If you’re planning your honeymoon you have probably thought about French Polynesia. With turquoise waters and white sand beaches, it’s a dream destination for many.
Considering that it’s composed of 100+ islands it’s hard to decide where to go.
Tahiti & Bora Bora: Getting There
French Polynesia is a group of 118 islands and atolls located in the Pacific Ocean that stretches for more than 1,200 miles. At the same time, these 118 islands are divided into 5 groups.
Tahiti is located in the Society Islands archipelago. Accounting for nearly 70% of the population, it’s the biggest and most populated island. There are direct flights from Los Angeles to Tahiti for $1400, while the ones from New York have at least one stop and cost $1500. A ticket from Europe starts at $1600.
Bora Bora is arguably the most famous island of French Polynesia. It’s also part of the Society Islands but is located 143 miles northwest of Tahiti, and it’s famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters.
There aren’t direct connections to Bora Bora and all the flights from the United States or Europe stop in Tahiti. A ticket from the US without long layovers starts at $1600 while a trip from Europe will set you back $1800.
Once you arrive in Bora Bora you will likely be met by a boat to take you to your accommodations.
Tahiti vs. Bora Bora: Best Time to Visit
Both Bora Bora and Tahiti experience the same weather conditions and seasons. High season runs from the end of May to the beginning of October during the coolest and driest months. The rainy season, on the other hand, goes from November to March. Considering that many tourists arrive in December and January, the best months to visit both islands are the end of April, May, October, and the beginning of November.
Tahiti vs. Bora Bora: Hotels and Resorts
Tahiti has a wide selection of hotels and resorts and tends to be cheaper than Bora Bora. You can find a bed in a hostel dorm for $30, a room in a local guesthouse for $100, 3-star hotels for $150, or exclusive resorts for $350 and above.
Bora Bora, on the other hand, is more exclusive and private than Tahiti and accommodation is more expensive. A cheap double room in a local hotel starts at $150, a mid-range hotel costs a minimum of $300, while a night in a more luxurious resort will set you back a minimum of $700.
Keep in mind that most resorts are located on the small islets (motus) that surround the main island of Bora Bora, which means that you’ll have to get to your accommodation by boat.
Bora Bora vs Tahiti: What to Do
For many, Tahiti is mainly a gateway to visit other islands of French Polynesia rather than a destination in itself. However, it’s much more than a pitstop.
Tahiti is the cultural and economic center of Polynesia. The most spectacular event in Tahitian culture is the Heiva Festival which takes place every year between June and July.
Tahiti is also a great option for those who like the outdoors. With 6,778 ft, Mount Aorai is a popular place for trekking, and the Papenoo Valley has the most beautiful scenery on the island with waterfalls and green peaks. Even though Tahiti beaches aren’t as famous as the ones on other islands, it’s worth visiting Teahupo’o with its famous giant waves waiting to be surfed.
For many, Bora Bora is the perfect description of paradise. With white sand beaches, turquoise waters, amazing underwater, overwater bungalows, and spas it’s a popular place for honeymooners. Bora Bora has a very relaxed atmosphere and it’s the perfect place to unwind.
Resorts usually offer different tours that you can book such as kayaking, snorkeling or diving trips, massages, and yoga classes, among others.
Some other activities to do in Bora Bora are spending time on Matira or any other of the beautiful beaches, taking a 4WD tour to reach the lookout points, or hiking the 2,169 ft of Mount Pahia.
Tahiti vs Bora Bora: Cuisine
French Polynesia has amazing seafood and fresh fruits, and in its cuisine the use of vanilla, coconut, banana, and breadfruit (tropical fruit similar to a jackfruit) is widespread.
Some of the dishes you have to try when visiting these beautiful islands are the famous poisson cru (a national dish made with raw tuna marinated in lime juice and coconut milk), chevrettes (shrimp with coconut milk, rum, and vanilla), and Poe (a dessert made with mashed banana, papaya or pumpkin with coconut milk).
Bora Bora vs Tahiti: The Cost
Tahiti and Bora Bora are amazing places but it has to be said that they’re not cheap.
Tahiti offers a wider variety of accommodation and dining options so without big luxuries you can expect to spend between $150 and $200 per person per day.
Being a popular destination for honeymooners, Bora Bora, on the other hand, is more exclusive and more expensive. Including accommodation, food, and activities, a day on this dream island will cost at least $300 per person per day. The Bora Bora all-inclusive resorts or five-star overwater bungalows can easily by over $1000 a night.
Tahiti vs. Bora Bora: Atmosphere
While both islands are popular tourist destinations, Bora Bora tends to attract more honeymooners and couples seeking a romantic getaway, resulting in a more serene and private atmosphere.
Tahiti, especially in and around Papeete, is livelier and sees more business and cultural activities due to its status as the administrative center.
Bora Bora vs Tahiti: The Verdict
Tahiti is a more urbanized island and even though its beaches aren’t as famous as the ones in Bora Bora, it offers great shopping areas, nightlife, cultural events, and amazing outdoor activities.
Bora Bora is the image that comes to mind when you think of paradise. It’s a more intimate and high-end island. So if budget isn’t a problem and you’re looking for a romantic gateway with overwater bungalows and beautiful beaches, Bora Bora is definitely your choice.
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.