Are you considering Bora Bora vs. Maldives?
If you are trying to decide which bucket-list destination is right for you, this deep dive into which tropical destination is better for travel is for you.
Regarding luxury island getaways, Bora Bora and the Maldives are some of the first places to come to mind. They come up repeatedly on bucket lists and are both fantastic choices.
Bora Bora is in the South Pacific country of French Polynesia, and the Maldives are in the Indian Ocean, so it is unrealistic to visit two islands on opposite sides of the world in one trip.
So how do they compare, and which island is best for you?
In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of both islands from multiple perspectives, including accommodations, food, price, excursion opportunities, and convenience. By the end of the article, you will be able to make your own informed decision about which is best for your next trip.
Is It Better To Go To Bora Bora or Maldives?
There is no ‘right’ answer when considering Bora Bora vs. Maldives. But there is probably a better option for your particular hobbies, home country, and travel budget.
Each destination has incredible beaches and plenty of activities for a memorable vacation. However, there are more differences between the two groups of islands than you might expect, especially regarding cost, atmosphere, and food/entertainment options.
Here is everything you need to know before booking a trip to Bora Bora of the Maldives!
Which is best for accommodations: Bora Bora or the Maldives?
When it comes to comparing accommodations, you can’t go wrong with Bora Bora or the Maldives, as they each have luxury hotels and overwater bungalows. But the resorts in the Maldives are exceptionally luxurious, listed as some of the world’s most extravagant resorts in the world.
There are definitely luxury resorts in Bora Bora as well. But they are generally more affordable than the Maldives, with 3-star, 4-star, and 5-star suites available at various price points. Bora Bora seeks to keep prices reasonable while still providing a quality experience.
On the other hand, if you want to splurge, the Maldives has several places to choose from for an incredibly luxurious vacation.
Best Resorts in the Maldives
📍Kudadoo Maldives Private Island ($$$)
For those who are looking for an exclusive and unforgettable experience in the Maldives, Kudadoo Maldives Private Island is the perfect place to stay. Situated on its own 30,000-square-foot private island, Kudadoo is roughly about 100 miles north of Malé.
Guests here occupy one of just 15 luxurious overwater bungalows and are each assigned a personal butler for their stay.
They also have unlimited access to premium champagnes, wines, beverages, private excursions, fine dining, spa treatments, and yoga/meditation classes. It is the epitome of luxury.
📍Jumeirah Resort ($$)
Jumeirah Resort in the Maldives has spacious villas with indoor and outdoor showers and top-notch amenities. These include access to a tennis court, fitness center, three fine-dining restaurants, and a speakeasy lounge.
The resort also provides yacht trips, scuba diving opportunities, water sports activities, and yoga studios to its guests. With its own private lagoon and beach plus outstanding hospitality from its staff members, this resort is consistently one of the top-rated resorts in the Maldives.
📍Baros Maldives ($)
Staying at Baros Maldives Resort offers a quintessential Maldives experience without breaking the bank. It’s still expensive, but the price tags are much lower than other resorts in the area.
Still, guests can expect a private espresso machine and wine bar in each villa, three fine-dining restaurants, an infinity pool, and a full spa.
The resort is only 25 minutes away from Malé by speedboat, and in the evening, travelers can enjoy a cocktail lounge with sea views and an accompanying cigar lounge right at the resort.
📍Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives ($)
It is difficult to find affordable bungalows in the Maldives, but this resort is routinely more affordable than other resorts in the country. The all-inclusive resort is located on a small private island with lagoon-facing bungalows for $400-$700/night.
The restaurant is buffet-style and has an intimate area to share drinks with your partner after dinner. It is a 45-minute seaplane transfer to the resort, but once you get there, everything else is included.
Best Resorts in Bora Bora
📍Conrad Bora Bora Nui ($$$)
Located in its own private cove on Motu To’opua, the floating villas at Conrad Bora Bora Nui offer stunning views of the ocean and beautiful overwater bungalows.
Guests have access to a day spa, infinity pool, four different restaurants, and two bars for entertainment any time of the day.
📍Intercontinental Bora Bora and Thalasso Hotel ($$)
Situated on a private beach on Pita Aau (one mile west of Bora Bora), this luxurious 5-star resort and day spa provides guests with a multitude of amenities, including an outdoor pool, fitness room, and Turkish bath.
There is also a spacious terrace with sun loungers in each air-conditioned bungalow, along with direct access to the ocean in select suites.
📍Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts ($$)
Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts is rated extremely high by couples on a honeymoon or anniversary holiday. The resort offers a variety of accommodation options, from suites with a garden view to beachfront suites and overwater bungalows.
