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Bora Bora VS. The Maldives: Which Destination is Best?

Dreaming of island paradise? Imagine azure blue waters, overwater bungalows, amazing reefs, a complete dream vacation. Two bucket-list worthy destination options are Bora Bora and the Maldives. Bora Bora is a small island near Tahiti in French Polynesia, and the Maldives is a tropical country in the Indian Ocean with hundreds of tiny scattered island resorts. If you are trying to choose between the two, here are some things to consider that might make this difficult decision a bit easier- or maybe just inspire you to flip a coin!

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The Maldives vs Bora Bora: Accommodations

Bora Bora is famous for its luxury resorts with over the water bungalows. The island has several resorts with prices starting around $300 a night. In order to stay in one of the bungalows, expect to pay anywhere from $800-1500 a night. Beyond luxury resorts, there are not too many choices. Additionally, if you are going all the way to Bora Bora, there is good reason to splurge a little to get the full experience. There are, however, a few options available on Airbnb.

The Maldives has a bit more variety. There are similar luxury resorts that take up entire islands and have overwater bungalows, but there are more options available with several different price points. In general, you will find The Maldives to have more affordable accommodations.

The Maldives vs Bora Bora: Accessibility

The first thing to keep in mind is where you are traveling from. The Maldives is more readily accessible from Europe and Africa than Bora Bora is, but if you are based in the United States then Bora Bora is the better option. If travel time is an important factor for you, accessibility should definitely be taken into consideration, so you can spend more time relaxing in paradise and less time flying.

bora bora or maldives

As a general idea:  it takes about 10 hours on a direct flight to get from London to the Maldives, and about 24 hours to fly to Bora Bora. From Los Angeles, it takes about 10 hours to get to Bora Bora and upwards of 27 hours to get to the Maldives.

Both Bora Bora and the Maldives involve further travel from the international airport. In the Maldives, you will need to take a seaplane or a speedboat to whichever resort you have chosen. To get to Bora Bora you will need to fly from Papeete Airport in Tahiti to Bora Bora on a short domestic flight on the local airline.

So if you take travel time and convenience into consideration when choosing Bora Bora or the Maldives as your destination here are the better options

From NYC – Tie with the Maldives being slightly more convenient with many more flights to choose from under 22 hours. 

From LAX – Bora Bora – 10hrs including flight time with a stop in China

From London – The Maldives with 10-12 hours of flight time

From Paris – The Maldives with 10-12 hours of flight time

From Sydney – The Maldives with 12 hours of flight time

From China – The Maldives 10-12 hours of flight time

Most of the time, unless you want to stop in Tahiti for a few days, we recommend The Maldives.

The Maldives vs Bora Bora: When to Visit

Although Bora Bora and Maldives experience different seasonality; both destinations can be visited year-round. Bora Bora has a tropical climate and warm sunny weather. Peak travel season is from about May-October, with August being an especially popular month for European travelers. In peak season Bora Bora is at its most dry and temperatures are typically around high-60s to mid-80s. If you are looking to save money, sometime between November and April where the weather is still lovely (temperatures mid-70s to mid-80s) and accommodation rates might be lower than during peak season may be the best time of year to go to Bora Bora.

The Maldives is also warm and sunny year-round but has a dry and wet season. The peak travel periods for the Maldives include the drier, less-humid season from December–April (particularly during Christmas–New Year and Easter), and August. Surf season runs from March–October. The rainy monsoon season is May–October, with the islands getting between 5-10 inches of precipitation monthly and strong winds. You will likely find better deals if traveling during this time.

Bora Bora vs The Maldives: The Cost

Both the Maldives and Bora Bora are expensive luxury destinations.  In general, it will be easier to spend less on a trip to The Maldives.  In the Maldives, 3-star accommodations are available that are highly rated, while in Bora Bora there are very few hotels or resorts that are not 5-star luxury resorts.  Additionally, food is going to cost more at Bora Bora since most of the restaurants you will eat at are located at the luxury resorts.  

The Maldives vs Bora Bora: Local Transportation

Are you the type of traveler that prefers to get out and explore instead of relaxing on the beach all day? Here are some tips on getting around in both vacation spots. The best way to get around Bora Bora is by bike, especially when you consider that the entire island only takes a few hours to cycle around.  Another option is renting a car, but it will be quite a bit more expensive compared to renting bikes. The local bus system is notoriously unreliable, and taxis are also an expensive option.

When traveling in the Maldives, the best way to get around is to walk. Each island resort is very walkable. There is a ferry network between the islands, but it is not extensive. Leisurely island-hopping can be done by ferry, seaplane, or speedboat (Or by yacht if you are super extra!)

The Maldives vs Bora Bora: The Food

In Bora Bora, the influence is French and so you’ll find lovely cuisine and restaurants. The food in the Maldives is greatly influenced by Indian & Asian cuisines.

