You probably know that Bora Bora’s lagoon is ridiculously picturesque, inventing shades of blue that you didn’t even know existed. But does Bora Bora have beautiful beaches to match this incredible lagoon?

It seems too good to be true but the answer is yes.  You won’t find endless kilometers of uninterrupted public beaches in Bora Bora, but you will find little slices of sandy heaven – almost always attached to a resort – scattered all around the main island and the motu (islets) dotted around the lagoon.

Public beaches are few and far between but there's good news: Bora Bora’s main official public beach, Matira Beach, is considered to be one of the best on the island. Starting with Matira Beach and working clockwise around the lagoon, here are eight of the best beaches in Bora Bora to kickstart your island dream.

Family perfection at Matira Beach

Best beach for families

If Derek Zoolander were to describe Matira Beach, he would probably opt for “really, really, ridiculously good looking.” It’s hard to imagine needing a resort beach after soaking up the sun on this gorgeous public beach, regarded by many as the best on the island.

The white sand and clear waters stretch from Hotel Matira on the southern tip of Bora Bora’s mainland up to near the now-closed Hotel Bora Bora. As Matira Beach is a public beach you will find both locals and tourists enjoying a swim, relaxing on the sand or wading out for a spot of snorkeling.

Scattered along Matira Beach are eateries ranging from snack stands and casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. Pair this with its beautiful sunsets and calm water and you’ve got a beach that's a top spot for families by day, and a great romantic spot for couples at sunset.

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Beautiful lagoon, palm trees and Mount Otemanu
The summit of Mt Otemanu rises above the beach © TriggerPhoto / Getty Images

Sublime snorkeling at Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort

Best beach for beginner snorkelers

Moving away from the main island, the private island of Motu To’opua is home to the luxurious Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort, a great choice for snorkeling and sand-worshipping. The beach at the Conrad is a pretty decent size at around 500m (1640ft) in length, with the entrance jetty located in the middle.

In contrast to many other resort beaches, the sand faces the lagoon and not the main island, providing views of infinite shades of blue. Although it’s stunning, the vista is dominated by the overwater bungalows, so this isn't quite the Robinson Crusoe experience.

The best thing about this beach is the fact that you can snorkel directly from the sand, finding coral and bright fish just meters from the shoreline. This makes it an ideal beach for beginner snorkelers or those who aren’t strong swimmers. If you’ve bagged yourself an overwater bungalow then you’re in snorkeling heaven; you can jump in right from your porch!

Motu Tapu is just right for romance

Best romantic beach for a proposal in Bora Bora

The tiny lagoon island of Motu Tapu is owned by the Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort and what it lacks in size, it makes up for in romantic possibilities, particularly if you head over with your own personal chef and butler from the Conrad for a private romantic meal for two (which is how most people come here).

Motu Tapu was once the private beach of Queen Pomare IV, the queen of Tahiti from 1827 to 1877. Surrounded by a clear lagoon that turns a vivid blue as the water gets deeper, and with views of Bora Bora’s mountainous main island on one side, it's the vision of a desert island escape – if you were queen of Tahiti, you'd probably choose it for your private beach as well.

Although you'll probably feel the urge to take hundreds of photographs, a trip to this beach-ringed motu is all about romance. Private and almost deserted, it’s best enjoyed by putting your phone down and committing the scenery to your memory banks.

A beautiful Bora Bora island beach at sunrise
Luxe resorts have snaffled up some of the best beaches on Bora Bora © Lux Blue / Shutterstock

Relax your heart out at Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort

Best beach for hammock lounging

Continuing clockwise around the lagoon, the island of Tevairoa is home to the lavish Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort (aka Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resort) and its approximate 300m (984ft) stretch of sand. This coral islet is nestled between the ocean and the lagoon, with the Pearl Beach resort facing the mainland and the iconic profile of 727m (3285m) Mount Otemanu.

There is something about the misty line of mountains in the background, the Polynesian-style architecture of the resort, and the sublime lagoon vistas that compels you to sink into a hammock or collapse onto a beach lounger under a sun umbrella. Incidentally, you can do both here; just don’t fall asleep and miss those lovely Polynesian views.

The location of this beach is probably its best feature. You get all the perks of the private island experience, and luxe resort amenities, yet you're only a ten-minute boat ride from the airport and 15-minutes across the lagoon from Bora Bora’s main village, Vaitape, on the main island.

See a more rustic side to Bora Bora at Blue Heaven Island Resort

Best for informal island charm

Just before you reach the airport on Mute Island, you'll pass the private island of Motu Paahi and the agreeably informal Blue Heaven Island resort. A quaint,  family-run five-bungalow pension (hotel) with a natural but narrow beach, the resort describes itself as rustic, which means ceiling fans rather than air conditioning, a lagoon instead of a pool, solar electricity and wifi that is dependent on the weather.

The shoreline is rockier here but that doesn’t detract from the view, which features the same play of mountains and blue as the other more upmarket resorts. The best part about this beach is the epic snorkeling and kayaking right offshore. Some of the pricier resorts bring in their guests by boat to snorkel in the channel right next to this motu; by staying here, you'll already be in prime position.

See how the other half live at Motu Tane

Best for those with (very) deep pockets

Motu Tane is a small island located right next door to Motu Paahi but only an exclusive few get the chance to enjoy its beautiful beaches, said to be among the best in Bora Bora. The reason? The islet is privately owned by cosmetics mogul Francois Nars. At the time of writing, Motu Tane was listed for sale for a cool USD $39 million.

If you can stretch that far, you can still look across to the island from Motu Paahi and imagine owning your own private paradise island surrounded by white sand and dotted with Polynesian huts and coconut groves. Due to its proximity to Blue Heaven Island resort, you can assume the snorkeling is pretty epic here too.

A blissful beach at night on Bora Bora
Bora Bora's beaches are almost as beautiful by night as by day © kinho pizzato / 500px

The Four Seasons is Bora Bora's top resort

Best beach resort in Bora Bora

Continuing clockwise to the northeastern side of Bora Bora’s lagoon, beyond the airport on Mute Island, the much-celebrated beach at the Four Seasons Resort features amazing views of Mount Otemanu from its main stretch of sand.

Surprisingly, that isn’t the best thing about this swish private island. What we love best is the collection of “mini beaches” lining the turquoise channels leading to the internal lagoon on this narrow island – once you see them, you'll want to sell everything you own and move here. The main beach and the sandy strips surrounding the inner lagoon just ooze luxury. Combine this with four onsite restaurants and superb accommodation and you’ve found yourself the best beach resort on Bora Bora.

Escape to Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island

Best for privacy

Circling back towards the southern end of Bora Bora, you'll find Motu Piti Uu Uta, home to Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island (not to be confused with Hotel Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort on the mainland just a couple of minutes across the water).

Although the beach here is small and shrinks considerably with the tide, its beauty lies in its privacy and the color of the surrounding lagoon. For the best views, take a quick stroll up the hill behind the resort, where you'll find a few deck chairs where you can flop down and admire the sunset over the lagoon.

Although the snorkeling is pretty decent directly out from the beach, if you swim or wade around the shallows to the deeper channel on the southern side of the island, you will find yourself in a prime spot often visited by snorkeling tours. Fish life is abundant here, but stop before you get too tired or bring something to float on.

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