Popotei Ridge is Bora Bora's northernmost ridgeline which climbs up from the coast road into the mountains and contains impressive views of all four major peaks, beautiful lagoon water, overwater bungalows, the village of Faanui, and several major motus.  Difficulties encountered on the hike include correctly finding the starting point near Taihi Point, gaining permission to cross private property, avoiding hiking during times of rainy weather, dealing with heat and humidity, and being cautious if climbing the giant rock outcropping at the end.  Google Earth maps of the hiking route can be found by clicking on the buttons above.  GPS coordinates for the starting point of the hike are -16.464857, -151.745640.  GPS coordinates for the giant rock outcropping at the end are -16.480492, -151.743681.
During my September 2016 first lifetime visit to Bora Bora, I was able to carry out two amazing hikes.  The two hikes were to Mount Pahia and the Cave of Mount Otemanu.  I have previously published reports for both hikes.  When we returned to Bora Bora in January of 2018, I was hoping to find an additional hiking destination.  After doing some research, it seemed like the next best hike was a little-known trail which climbs along Popotei Ridge.  The hike to Popotei Ridge starts at the northernmost point of the Bora Bora mainland near Taihi Point.  It seems that this trail (or rough road) is occasionally used by tour guides with 4WD vehicles who bring tourists up a portion of the ridge as part of their island tour.  For our group (myself, my wife Daria, our son Stefan, and our friend Renee), we wanted to do a nice family hike with the hope of enjoying nice views over the lagoon.  To begin, we first had to locate the starting point for the hike, which is not obvious.  We parked our rental car a short distance west of Taihi Point next to a small beach where some local children were playing in the water.  We then needed to find a way to access the ridge and begin our hike.  It seemed like there were two options for doing this.  The first was to cross some private land close to where we parked and follow a faint overgrown road up the ridge.  The second was to walk around the point and head a little bit south.  From there, a more clear road (which also crosses private property) heads up the ridge.  This second route is obviously the one used by tour guides.  However, there are some vicious dogs in the area, and we weren't comfortable bringing our 5-year-old son that way.  Fortunately, one of the landowners was working on his land near where we parked our vehicle.  Thus, we talked to him and asked for his permission to cross his land and he granted it.  So we were finally able to get our hike started.  The beginning section of the Popotei Ridge climb starts out by following the remnants of an old road which is no longer being used.  After reaching the first bump on the ridge, this old road connects with the newer road which comes in from the opposite side.  From there, the route is much more straightforward as it climbs the ridgeline.  An old radar station is passed and we saw some nice displays of wildflowers.  A short time later, we began to have some nice viewpoints of Bora Bora's beautiful blue lagoon.  We could look out and see speedboats passing through the water, overwater bungalows stretching out into the lagoon, and the long motus which encircle the mainland.  As the hike progresses, the rough road transitions into a narrow trail.  At the high point of the ridge, a giant rock outcropping is reached.  The views at the end are the best, so it is well worth it to hike all the way to the base of the outcropping.  Careful hikers with good balance may wish to climb up the outcropping to take in even more views, however this is not recommended for everyone due to safety concerns.  For our group, I was the only one who climbed the outcropping.  Everyone else stayed below.  The reason why is that there are sheer cliffs all around the outcropping.  A sudden gust of wind or being distracted while taking photos could lead to a serious accident if someone were to slip off the edge.  Thus, be sure to use good judgment when in this area and definitely don't allow children to climb up the outcropping.  The final views from the top were very impressive of Bora Bora's four major summits.  Looking from left to right, they are Mount Mataihua (1,030 feet), Mount Otemanu (2,385 feet), Mount Pahia (2,169 feet), and Mount Ohue (2,031 feet in elevation).  In addition, we could see Faanui village below us and a much more expansive portion of the lagoon.  The distant island of Maupiti (33 air miles away) and the heart-shaped island of Tupai (13 air miles away) were also visible.  During the hike back, it rained on us a bit.  But that was okay because it was quite refreshing with it being so hot and humid outside.  The hike is 3 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of about 900 feet.  Our hike took place on January 3, 2018.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination.  To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below.  The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing.  The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers).  This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets.  The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit.  Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination.  The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
Popotei Ridge photographs
Popotei Ridge slideshow
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