A jagged pinnacle towering over paradise, Mount Otemanu demands attention from visitors to Bora Bora. Although French Polynesia island is known more for its overwater bungalows than its towering vertical cliffs, the view of this ancient volcano above the turquoise lagoon casts a siren call to the adventurous. Unlike that of its neighbor Mount Pahia, the summit of Mount Otemanu is insurmountable due to its precarious rocks (picture a real-life drip castle); however, a smattering of seductive options for exploring the peak from both above and below make up for the limited hiking opportunities.
Bora Bora is famous for its lagoon, where snorkeling adventures, jet ski excursions, and diving experiences abound amid turquoise waters. Hop on a catamaran lagoon tour to access secluded swimming holes and admire the view of Mt. Otemanu's lush hillsides and towering spire from the deck. Adventurous travelers can make a partial-summit of the mountain with a hiking guide, but don't attempt this trip alone—the path is notoriously twisted and some portions require ropes.
For a sweat-free elevated experience, choose a helicopter tour with a panoramic view of Mt. Otemanu and the crystal-clear waters below. Fly over Matira Point Beach, the Coral Gardens, and Faanui Bay, and see the heart-shaped island of Tupai in the distance. Your tour guide will provide onboard English commentary, pointing out areas of archaeological interest and remnants of the United States' presence in the South Pacific during World War II.
Things to Know Before You Go
Most boat tours include fresh food and champagne.
Tours of Mt. Otemanu are suitable for most active travelers.
Consider bringing waterproof sandals, a hat, and sunscreen for catamaran tours.
Pack your camera to capture the stunning vistas on a helicopter tour.
How to Get to Mt. Otemanu
Rent a scooter or a car to easily zip around Bora Bora's 20 miles (32 km) of coastal roads. Ambitious visitors can rent a bike, although be warned that there are hills. Most of the tourist services, including the Bora Bora Visitors Bureau, are located in the town of Vaitape.
When to Visit Mt. Otemanu
Score the lowest prices on travel in Bora Bora by visiting during the low seasons of November, April, and May. You'll find the coolest temperatures and best snorkeling in June through August, with peak season running from June through October.