Mount Otemanu: The Crown Jewel of Bora Bora


In the heart of French Polynesia lies Bora Bora island, a place of incomparable beauty, crowned by the majestic Mount Otemanu. Rising sharply to 2,385 feet (727 meters) above a turquoise blue lagoon, this jagged remnant of an ancient volcano is the jewel of the French Polynesian islands. Its unique form, visible from every corner of the island, casts a spell of magic over the landscape, making Bora Bora a destination for thousands seeking the epitome of natural beauty.

Mount Otemanu on Bora Bora island |

The Enigma of Mount Otemanu

Mount Otemanu is not just a mountain; it is the epitome of natural sculpture, shaped by eons of geological activity. Its jagged silhouette against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean paints a picture so surreal, it captivates the soul. The mountain’s presence is omnipotent, visible from every corner of the island, changing hues with the passing of the day, from the lush greens of morning to the golden amber of dusk.

Luxurious Retreats with a View

Mount Otemanu is not just a sight to behold; it’s an experience woven into the very fabric of Bora Bora. Luxury resorts have meticulously oriented their overwater bungalows to face this magnificent peak, understanding that the view comes with a value that transcends monetary worth. Rooms offering unobstructed views of Otemanu are a testament to the mountain’s allure, often commanding a premium for the privilege of waking up to such a splendid vista.

View of Mount Otemanu from the lagoon.

A Journey Around the Island

For those eager to embrace Mount Otemanu’s full majesty, a lagoon tour is indispensable. Circumnavigating part of the island provides a 360-degree perspective of the mountain, revealing its many moods and faces. The lagoon’s crystalline waters mirror the peak’s grandeur, offering a serene yet dynamic viewing experience. Such tours are not just about sightseeing; they are a passage through the heart of Bora Bora’s natural splendor.

The Call of Adventure

The mountain itself beckons to the adventurous at heart. Hiking trails wind through its slopes, offering paths that are as rewarding as they are challenging. The climb reveals steep cliffs and lush landscapes, a testament to the island’s volcanic heritage. While the summit remains elusive due to its loose rocks, the journey up Mount Otemanu is filled with breathtaking vistas and a sense of connection to the earth that is both humbling and exhilarating.

Echoes of History

Mount Otemanu’s significance extends beyond its natural beauty. During World War II, it served as a strategic point for the United States, which established a refueling base on Bora Bora. The mountain’s high vantage point was ideal for placing large cannons and radar equipment. Today, remnants of this history can be explored on a 4×4 Safari tour, offering a glimpse into the island’s past as a silent witness to global events.

Sacred Grounds

Mount Otemanu’s spiritual and historical essence is deeply interwoven with Bora Bora’s culture. Sacred sites scattered across its slopes are believed to be the resting places of ancient Polynesian kings. The southern side of the island holds the remains of massive stone temples, silent custodians of the king’s spirit. These sites, accessible through local tours recommended by hotel concierges, provide insight into the island’s rich heritage and the mountain’s role as a spiritual beacon.

Mount Otemanu Bora Bora aerial view.

A Living Canvas

Mount Otemanu symbolizes Bora Bora’s enduring beauty and mystery. Its changing appearance, influenced by light, clouds, and the viewer’s perspective, offers endless opportunities for discovery and awe. Sunrise and sunset wrap the mountain in spectacular displays of color, creating dramatic scenes that are a photographer’s dream.

In essence, Mount Otemanu is more than a landmark; it is the heart of Bora Bora, reflecting the island’s natural beauty, history, and cultural significance. It invites visitors to explore, contemplate, and connect with a landscape that is as timeless as it is breathtaking.



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