If you’ve reached here, you’re facing world’s greatest dilemma: “Bora Bora vs Maldives-which one is better?” Well, been fortunate enough to visit both the places, I’d have to say, both are the best places, blessed with extreme natural beauty. Both have fancy resorts with water bungalows and beautiful blue and turquoise lagoons.
In this blog, I’ll tell you the difference between Bora Bora and the islands in the Maldives, so that you can find out which one of these two destinations match better with your next trip itinerary, budget and vibe! So let’s dive in!
Comparison Table: Bora Bora Vs Maldives
|Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and Australia
|Indian Ocean, near Sri Lanka
|Mountainous landscape, suitable for hiking
|99% water, completely flat
|More accessible from the USA
|More accessible from Europe, Asia, and Africa
|Fancy resorts with water bungalows
|Ultimate privacy, each resort on its own private island
|Cost of stay
|Higher cost of stay
|Lower cost of stay
|Taxis, bicycles, buses, boats
|Speedboat, ferry, bus, bicycles
|Matira Beach, Mt Otemanu
|Alimatha Island, Manta Point
|Warm and humid
|Indian and Asian
|Water sports and shark safari
|Diving, swimming with dolphins, and food
Are Bora Bora and the Maldives Similar?
This question gets asked a lot. No, Bora Bora and Maldives are two completely different destination. The Maldives is a bunch of islands in the Indian Ocean near Sri Lanka. Bora Bora is one of the islands in French Polynesia, found in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Australia.
Is Bora Bora Closer to the Us or Maldives? – Geographical Location
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that both the Maldives and Bora Bora are pretty far from the United States. However, one of them is much more easily accessible than the other.
If we measure the distance, Male (the airport you’ll fly into for a trip to the Maldives) is about 8,721 miles away from New York City. On the other hand, Bora Bora (BOB) is roughly 4,181 miles away from San Francisco (or over 6,300 miles from NYC).
No matter which one you choose, you’ll have to make a connection, but getting to Male is going to be a much longer journey.
The Maldives is a low lying island country in the Indian Ocean. It’s 717 km from Sri Lanka and 430 km from India.
There are 1,192 island spread out over 90,000 square kilometers to the southwest of Sri Lanka. Each island has its own little world with a lagoon or sea separating them from each other.
These islands are absolutely stunning. Some islands have fine, soft sand beaches, while others have more rocky terrain. The water is crystal clear and turquoise. When you stare out at the ocean, it just goes on forever.
Bora Bora is a small island near Tahiti in French Polynesia. Bora Bora’s geography is very unique as it’s the result of a volcanic formation. The island is quite small, only about 29.3 square kilometers.
It’s surrounded by a small islands called motus and sits in a beautiful turquoise lagoon. The highest point on the island is Mt Otemanu, which is 727 meters or 2,385 feet tall.
The whole island is blessed with lush green mountains and black volcanic rock. The steep, dramatic shape of Mt Otemanu creates a stunning views from anywhere on the island. It’s the perfect backdrop to the blue lagoon and white sandy beaches.
Bora Bora or Maldives: Accessibility
When it comes to accessibility the main question is where you’re going from. If you’re in Europe or Africa, getting to the Maldives will be easier than getting to Bora Bora. But, if you’re based in the United States or Australia, then Bora Bora is the best option.
Tours & Things to do hand-picked by our insiders
Get to The Maldives
Lots of airlines are flying to the Maldives these days. Especially if you fly with one of the Middle East airlines like Emirates, Etihad, or Qatar Airways, they have lots of flights going to the Maldives every day.
And once you’re in the Maldives, you can reach your selected island/resort by a seaplane. Some hotels can only be reached by seaplanes during the daytime, but the ones in the North and South Male Atoll, which are closer to the airport, have speedboats that run all day and night.
Getting To Bora Bora
Getting to Bora Bora is a bit of a hassle as the island doesn’t have any direct international flights. First, you have to take a flight to Tahiti, but options for flights to Tahiti are limited as well.
Then, you need to catch a 50-minute domestic flight to Bora Bora. These domestic flights only operate during the day. And the main problem is they don’t align with the international flights. So it’s best if you choose an international flight that arrives in Tahiti early in the morning.
To get from London it takes a 10 hour long direct flight to the Maldives, and it take about 24 hour to fly to Bora Bora.
From NYC, it’s slightly more convenient to catch a flight to the Maldives compared to LAX. There are many more flight options available and the travel time is under 22 hours.
For those flying from LAX, Bora Bora is the destination with a flight time of 10 hours, including a stopover in China.
