Island Snapshots: Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora

This volcanic remnant is one of the world's most iconic peaks


The jagged spire of Mount Otemanu rises more than 2,000 above the blue waters of Bora Bora’s turquoise lagoon. This jagged remnant of an ancient volcano dominates the view from all corners of the island and its surrounding ring of coral reefs and motus—the local name for small barrier islands.

The upscale resorts that surround the lagoon place their iconic over-water bungalows to face the mountain, providing guests with panoramic views of water, forest and rock that change color throughout the day as the sun moves from east to west. Hikers can ascend to the halfway point, but not the summit.