Bora Bora, the Pearl of the Pacific


Bora Bora...a name which evokes a place that is already close to being considered as "paradise". I actually had the chance to go there for a week; sailing in one of the world's most beautiful lagoons, enjoying the marvelous views, and of course, taking lots of pictures.

Bora Bora is a name that sounds familiar to everyone. This island is often considered as one of the most “paradisiac” places to stay on earth. After over a year in French Polynesia, I still haven’t paid a visit to this place, even if it’s only 60km away from Raiatea and we can easily see Bora Bora from here. I must admit that the local image of Bora Bora is not exactly the same as with the rest of the world. People are complaining that this island was “colonized” by international luxury hotels and that all the money brought by these tourism activities remain in the hands of the international economic groups without many significant repercussions on the local economy. In a way, there are two Bora Boras – the outside barrier of the lagoon is the one belonging to the luxury hotels with the most beautiful (private) beaches you can find; and the island itself, is for the locals, who are living their own traditional (and often poor) way of life.
Well, that’s why we hesitated to go there, as the local image of Bora Bora isn’t really so good.

Credits: vicuna

But this year, for my birthday, I had two very good friends who were visiting from Nice and we decided to celebrate these two events (their visit and my birthday) by going on a sailing cruise in Bora Bora!
Sailing is perhaps the best way to discover the island, as all the charms and the beauty of the place is about the lagoon: you can spend the whole day just sailing around the island, the water is green and not very deep, sand is everywhere, and snorkeling/diving there is amazing.

Credits: vicuna

Bora Bora is magical even looking at it from the sea because the center of the island is marked by a fascinating mountain, a former volcano which now tends to sink but has a very special shape. When sailing around the island, the shape of this mountain changes every time. I took a lot of pictures of it, from every different place of the lagoon. Here’s a selection of shots from the same mountain, but seen from different angles.

Credits: vicuna

And when you go sailing, you must find a good place to dock your ship for the night. That’s actually great as you get to enjoy a different sunset every night and a different sunrise every morning! You can’t enjoy something like that if you’re staying on land! Visiting Bora Bora by sailing on its lagoon shows you how beautiful this place is, and why it deserves its name, “Pearl of the Pacific”.

Credits: vicuna

Besides that, sailing in itself is a fantastic way of traveling. It’s total freedom! It was our first time on a sailboat and there’s a kind of magical feeling surrounding you when you feel that only the wind makes you move, without the noise of a motor, only the natural energy of wind. And the technical aspects of sailing are great to discover as well. Our skipper (we rented him with the boat as nobody of us knows how to sail a big 44feet long sailboat) was so nice and kind enough to explain sailing techniques to us, and let us participate on the technical operations and even let us navigate under his control. That’s truly amazing when you have control of this huge boat, being careful about the wind force and direction as it can change quickly and can be dangerous if you don’t know how to handle it. Well, it was a fantastic experience to do that.
And of course, sailing is a bit like camping, you are living on a reduced space, but this creates a great mood if you’re with good company (and that was the case!)

Credits: vicuna

Well, if you once have a chance to come to French Polynesia, do include Bora Bora on your itinerary – you won’t regret it! But one advice: avoid the luxury hotels and prefer a little sailing cruise, it’s really a fantastic experience, not so expensive, and cheaper as a room in one of those big international hotels!

written by vicuna on 2010-12-02 in #world #locations #travel-destination #island #colors #lagoon #pacific-ocean #blue #sailing #travel-tips #sailboat #paradise


  1. wonderdude
    wonderdude ·

    We went to Bora Bora for our honeymoon 14 months ago. So stunning and really is that good. The paradise of paradise. I couldn't stop taking photos. Too bad it was before I re-discovered analog photography! And I can still taste the Poisson Cru, too...mmm!

  2. jblaze823
    jblaze823 ·

    Simply beautiful, can't wait to go back someday...

  3. spoeker
    spoeker ·

    such a beautiful place...I get itchy feet....

  4. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    heaven on Earth! any pictures from the poor people side?

  5. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Thanks for the comments :)
    @breakphreak: not easy to see and shoot the people in their real life inside the island... and it's the same on Raiatea, contact between locals and white people is not easy... they just don't want to be disturbed by anyone... The cohabitation is very polite and quiet, but there's always some distance in front of the Popa'a (= the white man, in fact means "red" as the first british sailors had a red uniform and when they put it off, they were white, but soon after red again of sunburn... ;)

  6. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    Looks like paradise in your eyes !

  7. photomonk
    photomonk ·

    Wonderful place, I love your photos.

  8. chaotic4life
    chaotic4life ·

    One day ... ! Fantastic pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  9. disdis
    disdis ·


  10. stouf
    stouf ·

    Hoooo ! How could I miss this !?!?!? Such beautiful shots... Such a tremendously beautiful spot... Thanks for the eye-candies Stéphane !!!

  11. megs79
    megs79 ·

    So amazing. As my husband said we both wish we were into lomo when we were there. And the locals are really beautiful people. You captured its essence very well.

  12. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Thanks to all for the nice comments! :)

  13. naqi
    naqi ·

    very nice place. lovely shots

  14. ulap
    ulap ·

    great pictures! excellent colors!!