Now, let’s take a look at the travel times from various other countries to the Maldives:
- US: 20-25 hours
- UK: 10-11 hours
- India: 4-5 hours
- Dubai, UAE: 4 hours
- Pakistan: 6-7 hours
- Sri Lanka: 2 hours
- Bangladesh: 4-5 hours
- Singapore: 4 hours
- Russia: 9-31 hours
- China: 7 hours
- Switzerland: 9 hours
- Thailand (Bangkok): 5 hours
- Malaysia: 4 Hours
- Japan: 9 hours
- Indonesia: 5-6 hours
- Germany: 10 hours
- Belgium: 11 hours
- Saudi Arabia: 5-6 hours
Bora Bora vs the Maldives: Activities & Attractions
Things To Do in Maldives
The Maldives offer plenty of activities:
1. Maldives Beaches: Most of the people go to the Maldives just to chill on the beach. The soft white sand and the turquoise blue water, makes it perfect for a beach vacation.
2. Scuba Diving & Snorkeling: The Maldives is a great place for scuba diving and snorkeling. The water is crystal clear and it has a rich marine life. Some resorts even have reefs right by the beach. So you can swim there easily, or you can take a boat to go to deeper water to see even more colorful reefs.
3. Malé Fish Market: If you want to see how the locals live, visit the Malé Fish Market. In the afternoon, all the fishermen come to the market and unload their catch from sailing all over the country. Here you will catch the glimpse of daily life in the Maldives.
4. Surfing in the Maldives: The Maldives is a fantastic surfing spot. The Cinnamon Dhonveli Hotel is where all the pro surfers go to ride some sick waves. If you’re a adrenaline junky, surfing is definitely one of the best things to do in the Maldives.
5. Visit the Spa: The Maldives is perfect for romance. Most people who go to the Maldives are couples or families, so we recommend getting a couples’ massage for upping the romance factor.
6. Sunset Romantic Dinner: There’s no more romantic place on earth than the Maldives. If you’re with your special someone and you want go all-out on a romantic night, this is the place to do it. Most food in the Maldives is buffet style, but take a break from that and enjoy a fancy dinner either on the beach or on a pier while watching the sunset.
Things To Do in Bora Bora
Bora Bora offers tons of fun things to do:
1. Go swimming with Humpback Whales: Whale watching in Bora Bora is something you must do! From July to November the whales migrate in Bora Bora. You can even hear their songs using special underwater microphones. You’ll find certain tours that let you swim with them wearing snorkeling gear! Popular snorkeling spots are Coral Gardens and the Bora Bora Lagoonarium.
2. Stay at a Fancy Resort: Bora Bora is one of the best places for luxury overwater bungalows. They are expensive, but I’d suggest planning a honeymoon there. It’s totally worth it.
3. Take a Hike on the Valley of Kings Trail: If you want to learn about legends and history about French Polynesia, hiking the Valley of Kings at Ancesters’ Peak is the place for you. The hike itself is beautiful. You’ll get to see all kind of local plants.
4. Rent a Bicycle: The main island of Bora Bora is small and it can be explored in just one day. You can rent regular bikes and electric ones too for less than $40 a day. It’s super fun exploring the island while riding bike.
5. Sailing into Sunset on a Catamaran: One really romantic thing to do in Bora Bora is sailing in catamaran. You will experience the most beautiful sunset while sailing away. The tour include delicious snacks, sparkling wine, and music to make it an extra special experience.
6. Night Life In Bora Bora: The nights are very peaceful and secluded in Bora Bora. You can enjoy startgazing tour and learn how the Polynesians used stars for navigation. The resorts arrange romantic nights with polynesian dance and jazz music with best cocktails. You can also go to bars for drinks and Bora Bora Yacht Club Bar is a personal favourite. You can even spot celebrities here!
Bora Bora or the Maldives: Which is the Best Honeymoon Destination
If you’re wondering which will be best for your honeymoon, then the good news is, you can’t go wrong with Maldives or Bora Bora. No matter what destination you pick, these islands will give you the most exotic, luxurious, bucket-list worthy experiences.
Being fortune enough to have visited both the places, I will share my personal opinion. To me, Bora Bora feels resorty and luxurious whereas the Maldives feels like being stranded on a gorgeous private island in the middle of nowhere.
Bora Bora has a chic lux vibe, while the Maldives has a relaxed and laid-back- ‘barefoot luxury’ vibe (Literally when you get to most resorts in the Maldives, they tell you to take off your shoes and you won’t need them for the whole trip.)
Different couples will prefer each destination more perfect for their own vibe. If you want more civilization and society around you, Bora Bora is perfect for you. You can socialize on the island, join parties, and even spot celebrities. But if you want to disconnect from the world and feel like you have an entire island to yourselves, then Maldives is your paradise.
