SOAR BY SEA AND SURVIVE ON A HIDDEN ISLET
- A guided jet ski tour with Matira Jet Tours
- Visit a hidden islet and learn the basics of life on a deserted island
Zoom beyond the overwater bungalows dotting the crystal clear turquoise waters on this Jet Ski water adventure around the island of Bora Bora with Matira Jet Tours. Active guests will get a thrill touring the sea at high speed and observing landmarks from a new vantage point. The tour stops at a hidden islet where guests will get a crash course in how to survive on a deserted island, learning to pluck a coconut from a palm tree, slice it up and enjoy the replenishing water and flesh. Matira is the leader in guided tours around the island of Bora Bora and showcasing the destination’s beautiful lagoons and islands.
The Conrad concierge can arrange your water tour with Matira Jet Tours. Participants must be 16 in order to Jet Ski; if younger, must be accompanied by an adult. Jet skis may be used by one or two people.
BP 502, Bora Bora 98730, French Polynesia
BEAUTY BELOW THE SURFACE
- Diving for beginners class
- See marine life including tropical fish, manta rays, turtles and blacktip sharks
Dive into the mesmerizing underwater world where guests will identify tropical creatures, swim through coral gardens and make lasting memories. The adventure starts on a short boat ride from the hotel where guests will receive safety instruction before getting into the water to explore the vibrant sea life, and then travels around Motu To’opua and toward the Bora Bora airport. In addition to various sea life and beautiful coral formations, guests will discover the dramatic drop off where the coral reef ends and the open ocean begins.
Located near Conrad Bora Bora Nui. Arrangements can be made via the concierge and snorkeling equipment can be rented at the hotel.
BP 502, Bora Bora 98730, French Polynesia
DIVE FOR PEARLS (ON LAND)
- Visit one of the world’s premier dealers in cultured Tahitian black pearls
- Trace the remarkable history of pearl cultivation in French Polynesia
- Discover how these underwater treasures are sorted by color, form, and grade
It was Federico Fellini who said “the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” The bivalve’s artful output is big business in French Polynesia, and the cultured Tahitian black pearl has become an iconic South Seas souvenir. Today, the pearl industry accounts for nearly two-thirds of total exports from French Polynesia, according to Robert Wan, whose name is now synonymous with high-grade black pearls. The seventh child of a Chinese immigrant to Tahiti, Wan grew up in Papeete. He was already well into a successful entrepreneurial career when, in the early 1970s, he began diving (literally) into the local pearl trade—consulting with experts from Japan to develop an effective means of cultivating pearls in French Polynesia. By 1977 Wan had his first harvest. Four decades on, his brand has achieved worldwide renown. If you’re headed to Tahiti, visit the Robert Wan Pearl Museum in Papeete to see his dazzling private collection. Meanwhile, just a quick jaunt from the Conrad is the excellent Maison Robert Wan, the brand’s flagship boutique in Bora Bora, overlooking its own elegant wooden pier in Vaitape. It’s worth devoting an hour or more to browse the small yet impeccable selection, and to learning about the pearl’s inextricable role in the islands’ history. You may hear, for instance, about the ancient god Oro, who liked to travel to Earth on a rainbow, leaving an iridescent glow in his wake. Oysters, it is said, captured some of that rainbow in their shells—hence the prismatic coloring of Tahitian pearls. French Polynesia’s atolls provide the pristine environment necessary for the sea to work its alchemy. With an array of curious tools, lamps, and sorting tables, the boutique’s staff will guide you through the process of evaluating color, form, and levels of quality.
The Conrad concierge can arrange excursions to the Robert Wan boutique in Vaitape, on the main island, a 10-minute boat ride from the hotel. (The boat will drop you directly on the pier.)
TAKE BACK THE ULTIMATE SOUVENIR
- Discover the ancient practice of Polynesian tattoo art
- Book an appointment with a local legend, considered the island’s best
- Return with an unforgettable story and a one-of-a-kind memento
You might not have known that “tattoo” is an old Tahitian word, and that the art form dates back some 2,000 years in Polynesia. There are still some traditional tattoo artists (particularly on Moorea and the Marquesas islands) who carry on the practice in the old manner, using a boar-tusk comb to puncture the skin and insert the pigment. Tattooing is considered a sacred rite of passage here; full-sleeve, face, and neck tattoos are not uncommon. The intricate, often painful process is not for the faint of heart—but those distinctive black-ink tribal bands, geometric shapes, and Maori symbols make for a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Freehand tattoo artist Marama Olsen is considered to be the island’s best. Call for an appointment—but save this for the end of your trip, as fresh ink needs to be kept out of the sun.
Appointments at Marama Tattoo Pora Pora are in extremely high demand, and typically scheduled at least two months in advance. Book through the Conrad concierge, who can also arrange transportation to Marama Olsen’s studio, located in Vaitape.