saying to me about my son, “It’s too bad your child won’t remember this when he grows up.”

I said, “Yes he will remember it, its unforgettable” and now 26 years after the above photo was taken he has been to 50 countries and lives in Nepal empowering girls with his social venture Beyond the Four Walls.

Memories are experiences that etch into your heart and no one can take that away from you. It goes into the next life with your spirit.

Yes travel to exotic places costs piles of cash but you can’t take your stuff or stocks with you in the coffin.

Swimming on Gauguin’s beach and seeing the sun rise on it every morning is the stuff made of enchanted dreams.

Without the overwater bungalow.

With your family or wild pigs running by, with a ham and cheese sandwich and a full heart.

The author writes about her world adventures in her books on Amazon.

Discover Mary’s photography here.