If you are planning a trip to Bora Bora, you have probably encountered the word “Motu” by now and might be a bit confused about it.
No need to stress though, I’m here to help! In this post, I’ll explain what a Motu is in Bora Bora and give you the lowdown on staying on one versus staying on the main island.
I’ll also highlight key differences between staying on the main island VS staying on the motus so you can make an informed decision. Happy planning!
What is a motu in Bora Bora?
Basically, “motu” means islet in Tahitian.
Bora Bora is gradually sinking, just like all of the islands in this region of the Pacific. The famous Mt Otemanu is all that remains of the extinct volcano, which forms the “main island“. A coral reef surrounds the main island and has gradually risen, generating tiny landmasses known as “motu” over time.
These islets are made of broken coral and sand and are too small to actually be called “islands“, so Tahitians use the word “motu” instead.
Dozens of motus surround the main island of Bora Bora, both on the reef and in the middle of the lagoon.
All of these islets are privately owned, and some of them are home to top luxury hotels and resorts in Bora Bora. Even the airport is located on a motu!
To help you understand Bora Bora’s topography better, here is a map, and you can also check out my dedicated post about Bora Bora’s geography.
Motus in Bora Bora
Here are the motu resorts in Bora Bora, which are located on their own private islets:
- Four Seasons Bora Bora (Motu Tehotu)
- St Regis Bora Bora (Motu Ome’e)
- Conrad Bora Bora (Motu To’opua)
- Intercontinental Thalasso (Motu Piti Aau)
- Le Bora Bora (Motu Tavairoa)
All motus have a “Boat base” on the main island, which is used to travel between the resort and the main island.
Other Motus on Bora Bora
Other notable motus include Motu Mute, which is home to the Bora Bora airport.
Motu Tapu, located near the Conrad Bora Bora and one of the most beautiful and most photographed islet in south Pacific.
Additionally, most snorkeling tour providers have their own private motu. If you book a full day with them, you’ll get to have lunch in one of these little paradises.
Explore the motus in Bora Bora
Exploring Bora Bora’s motus is a must-do activity but as mentioned, all motus in Bora Bora are private properties. To explore them (i.e. step on them, not just see them from a boat), you have six options to choose from:
- Stay at a motu resort.
- Stay in a rental on a private motu.
- Book a day pass at a motu resort. Some motu resorts (such as Thalasso) offer day passes to non-guests, providing a good way to experience the resort without paying full price.
- Book a full-day snorkeling excursion. Lunch is usually included and served on a motu.
- Reserve a day at Motu Only You. Here, you will have the entire place to yourself, and the scenery is breathtaking.
- Rent a boat to explore the lagoon on your own. In the ebook, there is a full section about self-exploring the lagoon, as well as a map of the lagoon with points of interest. If you haven’t already, be sure to download it!
Buying a motu in Bora Bora
Dreaming of buying your own private island in Bora Bora? Well, you’re in luck! Motu Tane is currently on sale for… $39,000,000 🤯
Staying on a motu VS Staying on the main Island in Bora Bora
When looking for accommodation in Bora Bora, there are a number of factors you might want to take into consideration. One of the most important is whether you want to stay on the main island or on one of the surrounding motus. While each option has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, there are several key differences between the two that you should be aware of.
Staying On a Motu in Bora Bora : Pros & Cons
This option is ideal for travelers seeking luxury, privacy, and relaxation. It is best suited for those who plan to unwind and relax while staying in their almost all-inclusive resort for most of the time, rather than venturing out to explore the main island.
Staying On the Main Island in Bora Bora : Pros & Cons
This option is best for travelers looking for an affordable accommodation on Bora Bora, those who are not expecting an over-the-top vacation. It is ideal for travelers who plan to spend their days exploring the main island, rather than staying in their accommodation all day and just need a place to crash at night.
Stay on a motu on a budget
So you would like to stay on a motu, but your budget is too tight for a motu resort? Good news, there are also some more affordable accommodations to consider. These are the cheapest prices you can expect to pay to stay on a motu in Bora Bora.
Motu Only You
Starting at $600 per night
Starting at $440 per night
And voila! I hope you now have a clear understanding of what is a motu in Bora Bora. This information should help you make a decision between staying on a motu or staying on the main island. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you need help planning your gateway in Bora Bora.
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