When you think of perfect paradise islands the first places that pop into your heard are the beautiful white sands and palm trees of the Maldives and French Polynesia (Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea more specifically). But if you could only choose one of these paradises, what should you choose. In this guide we compare the most commonly visit part of French Polynesia, namely, Bora Bora vs the Maldives in a number of categories such as ease of travel, luxury accommodation and value for money. In addition we will also cover which is better for your honeymoon, Bora Bora or the Maldives. In answering all these questions we can help you decide which island paradise out of the Maldives and Bora Bora is right for you.
The first category up for comparing Bora Bora or Maldives is in terms of ease of travel.
Getting to Bora Bora Vs Maldives – which is easier?
Getting to The Maldives
Everyone traveling to the Maldives will arrive at Male International Airport. As tourism is the main industry of the Maldives the airport, despite being small is quite well organised. The Maldives has several direct long haul flights and is easily accessible from large parts of Europe, The Middle East, Asia and some parts of Africa. However if you are based in North America then travelling to the Maldives will involve transfers (likely through Europe) as there are no direct flights from the US to the Maldives.
Once you have arrived at Maldives International Airport everyone will have to transfer as very rarely is the capital city of Maldives – Male the final destination of the traveller going to these paradise islands. Everyone will need to transfer to their resort and there are two ways of doing this in The Maldives :
- Speedboat transfer
- Seaplane Transfer
For those traveling to their resort via speedboat transfer, the jetty is a short walk away from the main terminal of the airport. As a general rule of thumb thee boat transfers tend to be for resorts closer to the mainland. This has both pros and cons depending on what you are looking for out of your Maldives resorts. As we were travelling to the Maldives with our baby we decided that we wanted to be closer to the mainland and limit our transfer time. The only downside to this is that it means the water around your resort is likely to have more traffic of the boat variety and you may be close enough to hear planes landing at the airport. However we were surprised that our resort, which was admittedly very close to the mainland didn’t have much airplane noise and we rarely saw any boats which was my main concern when we booked. One of the reasons for this is the position of the accommodation on the island which faced away from the mainland and really did mean the planes weren’t noticeable.
We have put together a comprehensive list of Maldives resorts that can be reached by speedboat here should you want to check out the options.
The other option for Maldives transfers is via seaplane. For those traveling via seaplane, you will need to check in at the main airport and then take a ten minute transfer to the local island airport where the seaplanes depart from, This process is very efficient. Your resort or agent will organize your transfers. Those who take this option will find that there resort is more likely to have the desert island paradise feel as you are unlikely to see any marine or aeroplane traffic. However the only downside to this is that the transfers are a lot more expensive than the speedboat counterparts.
Overall The Maldives offers a good variety of transfers both in terms of cost and transportation options.
Getting To Bora Bora
In this section I will discuss how easy it is getting to Bora Bora. Just a note about this however is that Bora Bora is not the only honeymoon option in French Polynesia – Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti all are honeymoon options but on this section I will be concentrating on Bora Bora in particular.
The International Airport in French Polynesia is on Tahiti. From there you will need to get another plane to the island of Bora Bora. Due to timings, it may be necessary to stay on Tahiti for one night prior to travel to your Bora Bora resort. For us there is really only once choice of where to stay near the Tahitian capital Papeete and that is the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort and Spa as we think this is the best place to stay on Tahiti.
The difference between the plane transfers in Bora Bora vs the Maldives is that the Bora Bora planes tend to be much bigger. This might be an important factor for those travelers who are nervous fliers. However please note – Air Tahiti does enforce the 23kg baggage limit so pack light. For more advice on what to wear and pack in Bora Bora check out this post!
Depending on which hotel on Bora Bora you then choose you may have to transfer again via boat to your resort.
If you are considering travelling to Bora Bora with kids then check out this post!
Overall which is easier to get to Maldives or Bora Bora
If you want to know which is easiest to get to The Maldives vs Bora Bora overall I think the Maldives has the slight edge as all of the resorts organize their own transport which makes it easier for those traveling to have a smoother transfer and it means you don’t waste a night of your break staying away from your main resort or even have to transfer twice.
Bora Bora Or Maldives – What is the best time to visit each?
