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

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 the between the Maldives and Bora Bora.

bora bora honeymoon bunglow

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When to Visit the Maldives vs Bora Bora

Although Bora Bora and the 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 the high-60s to mid-80s. If you are looking to save money, sometime between November and April when 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.

Getting to Maldives vs Bora Bora

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 or Australia 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: How Far Apart?

Some people who venture to these island paradises are looking to experience more than one island. In fact, many people wonder if island hopping between the Maldives and Bora Bora is possible. The short answer is no.

Bora Bora and the Maldives are nearly 15,000 kilometers apart (or almost 10,000 miles). A plane ride between the two destinations would take 18 hours. So, if you’re looking to do a little island hopping, then you might consider Bora Bora.

Bora Bora offers travel packages to more easily move between nearby islands. Plus, you’ll get to experience more of these different islands. The Maldives does offer other islands, but it’s not as easy to navigate between them.

Accommodations in Bora Bora vs The Maldives

bora bora sunset

Bora Bora is famous for its luxury resorts with over the water bungalows. The island has several resorts with prices starting at around $300 a night. In order to stay in one of the bungalows, expect to pay anywhere from $800-1500 a night and maybe even more especially if it is an all-inclusive resort. 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.

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: 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: 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 so much to do in Bora Bora for all types of travelers. 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 on 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.

seaturle swimming with three yellow fish

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!

Bora Bora vs The Maldives: 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.

The Maldives vs Bora Bora: Which is cheaper?

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 luxury resorts.  

The Maldives vs. Bora Bora: The Verdict

Bora Bora is all about high-end luxury. Most of the hotels and resorts are highly rated, and the island is famous for its iconic overwater bungalows. When considering food, Bora Bora offers a more French-inspired menu, and it can be a little more costly. 

The Maldives can be enjoyed on a bit more of a budget – highly rated but more affordable accommodations with much more variety. It’s also a little more private and secluded with amazing opportunities to see wildlife.

11 thoughts on “Bora Bora VS. The Maldives: Which Destination is Best?”

  1. 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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  2. 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.

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  3. Just came back from the Maldives, in August… Was amazing thou we had a lot of rain. We stayed in a over the sea water villa, with own pool and slide into te sea… Kids loved it.

    We had an all inclusive package which is a must!!!

    The friendliness and hospitality was mind blowing…

    Well go back for sure being 8hrs away from South Africa…

    Siyam World Maldives

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  4. Have been to both. French Polynesia has our vote.

    You can’t quite go wrong in either of this outstanding locations but we found the culture, diversity of activities, landscapes and wildlife in Bora Bora & Moorea stole our heart.

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