Travelers often debate between going to Bora Bora or Fiji. Both are remote, exotic islands with plenty to offer in ways of relaxation and entertainment. While both islands are great travel destinations there are a few factors to consider that may help to make your decision a bit easier.
Fiji vs. Bora Bora Quick Takes
- Accommodations: Bora Bora is the place to go for the iconic overwater bungalows and exclusive experiences. Fiji has a few overwater bungalows as well and a lower price.
- Cost: Fiji is the more cost-effective destination.
Fiji vs Bora Bora: Location and Flights
Fiji is a country in the South Pacific Ocean. It’s located about 1,100 miles north of New Zealand. This island nation isn’t just one island, it’s actually made up of more than 300 islands, but only a small portion of those are permanently inhabited. The two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, are the most developed and well-traveled. Viti Levu is where travelers can find the capital city, Suva.
Bora Bora is also a small South Pacific island and is technically considered to be part of French Polynesia. Bora Bora, and the rest of the French Polynesian islands, are located right in between Australia and South America. The island’s most popular town is Vaitape which is also the home to the island’s only airport.
To get to either island, you’ll need to fly out of LAX, Los Angeles. While Tahiti is an 8-hour nonstop flight and lies halfway between California and Australia, Fiji is about 10 ½ hours from LA, although stops and layovers are pretty common so it may take more like 14 or 16 hours to make it to your destination. Because of this, many couples opt to stop in Sydney or New Zealand If they’re traveling to Fiji.
And a flight to Bora Bora is very similar. There are no direct flights between the U.S. and Bora Bora, so the flight time is long. With layovers, the total flight time averages over 16 hours. Plus, there is only one airport in Bora Bora, so flights are much more limited.
Fiji vs. Bora Bora: Best Time to Visit
Because these islands are in the same region of the world, they experience similar weather patterns and travel seasons. Both Bora Bora and Fiji have a dry season and a wet season. Depending on what activities and climate you’re looking for, each season can be a good time to see these islands.
The dry season, which runs from May to October, is usually considered the peak travel season for Fiji and Bora Bora. The dry season for the island usually means less rain, cooler temperatures, and lots of sunshine. Temperatures usually range from the mid-70s to the mid-80s, so things are more than comfortable.
The rest of the year, November to April, is widely considered the wet season. Because of the increased level of rainfall, the temperatures and humidity are higher than the rest of the year. Temperatures can be as low as the mid-70s and as high as the mid-90s. The plus side to traveling during the rainy season is the lush and vibrant greenery.
Fiji vs Bora Bora: Accommodations
There are fun and unique experiences such as Polynesian dances you can watch, famous overwater bungalows for you to sleep in, and beautiful beaches to relax on during your visit to Bora Bora. When it comes to accommodations, Bora Bora is going to have more chain hotels like Sheratons, Intercontinentals, and Four Seasons, while in Fiji there are very few chain hotels and more boutique places to stay.
However, the resorts in Fiji limit their bookings to 5-20 guests at a time to make sure that couples can maintain a secluded romantic atmosphere. This also allows hotel staff to pamper guests more than larger chains can. Both islands offer some five-star inclusive hotels, so it really depends on what you’re looking for.
Fiji vs Bora Bora: What to Do
Both Fiji and Bora Bora offer a great mix of activities so you don’t have to give up anything – relaxing, adventuring, exploring, and cultural experiences. Finding the right activities will depend on what you’re looking for, but you can be confident you’ll find it.
Here are a few things you can do on each island:
- Some of the best diving in the world
- Hike Bouma National Heritage Park
- Hot springs and mud pools
- See the Tavoro waterfalls
- Legally recognized weddings (for any honeymooners looking for a destination wedding)
- Snorkeling cruise
- Swimming with sharks and stingrays
- Bicycle or buggie across the island
- Jet ski tour
- 4WD and ATV tours across the island
- Beachside breakfasts or dinners
- A day trip to Moorea (Tahiti’s sister island)
Fiji vs Bora Bora: Cultural Experiences
Bora Bora thrives from its French Polynesian background. Coupled with a relaxed atmosphere and friendly islanders, every traveler will love it. About 4,000 people live on the island and the nightlife scene is pretty relaxed. The two main languages are French and Tahitian although most islanders can speak English.
Most of the food found in Bora Bora is an exotic mix of traditional South Pacific food mixed with French and Italian and fish is a main staple. Many of the meals eaten on the island are cooked in a traditional pit oven, which is constructed by digging holes in the ground, then filling them with stones and setting them on fire.
Fiji is made up of native Fijians, Polynesians, and Melanesians inhabitants. English is the main language, although the dialect can make it sound different than American or British English. A trip to Fiji also may include travelers seeing a traditional dance called the Meke, which narrates an important cultural event in Fiji’s history while men incorporate spears and women incorporate fans.
Fiji’s food is full of island cuisine such as things like guava and mango. Islanders also eat a lot of pork, poultry, and plenty of fish. Living in the jungle and on the sea gives Fijians plenty of opportunities to eat fresh and local food that you won’t regret trying. However, Fiji does also have a reputation for having international cuisine across the island as well.
Fiji vs Bora Bora: Cost
While both islands are beautiful and tropical, Fiji is going to be the more cost-effective choice. Many travelers claim that its affordability is due to the strength of the US dollar in Fiji. For a week-long trip, Fiji often costs between $1,000 to $2,500 per person, but the same trip to Bora Bora can cost somewhere between $3,000 to $7,000 per person.
The good news is the total cost for a trip to either island can be adjusted for your budget.
Fiji vs. Bora Bora: Getting Around
The only way to get to Fiji and Bora Bora is to fly, but getting around on each island is a little bit different.
When it comes to Bora Bora, there is only one airport and no public transportation, so visitors need to plan accordingly. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for island transportation. If you’re looking to move around one island, then you might consider renting a bicycle or scooter. Both are cost-effective options and a great way to see and experience the island.
If you want to move off the main island then you’ll need to use a boat, ferry, or water taxi. The cost for each mode of transportation will vary, but some more all-inclusive resorts in Bora Bora offer these services for free.
Traveling around Fiji is very similar, but there are a few different transportation options. Fiji has a number of smaller airports, so inter-island may be a convenient, and fast, way to move between islands. Plus, some of the larger islands offer rental car options and public buses, but weather conditions can affect driveability around the island.
Fiji vs. Bora Bora: The Verdict
When it comes to planning your South Pacific Island trip, there are many things to consider. When it comes to cost and otherworldly scuba diving, Fiji is the most effective choice.
However, if you want overwater bungalows and adventure on the island, Bora Bora is a great choice. Each island has a distinct and unique culture that is waiting to be explored and travelers can’t go wrong choosing to spend time in either remote, breathtaking spot.
He is an expert travel advisor and enthusiast. He has traveled extensively in the USA, Central America, South America, and Europe. He has visited every Sandals Resort and is one of a select few Diamond Elite members of the Sandals Chairman’s Royal Club.
Dan graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Later he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a focus on people and culture.