In Bora Bora, you can expect menus to feature seafood like Poisson cru (raw tuna marinated in lime juice and coconut milk), Mahi-mahi, grouper, and bonito. Pineapple, coconuts, and bananas are locally grown and absolutely delicious. Being a French colony, Bora Bora has wonderful bread and pastries as well.

Authentic Maldivian food is based a lot on curry, coconut, and seafood. Seafood grilled over coconut-infused charcoal is a must-try. With the growing number of hotels & resorts, one can expect more variety in food and more varied price ranges making it perfect for someone who wants to travel the Maldives on a budget. Resorts here usually have many restaurants on site (sometimes as many as 5 or 6) with a large range of international cuisine. Many visitors to both locations choose to purchase a meal plan through their resort which can save a lot of money.

seaturle swimming with three yellow fish

The Maldives vs Bora Bora: Things to do

Whichever destination you choose, you can be sure that there will be innumerable ways to relax and have fun in a luxurious environment. Both places offer wonderful spa resorts and are famous for their idyllic overwater bungalows on wooden stilts. Honestly, how could you go wrong?

There is a reason why Bora Bora is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. For adventurers, scuba diving and snorkeling are fantastic options. Snorkeling spots include Coral Gardens and the Bora Bora Lagoonarium, a natural aquarium where you’ll have the chance to interact with native blacktip reef sharks and stingrays in their natural habitats.

Don’t feel comfortable feeding the stingrays and sharks? You can still enjoy snorkeling the reefs and seeing a wide variety of rainbow-colored fish.  Other water activities include fishing, paddle boarding, and outrigger canoeing. If you need a change of scenery from the beach, consider taking a guided 4×4 expedition to explore the island and learn about its history and culture. Most of the tour guides are locals, so this is a great way to experience Bora Bora from an expert. Bora Bora also boasts a dormant volcano at its center named Mt. Otemanu which is a great place to visit, whether to photograph or to hike. You can also rent bikes and explore the island on two wheels if you please.

The Maldives Is known for its beaches, blue lagoons, and extensive reefs. It has a special desert island feel and is a perfect choice for travelers that value great privacy. If you choose the Maldives you will experience some of the best marine life viewings, both above and below the water.

The islands are popular for snorkeling and diving due to the warm water, high visibility and diverse marine life, including manta rays and spotted whale sharks. If you love water sports, this is a great place for you! Swimming, surfing, sea kayaking, jet-skiing, stand up paddleboarding… the list goes on. There’s even a good chance you’ll spot some active pods of dolphins!

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Monday 2nd of August 2021

I heard from Boston, Mass, for two people, all inclusive with air fare and a bungalow over the water, for just one week, is around $12,650.00. Double that for a 2 week , 14 day stay, which is really the only way to go. A week would fly by so fast, you would be depressed leaving ! At least I would. However, I'm not married, so if I went by myself, which I would have no problem doing, I could stay for the 2 weeks, for the cost of just one ! Or, get depressed and just stay a week for around $6,325.00 ! Anyone wanna go

Barbara Farrier

Friday 2nd of July 2021

We spent 2 weeks in Bora Bora at 4 Seasons in Dec, 2019. The over the water bungalow's were lovely and around 1100 sq feet for the one bedroom. They had an area where they were building reefs and there was a lot of fish in the lagoon. It was very clear. The ocean side of the resort was also beautiful. The hot tubs faced the ocean on one side and the lagoon on the other side. We really enjoyed them. The pool was huge and there were alot of walking areas through the spread out resort. The bartenders were great, The drinks were very expensive but they did have happy hour daily. The breakfast buffet was very good . We ate at all the restaurants and the food was awful. Again very expensive and very small portions. . We were locked in as we call it at the resort since it is surrounded by water. So we had no other food choices, We really did not like that at all. If you wanted to go to anther resort or the big island it was $50 per couple for the round trip. They had all kinds of water sports to use which were included. We would not return to 4 seasons but might return to a resort which is not locked in.

William H Clark

Thursday 28th of January 2021


See humidity

Jean Robert Boucher

Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Spent 11 days at Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort and Spa in 2016 for my honeymoon. Incredible time there. Swam with the sharks one day. If you love swimming in an aquarium, Bora Bora is perfect. The marine life was everywhere. Heading back there later this year for our 5th Anniversary. Traveled to many Islands around the world. Bora Bora was tops. Highly recommend it for any couple who want quality time together. It truly is a South Seas Paradise.


Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Just spent 10 days in Bora Bora & Papeete & plan on going to the Maldives soon for comparison. Bora Bora conrad hilton is literally paradise on Earth. Off of my bungalow the water was 15-20 feet deep with coral reefs surrounding. The people were incredibly nice & knew me by name. Planning activities was incredibly easy through the Concierge. The food was great, went to every restaurant & Iriatai was the best. Free kayak, paddle board & snorkel gear for the guests. VERY HELPFUL to know French on the main island. The resort you can get away with English.

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