For most people, the French Polynesian islands of Bora Bora are a fabulously exotic destination most travelers only dream about visiting.
While there’s no shortage of remote island paradises you can visit in the world — including those in the Caribbean, Thailand, or Hawaii, Bora Bora ranks near the top of the list in terms of reputation, allure, and natural splendor.
There are certainly a number of reasons for this. After all, this most popular island group in French Polynesia offers a massive coral-ringed lagoon, white sandy beaches, and square miles of famously calm, crystal-clear, turquoise waters.
All of these elements, combined with Bora Bora’s remote location in the South Pacific, make it a famously expensive place to travel to.
However, those who do make the journey to this faraway corner of the globe will be rewarded with tropical scenery of an island Shangri-la that appears to be right out of a movie.
Think Mutiny on the Bounty, with Marlon Brando, which was shot in the area. Or, you might picture yourself in a television commercial featuring aerial views of a few, sparsely situated, perfectly manicured bungalows hanging over the shallow waters of the large central lagoon.
In the background, the peaks of the 2,100-foot Mount Pahia and 2,400-foot Mount Otemanu extinct volcanoes loom, and in the interior waterways, indigenous native people row long wooden canoes.
Yes, Bora Bora may be exactly what you picture when you imagine the words “exotic vacation.” The small local population (about 10,000 residents) — many of whom live on the largest island in the group — makes much of its living off tourists.
Since 1970, numerous high-end luxury hotel chains have established outposts in Bora Bora, with their aforementioned bungalows on stilts arranged neatly in symmetrical shapes, often connected by a pathway or docks that extend out into the water.
All types of foods, services, and activities are available to guests of these properties — usually for an eye-watering cost.
Fortunately, our experts can help guide you in terms of getting the most out of a trip to Bora Bora with the least expense. To find out how you can experience this idyllic paradise, read on.
Average Trip to Bora Bora Cost in 2023
An average seven-day vacation in Bora Bora will set you back about $6,250. This amount can be broken down as follows:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $2,000
- Average Flight Cost: $1,550
- Food, Drinks & Activities: $1,700
- Transportation: $1,000
- Total Cost: $6,250
Of course, these figures are approximate and will vary according to which type of accommodation you choose, what food you consume, and which activities you partake in.
Note the cost for transportation includes roundtrip flights from Tahiti to Bora Bora [see below] and multiple ferries once you’re at your destination).
As stated above, Bora Bora is a small group of islands. The large central island of the group (itself also called Bora Bora) is half surrounded by a thin barrier reef on top of which narrow islets (known as motus) have formed.
This has left a roughly 6.2-mile-long, 1.2-mile-wide natural lagoon between the two, which features calm, shallow waters in which you can canoe, float, snorkel, or scuba dive and see countless colorful varieties of coral beneath the water’s surface.
As most people come to Bora Bora to “get away from it all,” there are many water-related activities (see below) that guests can engage in, as well as ample opportunities to simply absorb the lush, natural setting.
The peak season to visit Bora Bora is the summer. The weather during this time of year is dry (but humid), and temperatures range from the 60s to the 80s from the months of May to October.
Conversely, the islands are cheaper to visit from December to March when temperatures are similar, but it can be rainy, and there are sometimes tropical cyclones. For the best prices and hotel/resort availability, it pays to book hotels one year ahead of when you’re traveling (yes, one year!).
Bora Bora Trip Cost: Average by Item
Depending on where you stay in Bora Bora, accommodation can run from $117 per night for a hotel or $200 per night for a vacation home/home-stay rental in the small native town of Vaitape to $1,000 per night for one of the aforementioned overwater bungalows at a luxury resort.
Note that hotel views vary; the best ones are from the motus facing the lagoon and Bora Bora Island; this is better than facing the ocean (the opposite direction).
The higher-end luxury properties boast unique features such as their own protected mini lagoons, turtle sanctuaries, and even “romance concierges.” In the end, you may need to decide what’s more important to you — the amenities that come with a large luxury property, or the privacy afforded by a smaller resort.
It’s worth noting that, although it might appear that many of the Western luxury hotel chains have “invaded” this island paradise, most of these properties actively contribute resources toward sustaining the local coral reefs and thus help to preserve the environment.
One of the biggest expenses of a trip to Bora Bora is the flight there. Because Bora Bora has only a small airstrip that was originally built during World War II, just two small airlines fly there using mid-sized propeller jet planes.
To reach Bora Bora, you’ll first need to travel to Tahiti, as most transport to Bora Bora departs from there. Tahiti is roughly 172 miles from Bora Bora, and the half-hour flight between the two islands is approximately $230 (buying all your tickets at once may allow you to save money).
As stated previously, for the best prices on flights, you should book in advance — in this case, at least two to eight months before you travel (luxury hotels and resorts need reservations even further in advance).
A 13-hour nonstop flight from NYC to Papeete (the largest settlement in Tahiti and the capital of French Polynesia) will average about $985 in the summer, while in the winter, it can be about $750.
You may be able to save even more money if you layover or stopover in (or utilize two entirely separate flights to/from) San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Hawaii. The airline French Bee has been known to have bargain flights to Tahiti from the U.S. West Coast.
If you have a lot of time, there may be yet another way to save money on your flights, and that is to travel to Bora Bora via France. This is because Bora Bora is part of French Polynesia and was historically a French colony, so the relationship is very strong.
