Tangled Up in Bora Bora Blue
To call the sea around Bora Bora blue isn't really accurate. The water surrounding this French Polynesian isle is a dozen shades of azure, from turquoise to aquamarine, indigo to sapphire, and hues from peacock feathers that you don't even have a word for. With silky beaches and rain-forested peaks, Bora Bora is a paradise for adults and kids alike.
To have a family vacation in this dream destination requires a little planning, however. It's in the southern hemisphere, so summer's winter and vice versa. You'll have to factor in seasonal extremes, and keep your budget in mind. As with many tropical regions, the cooler the weather, the higher the prices.
East West, Winter's Best
Bora Bora summers while the United States winters. But that's the easy part of the equation to grasp. The second part is harder to keep in mind. In the U.S., the kids look forward to the warm, sunny days of summer, but in Bora Bora, people anticipate winters for their cooler, drier weather. Summers in the South Seas are hot and wet.
What this means is that Bora Bora winters, running from June through August, have the most pleasant weather. Days remain warm, but the trade winds refresh the region. The average maximum temperatures are closer to 80 degrees F than 90, while average lows slip to around 75 degrees F.
Bora Bora summers last from December through February. Rain is frequent, as are monsoons. Temperatures, both minimum and maximum, rise. Generally, the air is hot, humid and less comfortable.
Winter in Bora Bora is high season, with the most tourists and also the highest prices. Still, it's probably worth it when you are going with kids. The whole idea is for everyone to enjoy themselves. If prices are just too high, consider the shoulder seasons on either side of winter months.
Pastimes in Paradise
Bora Bora is a small island with less than 20 miles of roads and one sizeable village called Vaitape. Planes arrive at Motu Mute, a flat island on the edge of the barrier reef. Some resorts send boats to retrieve you, or you can take the Air Tahiti launch to Vaitape. There, you'll find your hotel's bus or shuttle boat if you are staying on an islet.
Car rentals are available, but think through what you are going to do, and where. Taxis are expensive so if you plan to go from one end of the island to the other, a car rental might be a good idea.
Kicking back on pristine beaches is the heart of a trip here, but you'll find lots of adventures to try with the kids. Many involve water sports, like diving, snorkeling, fishing, paddle boarding, shark and ray feeding and lagoon tours. Or give the children a natural high with a parasailing adventure or helicopter tour.
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From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. World traveler, professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.