French Polynesia is a paradise escape consisting of a group of islands often referred to as “Tahiti”. Each island expresses its own unique cultural heritage. Bora Bora, in particular, is known as the romantic island and, with its crystal blue waters, is a beautiful spot for scuba diving. But Bora Bora is not just about blue water and love.
Tahitian culture is deeply rooted in worshiping the islands’ Gods, offerings from nature and the ocean’s environment and marine life. Much endurance was required to overcome the battle of the seas to discover what is now known as Tahiti. Legends tell of great warriors and Kings, whose strength is depicted through celebrations of song and dance. Many local activities are inherited from ancient Polynesian history, from surf riding and fishing to stone lifting and tattooing.
Tahitian culture is all about connecting with nature to feel its history and embrace the gifts of the Gods.
So, how do you ensure your Bora Bora vacation is authentically Tahitian? Stay in a Homestay!
What is a homestay? An authentic home located in the destination you are travelling to.
Accommodations range from single rooms to entire bungalows. Homestays are often referred to as “pensions” and are situated in the lush green hills or near the ocean.
You will be staying with locals in their private home, experiencing “living” on the island of Bora Bora.
Your homestay host might cook up a traditional meal to share together. You will have the opportunity to learn about Tahitian culture through conversations and interactions with your host. By staying in this type of accommodation you are truly immersed in Bora Bora’s rich culture.
Do you want to learn a new language? Ask your homestay host to teach you some Polynesian words! Your host can also give insight into the best secret local spots to eat and dance the night away.
A Heiva Dance Festival.
If you are heading to Bora Bora, arriving during our Summer months is the perfect time to experience the Heiva Dance Festival. Enjoy the beautiful spectacle of traditional artistry in Vaitape, the largest city in Bora Bora.
Music, song and dance, native to the culture are presented during the festival. As many as fifty musicians play cultural music using traditional instruments including the Vivo (a bamboo nasal flute) and the Pu (Conch shells). Colourful skirts and headpieces adorn dancers as they perform to the blissful musical tones. The Tamure (dance) experience is authentically Tahitian.
Before you leave Bora Bora be sure to attend a Tamaaraa, a traditional feast.
Most of the food is cooked in pit ovens. These ovens are quite literally holes in the earth. Food is wrapped in a banana leaf then placed in the pit, covered, and left to cook for several hours. Tahitians use the foods nature has presented them. Fish is the main source of a Tahitian diet along with local vegetables, pork, chicken and taro root (for making poe for dessert). Eating this food with your hands will bring you even closer to the traditions of the Tahitians as this is the authentic way to consume your food on the island.
Polynesian culture lives on in Bora Bora.
Contact us to book your authentic Tahitian adventure. You may even come back with a tattoo, the Tahitian expression of genealogy and rank.
Written by: Sawyer (Destination Specialist)
Let me help you plan the perfect Tahitian getaway that includes activities around learning about the French Polynesian history and culture.