Life on the islands of French Polynesia is somewhat casual. You will find dress is casual even in the finest restaurants on the islands. Church and religion, however, is very serious though; Sunday being a day for worship. The Polynesian notion of family is much broader than in the West; cousins, uncles, aunts, etc., are all part of the family and are called fetii. The family might also have adopted children called fa'aamu.

The main languages of the island are French and Tahitian, but English is spoken at many of the hotels, shops, restaurants and other tourist attractions.

Tourism accounts for about one-fourth of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Other sources of income are pearl farming and deep-sea commercial fishing. The small manufacturing sector primarily processes agricultural products.

When the missionaries arrived in the late 18th century, they did all they could to wipe out traditional Polynesian culture by tearing down temples, destroying ancient carvings, banning tattoos and the exotic island dancing that shocked the Europeans. As hard as they tried to convert all the natives to Christianity, but some of the traditional ways did survive.

Recently there has been a strong push to revive ancient traditions and reacquaint themselves with traditional music, art and dance. Some of the long-established musical instruments include pahu and toere drums and a nose flute called a vivo. Guitars and ukuleles ultimately found their way onto French Polynesia and with that the locals developed a song style that sounds similar to country and western music, but has its own unusual South Pacific island sound.


Official Name: Bora Bora (part of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France)
Capital City: Vaitape
Type of Government: French territory
Official Languages: French (Tahitian also spoken; English in tourist areas)
Area: 39 sq. km./15 sq. mi.
Population: 4,650
Religion: Protestant (45%), Catholic (34%), Mormon (6%), Seventh Day Adventists (4.8%), Sanito (3.5%), Jehovah's Witnesses (1.5%), Jews and other denominations (remainder)
Currency: Central Pacific Franc (CFP)
Number of Time Zones: 1
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) minus 10 hrs; Eastern Standard Time (EST) minus 5 hrs
Weights and Measures: Metric system
Country Domain: .pf
Country Tel Code: 689