Le Bora Bora also features a restaurant on the water, tennis courts, a diving center, and a huge outdoor pool.
📍Royal Bora Bora ($)
Royal Bora Bora is a top choice for travelers visiting the islands on a tight budget. The prices of the rooms are more consistent with a typical 3-star hotel in Europe or the United States.
While it may not be a typical overwater bungalow experience, you will have clean, comfortable rooms only a few steps from the beach. Every room at the resort also includes a breakfast buffet each morning and has easy access to canoes and snorkeling.
Which is cheaper: Bora Bora or the Maldives?
Bora Bora is generally more affordable than the Maldives. There are a couple of reasons why it is cheaper.
✔️ First, its proximity to Tahiti and other South Pacific islands creates competition around tourism that drives prices down.
✔️Second, the resorts in Bora Bora tend to be cheaper since they don’t offer the same level of exclusivity as those found on the Maldives islands.
✔️ And finally, it is common to find discounts and deals on flights to Bora Bora, especially during shoulder season.
➡️ The average cost for two adults to spend 7 days in Bora Bora is $3,500 – $6,500.
- Accommodation = $2,200 – $4,000
- Dining = $500 – $800
- Excursions = $500 – $1,200
- Tansportation = $200 – $300
- Other = $100 – $200
Honeymooners can check out this Honeymoon In Bora Bora Cost Guide.
On the other hand, the Maldives is known for its high-end resorts and luxury amenities. Not to mention, it’s usually more expensive to get there since flights are often longer and more costly than flights to Bora Bora.
But if you’re looking for a truly luxurious experience and have the extra money for your dream vacation, you should consider the Maldives for your tropical island getaway.
➡️ The average cost for two adults to spend 7 days in the Maldives is $5,700 – $11,500.
- Accommodation = $4,000 – $8,000
- Dining = $500 – $1000
- Excursions = $500 – $800
- Tansportation = $500 – $1500
- Other = $200 – $300
Ultimately, the choice of Bora Bora or Maldives for your vacation depends on how much you are willing to spend on the experience. But Bora Bora is significantly more cost-effective than going to the Maldives.
Best things to do: Bora Bora vs. Maldives
When it comes to things to do, Bora Bora and the Maldives offer similar underwater experiences and pristine beaches for tourists.
Both destinations have lagoons renowned for vibrant coral reefs and a huge variety of marine life, including sharks, stingrays, whales, and some of the most exotic sea creatures in the world. They also both have stunning white-sand beaches along their shores.
But Bora Bora is worth it just for the adventurous opportunities due to its mountainous terrain. You can hike through the ‘Valley of Kings” or to the top of Mt. Otemanu. There are also 4×4 safari tours, ATV rentals, and jet skiing in the lagoons.
The Maldives is not mountainous, so hiking and ATV rentals are not popular. The islands instead lend themselves to the underwater world with excursions like submarine tours and scuba diving opportunities.
Things to do in the Maldives
✔️ Book a private Sunset Dinner – Many resorts and restaurants in the Maldives have dinner packages that include an intimate dining experience on the water. It will set you back about $200, but you will get a buffet-style dinner for two with multiple courses, champagne, and a personal waiter.
✔️ Take an Underwater Submarine Tour – This is a unique thing to do in the capital city of Malé. The 45-minute submarine tour descends 100 feet (30 meters) deep and allows you to see the underwater world from the comfort of a dry, air-conditioned submarine.
✔️ Rent a SUP – Stand-up paddleboards are a great way to explore the lagoons throughout the Maldives. You can usually book a rental with your resort for a reasonable price. It’s easy to learn, and the calm water is perfect for watching fish and sea turtles swimming below you.
✔️ Go Scuba Diving – The Maldives is one of the best places in the world to get PADI certified. The most famous dive is an underwater reef flat called Maaya Thilla, about 50 miles west of Malé, but you can usually find dives closer to your resort with a bit of research.
✔️ Go Island-Hopping – In the Maldives, most resorts are located on private islands or atolls. This setup is perfect for visitors who are content staying in one place, but many people choose to take a tour of other islands around their resort.
You can choose to book a day tour through your hotel or embark on an extended island-hopping tour for up to a week!
Things to do in Bora Bora
✔️ Encounter Humpback Whales – Bora Bora is known for its excellent whale-watching tours, and some of these tours even allow you to safely swim with these giant creatures and listen to their songs via a ‘hydrophone.’
