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World War II History in Bora Bora

By Viator, December 2017

4.5 109 Reviews | Add your review

After the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States chose the island of Bora Bora to be one of their strategic military bases for the Pacific theater. They stocked the tiny island with ships, equipment, an airstrip and over 7,000 soldiers. Given the covert name “Operation Bobcat,” the island never saw any combat and remained uncontested throughout the conflict. The base was closed in 1946 but locals still look back on the time fondly.

Although the army has long since pulled out, its influence is still felt on the island; and not just in the 19 mile (30.6 kilometer) road it built around the island or the now defunct international air strip. Many of the GI's declined to leave the island paradise after the war and you can still meet many American ex-pats and their half-American/half-Polynesian descendants. The locals have a long-lasting love of American lingo like “swell” and “okay,” and a serious passion for the canned meat products provided by the Army.
 
If you want to experience Bora Bora's WWII past, the biggest remnant sights are the eight enormous artillery canons sitting at the base of Mount Otemanu. The canons were never fired and are quietly rusting under the tropical sun. Nearby, a few military bunkers are being slowly reclaimed by the tenacious jungle. The best way to experience the war's cultural legacy, though, is with a big tin of Spam.

Tours & Tickets

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Bora Bora 4WD Tour, Bora Bora, null
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Bora Bora 4WD Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 89 Reviews

Discover the natural beauty and culture of Bora Bora on a half-day 4WD tour with an experienced guide. Circle the entire island, making several stops along the ...  Read more

Location: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $78.85
Bora Bora Stargazing Tour, Bora Bora, 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours
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Bora Bora Stargazing Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 14 Reviews

This Polynesian stargazing tour starts with a sunset cruise by boat and some bubbly. The tour is available in a small group setting out with no more than ...  Read more

Location: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $150.19
Polynesian Cultural Island Day Tour by 4WD Including Traditional Tahitian Feast on a Private ... 
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Polynesian Cultural Island Day Tour by 4WD Including Traditional Tahitian Feast on a Private Island

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

Learn about the history and culture of the island of Bora Bora, as your multilingual guide takes you around the island by 4WD to see the best points of ...  Read more

Location: Vaitape, French Polynesia
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $156.45
Private Tour: Bora Bora by 4WD, Bora Bora, Full-day Tours
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Private Tour: Bora Bora by 4WD

4.5 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Discover Bora Bora’s amazing natural beauty and rich culture on a private 4WD tour that circles the island. Accompanied by an expert local guide, stop at the ...  Read more

Location: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $84.48

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