Jean Bernard Carillet/Lonely Planet
Stilt bungalows over the still waters of Bora Bora Lagoon
The American writer James Michener is one of countless visitors to call Bora Bora in French Polynesia the most beautiful island on Earth. It is even the inspiration for the island paradise in the musical South Pacific, based on Michener's book. A favourite haunt of celebs to this day, Bora Bora is found in the Leeward group of the Society Islands. A lagoon and a barrier reef surround it, and an extinct volcano rises in its centre.
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