✔️ Go Snorkeling – Snorkeling is the most popular thing to do in Bora Bora. There are loads of tour companies, but the best tours include snorkeling with sharks and stingrays in Bora Bora Lagoon.
✔️ Hike Mt Otemanu – This mountain peak is the highest in Bora Bora and dominates the landscape, and legends say it is the resting place of the gods. It is impossible to climb to the very top, but hiking to the shoulder of the peak is still a rewarding journey.
✔️ Cruise Around on a Bicycle – Exploring Bora Bora by bicycle is an eco-friendly way to take the day slow and enjoy the islands at your own pace. Regular bikes are about $25/per day, and E-bikes are roughly $40 per day.
✔️ Sail Away on a Catamaran Sunset Sail – Treat your special person (or yourself!) to an unforgettable evening aboard one of the many catamaran cruises around Bora Bora’s coastline. These luxury tours include a private captain, snacks, sparkling wine, and music to make it truly special. This is one of our top things to do in Bora Bora at night.
✔️ Take a Scenic Helicopter Tour – If you’ve seen enough below the water, try a different vantage point from the sky. Bora Bora has scenic helicopter tours that treat people to a bird’s eye view of Mt Otemanu and Bora Bora Lagoon. This ‘Shades of Blue Tour’ is one of Bora Bora’s top helicopter excursions.
Either way, it is wise to book most excursions and things to do before you arrive in Bora Bora or the Maldives. You can do this online through the links we’ve added or by calling your hotels and arranging a tour.
✔️ Booking ahead of time will ensure that you get the best prices available on your excursions.
Which has better food: Bora Bora or the Maldives
Bora Bora and the Maldives are very import dependent, which inflates the price of groceries and dining on the island, especially for international food and alcohol.
Order some local dishes if you need to save a little money on your trip. It’s more affordable and exciting because you can try unique tropical fruits, like fafa (tropical spinach), cassava, and uru (breadfruit).
Most seafood is caught just offshore, so ask about their local fish of the day!
If you are looking for a truly unique culinary experience, Bora Bora and the Maldives each have beachfront restaurants with stunning views of the ocean. Spending the evening at one of these romantic restaurants for sunset is an unforgettable way to enjoy both of these islands.
Food in Bora Bora
Bora Bora cuisine is best described as Polynesian food with a heavy french influence. The traditional Polynesian dishes are Poisson Cru (marinated tuna in lime and coconut) and the ‘fish of the gods,’ which tastes like a combination of tuna and salmon.
Rotisserie pork, local Mahi-Mahi, Tahitian Vanilla Panna Cotta, and papaya puree are other popular foods of Bora Bora. The fish from the ocean is particularly sought after due to its superior flavor compared to lagoon fish.
But you will also find lots of bread, pastries, pizza, and French-inspired seafood dishes.
For travelers looking for more affordable dining options in Bora Bora, head to Vaitape on the main island. It’s easy to find roadside eateries with snacks, island fruits, and fish.
And you should also try Les Roulottes (literally ‘rolling food trucks’), which are four food trucks in Vaitape village that serve various meat and seafood dishes.
On the other hand, you will want to visit La Villa Mahana, St. James Bora Bora, Matira Beach Restaurant, or Bloody Mary’s for a special dinner in Bora Bora.
Food in the Maldives
The Maldives is known for its exotic cuisine influenced by India, with curries, naan bread, and seafood platters commonly found on menus.
Unfortunately, there are few cheap restaurants on the islands since they are often private islands owned by the resort. Still, these resorts have delicious restaurants available with local and international dishes.
One growing trend is the unique experience of underwater dining. Two of the most popular restaurants for dining under the waves are SEA on Anantara Kihavah Maldives and Ithaa on Conrad Maldives Resort Island. These restaurants run a high price tag but are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Some of the best local dishes in the Maldives include fish soup, smoked shredded tuna (Boshi Mashuni), Saagu Bondibai (a type of coconut curry), and unique cocktails such as the Maldivian Lady or Biyadhoo Special.
Note: While drinking tap water in Bora Bora is safe, the same cannot be said for the Maldives. You should stick to bottled water in the Maldives since most tap water is just desalinated ocean water.
Which destination is easier to get to?
Bora Bora is definitely easier to get to than the Maldives. This is especially true for travelers from the U.S. and Australia because each continent has direct flights to French Polynesia.
If you live in the USA, the Maldives is on the other side of the world, just south of India and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. These flights may be more affordable and shorter from Europe and Asia, but it’s usually a 30+ hour flight from the U.S.
And the journey is usually not over once you land on the island. Most resorts are on separate islands and atolls from the airport, so you will need to arrange for transportation to your resort.