Roundtrip flights from France to Bora Bora can often be less than $1,000; of course, you’ll need to fly to France first!
Note that when you finally arrive in Bora Bora, some resorts on the islands pick guests up at the airport for free and take them directly to their accommodations; others charge money for this service.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Because many of the items that tourists eat are imported to Bora Bora, food can be enormously expensive. For instance, at one of the luxury resort properties, a salad without any protein option is $20; cocktails might be $38.
Food and drink costs will therefore be significant, and they can add up quickly (most of the resorts charge you for bottled water after you drink what comes with your room).
Per day, you can expect to pay $130 for food and drinks per person at one of the high-end resorts, whereas in Vaitape on the big island, you might only spend $35 daily. Because of the high costs, one way to save money is packing snacks from home.
You might also consider buying alcohol from duty-free shops on the way there (you may not have to carry the booze with you if you do this properly). Some travelers have said one way to obtain free water is to get it at the onsite gyms at many of the resorts.
Another way to save on food costs is to visit supermarkets on the main island when you first arrive; pack a reusable bag to carry the food in.
And if you’re thinking about having a picnic, pack utensils from home; many of the hotels will not provide these (as they want you to buy their food instead).
There are many water-based activities for guests of the various resort properties, but some of these, such as fishing, sailing, surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, etc., will cost money (it’s wise to budget an average of $125 per activity per person), while it’s always free to swim and/or lie on the beach.
One way to save money is to pack activity equipment with you, like an inflatable water toy or float, as long as it doesn’t take up too much space. Remember to bring a rope to keep your toy tied to something, so it doesn’t float away!
Besides water activities, there are a few land-based ones as well; you can take jeep tours of the big island, climb up at least one of the extinct volcanoes, and see the cannons left by the U.S. from World War II.
Previous travelers have recommended visitors go to Bloody Mary’s beachside bar and try the locally brewed Hinano beer.
There are really only a few ways to get around Bora Bora: boating, swimming, walking, driving, or biking. While it’s true that there’s a local bus system, it’s notoriously unreliable.
You can rent a car in Vaitape for roughly $225 per day, but the number of roads in Bora Bora is extremely limited; the entire group of islands is only 12 square miles, and very few of the ferries will carry a vehicle.
You can also rent a scooter in Vaitape for about $45 per day or a bicycle for $20 per day. There are taxis on the big island, but these are completely unregulated, and they may charge you rates based on what you look like you can afford!
Water taxis travel between most of Bora Bora’s motus and the large island; these can be called by guests and cost about $25 per trip. There are also regular ferry services; check with your hotel for the schedule.
Things to Consider
- The large main island of Bora Bora has only one public beach. Fortunately, there are many private beaches on the surrounding motus belonging to most of the major resort properties.
- While the lagoon of Bora Bora is famously shallow, azure, and transparent, remember that there are sharks, stingrays, barracudas, stonefish, and urchins present, so be sure to take appropriate precautions.
- Although most of its waters are calm, Bora Bora is still vulnerable to tsunamis and storms. While tsunamis are exceedingly rare events, tropical cyclones have been known to touch down in the rainy/low season. You therefore may want to consider travel insurance for your trip.
- By most measures, Bora Bora is a modern place with up-to-date technology. However, be aware that in some places and at certain times, the WiFi and internet service can be unreliable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do people in Bora Bora speak English?
Even though the official language of Bora Bora is French, English is widely spoken by most locals (you’ll also hear Tahitian). Just the same, as a tourist, it wouldn’t hurt you to learn the native words for “Thank you,” “Please,” “Excuse me,” and “I’m sorry.”
What currency is used in Bora Bora?
Although technically, Bora Bora is part of a French colony (French Polynesia), and France uses the Euro, the local currency is the French Pacific Franc (also known as the XPF).
While it’s not exact, one dollar is worth roughly 100 XPFs, so you can get a good idea of the cost of items by cutting two zeros off the end of most prices.
Can you drink the water straight from a coconut?
Yes, in fact, this has been a common rite of visitors to Bora Bora for centuries.
Is Bora Bora an ideal destination for a honeymoon?
Indeed, in many ways, Bora Bora is the quintessential honeymoon destination — if you can afford it!
How long can you stay?
Americans can stay without a visa for up to 90 days in Bora Bora within any 180-day period.
So, What Does a Bora Bora Trip Cost?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$2,000|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$1,550|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$1,700|
|💲 Total Cost||$6,250|
Again, your expenses for a trip to Bora Bora will vary mostly based on where you stay, what you consume, and what you choose to do.
Choosing to stay in exclusive overwater bungalows at a high-end luxury resort will almost certainly put your daily costs for a trip to Bora Bora at over $1,500 per day, whereas if you stay at a smaller, lower-end property on the large island of Bora Bora, your costs might only be $500 per day.
It’s a given that the cost of your flight will be fairly high, and there are, unfortunately, few ways to avoid this (except perhaps by purchasing an “all-inclusive” tour package or by using frequent-flyer miles to cover your airfare).
But it’s probably safe to assume that if you’re choosing to go to Bora Bora versus, say, Hawaii (which itself isn’t cheap), you’ve already opted to lay out for a fairly large expense.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Bora Bora has to offer. Happy travels!