Although in different hemisphere one of the reliable things about tropical, equatorial islands like Bora Bora and the Maldives is that they can be visited all year round. For Bora Bora the peak season is classified as May to October. At this time the weather in Bora Bora is between 60-80 degrees faranheit. We actually visited Bora Bora in the off season (February) and we did have some good weather however we also experienced quite a bit of tropical rain, and Bora Bora is not somewhere that has a lot to do on a rainy day. The benefit however of traveling to Bora Bora in the off season however is that the accommodation is definitely cheaper, and quieter.
The Maldives peak season tends to be November – April to accommodate europeans’s escaping their winter cold, while Monsoon season is May – October. We travelled to the Maldives in April and we had the most perfect weather you could imagine.
Bora Bora Vs Maldives Cost Comparison – Is Bora Bora Cheaper than Maldives?
The main factors when comparing Bora Bora Vs Maldives Cost are:
- When you are flying from, especially between US based and European based travellers
- What sort of resort you are considering and;
- Whether you decide to go all inclusive
Let’s be honest travelling to either Bora Bora or the Maldives isn’t going to be cheap so in some respects the Bora Bora Maldives prices are comparable. Obviously working out is Bora Bora or Maldives cheaper than the Maldives will largely depend on where you are coming from. For us being based in the Middle East or Europe, flights to the Maldives are definitely cheaper that Bora Bora. While US readers will find that Bora Bora cheaper than Maldives.
In regards to hotels, the Maldives has lots more hotels and as a result also has some more budget accommodations in comparison to Bora Bora.
One great example of a Maldives mid range hotel resort is Bandos Maldives
You can read our full review of Bandos Maldives HERE!
There are also more options for eating on Bora Bora compared to the Maldives. At the Maldives you really will need to go all inclusive to make eating more affordable whereas in Bora Bora you have options to go between resorts to eat and even go into the town on Bora Bora where there are restaurants.
Note about food in Bora Bora and the Maldives: The styles of food in each is also quite different. In Bora Bora the food has a French influence while The Maldives has a lot more curry.
So in answer to “Is the Maldives or Bora Bora more expensive?” – I would say for food the answer is the Maldives however I think generally speaking The Maldives is cheaper than Bora Bora. But at the same time I would say the biggest factor to which is cheaper Bora Bora or Maldives is largely based on where you are travelling from.
Which has the best luxury accommodation in Bora Bora vs Maldives
Both Bora Bora and Maldives have a long established tourist industry and both have some amazing luxury resorts.
The Maldives perhaps has the longest tourist industry and is renowned for over the top luxury and over water villas. If you want the traditional over water bungalow experience then you want be short of places offering that experience.
Some of the most highly rated resorts with over water bungalows are:
But for some of the most over the top luxury in the world you need to see Conrad Maldives with its underwater dining experience – this is a hotel that is on everybody’s hotel bucket list. The resort also has a 20K bottle wine cellar. You can check prices and availability here!
However Bora Bora also has great luxury options but has less resorts than the Maldives . In Bora Bora there are definitely options for over water villas but there are more choices of accommodation. Whereas resorts in the Maldives tend to have their island offering uninterrupted views and privacy, Bora Bora is smaller so overwater villas are not as commonplace and the neighbors are far more common. Resorts, particular lagoon side will often have views of people doing water sports, however, the oceans in Bora Bora are some of the best in the world.
Some of the highest rated resorts in Bora Bora are:
Four Seasons Bora Bora
The hotel has a combination of over-water bungalows and beachfront villas. Located on Point Matira in Bora Bora, voted ‘the best island in the world’ by U.S. News in 2012. The Motu Mute Airport is a mere 15-minute boat ride away. This resort is great for those wanting to snorkel as they do free guided snorkelling tours of the lagoon sanctuary.
The Conrad Bora Bora Nui
One of my all time favorite hotel chains. This hotel resort is a twenty minute boat transfer from the airport. One of the oldest over water bungalow accommodations in French Polynesia but its recent renovation means that it feels utterly up to date. They really have thought of everything during their renovations and if you are looking for utter modern luxury this is the place to go.