How to get to Bora Bora
Bora Bora is located in the South Pacific, so you can usually find direct flights from North America to Papeete, the capital of Tahiti.
These flights depart from Los Angelos, San Francisco, and Honolulu and take 5 to 8 hours to get to Tahiti. Then, it’s just a short, 45-minute flight to Bora Bora Island.
Since the Bora Bora airport is on a separate island from the hotels and resorts, tourists have two options. They can:
- Arrange a boat transfer to take you directly from the Bora Bora airport to your hotel. This transfer costs extra, but it does make it significantly more convenient to get to your hotel after a long flight.
- Take the free boat transfer to the main island of Bora Bora, Vaitape (it’s free for everyone flying on Air Tahiti). Then you can either get a taxi to your hotel on the mainland or take a resort boat shuttle to your final destination.
Overall, it’s relatively easy to get to your final destination in Bora Bora, and flights from the U.S. are sometimes less than $1000 round trip!
How to get to the Maldives
The Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean and can be reached via a direct flight from Europe or a multi-stop flight from the U.S., usually connecting somewhere in the Middle East (Qatar, UAE, Istanbul).
Most international flights arrive in the Maldives at Velana International Airport, formerly known as Malé International Airport (MLE). Unfortunately, most resorts are not on Malé, so most travelers’ journey is still not over.
There are over 200 inhabited islands in the Maldives, and most islands have just a single resort. Unless you stay on Malé, you still have to take a boat or seaplane to your hotel/resort.
These transfer companies are usually affiliated with the hotel companies, so bookings often are made with your resort instead of online.
- Boat Transfers – Ferries to other islands from Malé can take between 30 minutes and four hours and cost $100-500 per person.
- Seaplane Transfers – Seaplanes are quicker and more convenient but cost significantly more. Travelers can expect to pay between $500 and $1500 for a seat on a seaplane (this often includes food and luxury transportation to and from the international airport)
Overall, Bora Bora is not only a shorter flight for most travelers but also significantly cheaper and more convenient to get to your resort once you arrive in the country.
On the surface, Bora Bora and the Maldives seem similar. They both have overwater bungalows, aquamarine water, and white-sand beaches.
But if you’ve read this far, then you know that these tropical islands provide very different experiences for their visitors. Here are some more common questions about Maldives vs Bora Bora.
What’s the difference between Bora Bora and the Maldives?
The two destinations are quite different from one another.
Bora Bora is made up of just a couple of islands in French Polynesian, while the Maldives is its own country made up of over 1000 islands and atolls across the Indian ocean.
The landscape of each destination is also quite different from one another. Bora Bora has tall mountain peaks and lush jungles across the main island, which adventure travelers love.
The Maldives, however, is very flat, with the highest point stretching less than 5 meters (17 feet) above sea level.
Another big difference between Bora Bora and the Maldives is the weather, which affects peak travel season. The Maldives has a proper monsoon season in the summer, so the best time to travel here is in the winter months, between November and April.
Bora Bora is the opposite, with the summer months of April to October being the best time to visit.
So depending on your travel dates, one tropical destination may be much better than the other simply because the weather is more agreeable.
Which destination has prettier water?
Bora Bora and the Maldives are each known for their incredible emerald blue waters and vibrant marine life, so it’s hard to say that one has prettier water than the other.
That said, the Indian Ocean tends to be warmer than the Pacific Ocean, so snorkeling and swimming in the Maldives is sometimes more comfortable than in Bora Bora.
Is it better to go to Bali or the Maldives?
Bali and the Maldives are dramatically different from one another in both landscape and overall atmosphere.
Bali is a popular tourist destination beloved by laid-back digital nomads, adventure travelers, and honeymooners. It’s very affordable and has a variety of different areas to stay across the island for all types of travel, from hostels to luxury resorts.
Traveling to Bali will also treat you to excellent surf breaks, healthy food, stunning temples, and many ways to explore the mountains, from waterfall treks to white-water rafting.
This experience in Bali is very different from the Maldives. Instead of a single diverse island, the Maldives comprises over 1000 islands and atolls with similar experiences. These resorts in the Maldives are also significantly more luxurious than Bali.
Bora Bora and the Maldives are each incredible island destinations with a lot to offer. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape, an adventurous getaway, or simply need a few days in paradise, we can honestly say that you will not be disappointed.
At the end of the day, the most significant deciding factors will be your travel budget, home location, and desired travel dates.
But your travel style and preferences can also play a role in figuring out which island is best for your trip!