More Interesting Articles

  • Chemical Manipulations with the Lomo’Instant

    written by tomas_bates on 2015-01-21 in #gear #tipster
    Chemical Manipulations with the Lomo’Instant

    Perhaps you’ve already had chance to try light painting, multiple exposures and long exposures with your Lomo’Instant, but what can you experiment with next? Well, that’s exactly the thought I had which led to giving this Tipster a go. I wanted to shoot Lomo’Instant photos which felt a bit “messier” than what I’m usually used to and to use a technique which would open up new possibilities with the kinds of images I could create with my favorite instant camera. Well, here I go!

  • Newcomer of the Week: neonlights

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-09-14 in #lifestyle
    Newcomer of the Week: neonlights

    Neonlights had already made a name for herself in the Community with her fascinating film experiments and tipsters. With an amazing talent like hers, she certainly deserves to be hailed as our Newcomer of the Week!

  • Pushing Boundaries: So I Heard You Like Multiple Exposures

    written by Amber Valentine on 2015-04-11 in #world #tipster
    Pushing Boundaries: So I Heard You Like Multiple Exposures

    My name is Amber Valentine and I have a confession to make: I’m not really a photographer. I have a website full of photographs, a bookshelf full of cameras, film waiting to be developed, and a wall full of framed pictures I’ve taken. Even so, I don’t really consider myself a photographer per se. I think that Lomography is more about the experimentation and the fun of film than it is about the photography, and that experimentation is part of the reason I have embraced Lomography so.

  • Shop News

    Colorsplash your World!

    Colorsplash your World!

    At 30% off you can now color your analog images with 12 different color gels. Experiment with 35mm slide film and play with the built-in color flash for the most intense colors!

  • LomoAmigos Yougofirst Shoot With The LomoKino In Their New Snowboard Movie

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-10-09 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigos Yougofirst Shoot With The LomoKino In Their New Snowboard Movie

    Are you ready for an adrenaline rush? A little while ago, we teamed up with the snowboard and film-making collective Yougofirst and gave them a LomoKino and some film rolls to play with. After a season of crazy riding, jumps and tricks, they have finished their latest movie HETEROTOPIA which features footage shot with our 35mm movie-maker. We had the chance to catch up with Vid and Matic from the collective about the new movie and their experiences shooting analogue on the slopes. It's also our pleasure to showcase the movie here!

  • Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-29 in #people #lifestyle
    Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    While many of us can only dream of working with musicians and photographing them, Angela Izzo's job entails exactly that. Apparently, this is a fulfillment of her own dream that she had when she was younger. In this interview, Izzo talks about her beginnings which, of course, included going to as many shows and festivals as she possibly can; some of her most memorable on-the-job-experiences with the likes of The Doors, Lykke Li, Jack White, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood; her inspirations and other interests; and her love for film photography and Diana Mini. And to those looking into fulfilling their own dreams of working in the same industry, Izzo also shares helpful advice based on her own experiences.

  • Top 5 Remarkable Sunset Views

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-07-01 in #world #lifestyle
    Top 5 Remarkable Sunset Views

    Like a quick-changing siren, a sunset has fantastic showmanship. It may come in a costume of luminous yellow one day, and a daring paint canvas the next. And of its various looks, five have been getting the loudest applause from all over the community.

  • Shop News

    The Ultimate Hitchhiker Pack

    The Ultimate Hitchhiker Pack

    The Ultimate Hitchhiker Pack puts together the compact Diana Mini and our City Guides to ensure you enjoy exploring the world in analogue!

  • Black and White Fantasies with Efke Film

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-07-01 in #world #lifestyle
    Black and White Fantasies with Efke Film

    Wispy clouds, white-washed sunlight, bundled leaves the shape of sponges. Efke film reimagines nature as pure flight of fancy.

  • Photo of the Day by rgs_ass

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-07-01 in #world #news
    Photo of the Day by rgs_ass

    What this photograph lacks in color, it makes up for having such an energetic subject!

  • Lantern Slides From the 'Psychic Photography From a New Angle' Series

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-07-01 in #world #lifestyle
    Lantern Slides From the 'Psychic Photography From a New Angle' Series

    Mysterious apparitions and other inexplicable phenomena on film, or generally speaking, for that matter, are as highly debated topics today as they were many decades ago. In 1934, a certain Mr. C.P. MacCarthy of 15 Wilkinson Street, Sheffield held a lecture at 76 Clarkehouse Road located in the same city to "demonstrate under test conditions Fake Psychic Photography" before an invited committee. MacCarthy's demonstration was accompanied by a series of photographs titled "Psychic Photography From a New Angle."

  • Shop News

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    LomoKino & LomoKinoscope Package

    Enjoy a truly analogue moviemaking experience with Lomography's 35mm movie camera and an accompanying accessory to watch your films with. View your masterpieces in the most analogue way possible with the LomoKinoscope. Get it now 20% off the regular price!

  • Photo Stories: Unforgettable Toraja, 1993 by hervinsyah

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-07-01 in #world #locations
    Photo Stories: Unforgettable Toraja, 1993 by hervinsyah

    Over two decades ago, hervinsyah and his family went on a trip to Tana Toraja. There, they were able to see firsthand how the people of the Tator tribe lived and witness one of their important rituals.

  • Miserabe is our LomoHome of the Day!

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-07-01 in #world #news
    Miserabe is our LomoHome of the Day!

    From everyone here in Lomography, congratulations to miserabe for winning Home of the Day!

  • First Brush with Light Painting Competition

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-07-01 in #world #competitions
    First Brush with Light Painting Competition

    Do you consider yourself a light painting wizard? Show us your mad tricks and score an amazing set of light painting tools from Light Painting Brushes!