The St Regis Bora Bora
When I think of Bora Bora, this hotel is always the one that springs to mind having been the setting for the 2009 Vince Vaughn film Couples Retreat. The St Regis Bora Bora Resort is a 10-minute drive from Mont Otemanu and Mont Pahia or a 15-minute boat transfer from Bora Bora Airport. The hotel property boasts beach front villas as well as some of the mist stunning overwater bungalows where you can dive right into the ocean – the perfect accommodation for any honeymooner. The hotel has two pools, an unbelievable spa and beautiful beaches, gardens and terraces. For those travelling with kids there is a kids club available as well as a play area and on demand babysitting at an additional cost.
Overall what has the best luxury Bora Bora or The Maldives
With the volume of resorts in the Maldives competition is higher and some resorts look to differentiate themselves by having Michelin starred chefs and having different type of luxury experience such as over the top and also barefoot luxury resorts. Six Senses Laamu now offers a zero carbon meal. The Maldives, overall probably has some more groundbreaking and off the wall resorts by comparison to Bora Bora as there is more competition and the resorts really need to set themselves apart.
What is there to do in Bora Bora vs Maldives
One of the main differences between The Maldives and Bora Bora is that on the main Bora Bora island, is a small town! You can go into the local market and even try some local dining options. If you want to meet some locals then Bora Bora is the place for you. You can also go to a Polynesian cultural show to get more of an insight into traditional life. This aspect is missing in the Maldives and I don’t think you learn much about the people or there way of life.
Whereas at the Maldives you are definitely more restricted to your resort (Not that you will want to leave)! If you are a fan of hiking etc then the Maldives doesn’t have the options. The activities here are more limited to water based but all resorts will offer excursions of snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing and dolphin watching to name but a few.
Having to rely on resort led activities in the Maldives means you are more likely to spend more money on actives (if not included in the price of the room)! Bora Bora has several independent tour companies so you are likely to get a better activity rate.
Which is best for honeymoons Bora Bora or Maldives?
You can’t really go wrong if you decide to go on honeymoon in Bora Bora or Maldives. Both island paradises offer the ultimate in luxury accommodation, fine dining and activities. Therefore, when choosing between The Maldives or Bora Bora for the honeymoon I would say choose which is easiest and most cost effective for you to visit as you can’t go wrong with either.
Which is Best for Family Travellers Bora Bora or the Maldives
We have travelled to both Bora Bora and the Maldives and found great places to stay in both Bora Bora and Maldives with kids. When we went to the Maldives we stayed at Bandos Resort. This wasn’t the highest end luxury accommodation however it was good for our needs.
What is better Bora Bora vs Maldives?
There is really no better when it comes to picking Bora Bora or the Maldives! Think about the type of property and feel you would like to stay in versus your budget and what type of activities you want to do! But at the end of the day no Mather which paradise you pick you are sure to have a fabulous time.
FAQS About The Maldives Vs Bora Bora
What is the Main difference between Maldives and Bora Bora?
The Maldives is a series of islands while Bora Bora is one island in the Society Islands – French Polynesia. The other main islands of French Polynesia are Moorea and Tahiti. While the resorts on Bora Bora are based on the main or a couple of adjacent islands (all within easy reach) most of the Maldives resorts are on separate islands and can be a flight away from each other.
How Long is the Flight From Bora Bora to Maldives?
If you are wondering how long is the flight between Bora Bora to Maldives the answer is over 18 hours. It isn’t really possible to do both Bora Bora and the Maldives in one trip unless you want a huge flight in between.
Why is Bora Bora Expensive? Why is the Maldives Expensive?
Both options are expensive due to their remoteness. Bora Bora only has a few flights a day while the remoteness of islands in the Maldives means transport is expensive as is getting supplies.
Is Bora Bora and Maldives the same place?
No Bora Bora and the Maldives are not the same place. There is actually a 18 hour flight with connections separating the two.
How far is Bora Bora from Maldives?
Which is better Bora Bora or Maldives?
Having been to both I find it incredibly difficult to give an outright answer to which is better Bora Bora or Maldives as we had such a great time at both.Therefore when answering which is better Maldives or Bora Bora I would say pick the place that is closest to you as this will save on costs and you will have a brilliant time at whichever you decide to go to.