Summarize: Bora Bora is filled with resorts and fancy people, the resorts in Bora Bora are far bigger than the resorts in the Maldives. And Maldives provide ultimate privacy. Each resort is on its own private island, making it feel like a whole different world.
Bora Bora vs Maldives: Travel Costs
Whether you choose Bora Bora or Maldives, the cost is an important factor. In general, the Maldives is more expensive when it comes to doing things. Because there’s a 22% tax added to everything you buy there. (10% service and 12% government).
And the tax is included in all the activities, tours, dinning, hitels and resorts. Another thing to take into consideration is which country you’re flying from? As mentioned above, if you’re closer to the island, flight rate will be cheaper.
However, after reaching to the destination, you’ll need to take an extra flight or a seaplane in the Maldives to reach your resort. For the Maldives, the seaplane transfer will cost you around $500, and the flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora is around $200.
Bora Bora Cost
Bora Bora is an island generally known as a posh and expensive vacation destination. It’s on rivaly with other luxurious destinations in the Caribbean island like Hawaii.
The flights and accommodation is the most expensive cost of the trip. You can cut down on the the tour and food cost. But if you want fancy meals ofcourse that will cost you more.
The cost of going to Bora Bora can vary because there are options for massive splurge. Some ultra luxury resorts cost $15,000 per night! And then charge an extra extra $60-100 per dish at the hotel restaurant.
Roughly, a one-week trip to Bora Bora can cost you from $2,500 to $20,000. The cost depends on how you plan your trip, how much luxury are you willing to experience etc.
Maldives Trip Cost
A trip to the Maldives for six days and five nights, can cost you anywhere from $567 up to $30,900 for a stay in a standard room.
Maldives surprisingly have accommodation with various price points for all types of travelers. You can have an affordable travel experience to a super extravagant costly trip to the Maldives.
Of course as said before it depends on your travel itinerary. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include the cost of your flight to the Maldives.
In general, if you want to stay at a decent mid-range to luxury hotel, you need to budget around $3,500 – $7,000 for an all-inclusive trip for two people over six days and five nights.
Bora Bora vs The Maldives: Accommodations
Hotels and Resorts in Bora Bora
1. Bora Bora Ecolodge & Spa– Located on the beautiful Matira Beach, this eco-friendly hotel is a budget option in traditional Polynesian bungalows. You can enjoy stunning ocean views, an outdoor spa, and a restaurant serving local cuisine.
2. Hotel Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora – Located right beside the white-sand beach and turquoise lagoon, this hotel features comfortable rooms with private balconies or terraces. This is a very nice budget option to get over water bungalow feeling. The hotel features two restaurants, a poolside bar, watersports activities, and easy access to nearby shops.
3. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora – This is where most celebrities stay in Bora Bora. Need I say more? Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is an epitome of luxury set on its own private motu (island). This resort features over-water villas with breathtaking views of Mount Otemanu. You can indulge in world-class amenities such as an infinity-edge pool, exclusive spa services, fine dining options including Lagoon by Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, and personalized butler service.This one is for those seeking an unforgettable experience in paradise.
Hotels and Resorts in the Maldives
1. Plumeria Maldives: Situated on the local island of Maafushi, Plumeria Maldives is super affordable hotel with luxury amenities. The cozy guestrooms are tastefully decorated. You can relax in the outdoor swimming pool and partake in water sports activities available directly from the hotel’s private beach area.
2. Fun Island Resort: This resort is perfect for a mid-range tropical getaway in the Maldives. The resort feature spacious rooms with beautiful ocean views. Each room comes with semi private beach area. You can enjoy morning coffee or unwind during sunset hours. From here, you will have direct access to a pristine white sandy beach where you can soak up the sun or take part in thrilling water sports such as diving and surfing lessons organized by experienced instructors.
3. One & Only Reethi Rah: For an sublime luxury experience, One & Only Reethi Rah is an award winning Maldives resort. It is accessible only by a 20-minute speedboat ride from Male International Airport. The resorts has utmost privacy for its guests. Each overwater villa is designed with elegance and sophistication.The resort features exquisite dining options including world-class seafood delicacies served at their signature underwater restaurant
Maldives vs Bora Bora: Visa Reuirements
Do I need a visa for the Maldives?
One of the interesting things about Maldives is that Indian citizen don’t need a visa. It’s totally free and there aren’t any hidden terms. For foreigners, including Indians, will get a tourist visa upon arrival in the Maldives. So you don’t have to worry about applying or getting visa approval beforehand. But you need to meet the basic requirement upon arrival.
Here are the documents you’ll need:
- A valid passport with at least one month of validity remaining.
- A proof that you’ve confirmed accommodation.
- Passport size photograph with a white background
- Bank statement indicating sufficient funds for your stay in the Maldives
- Return flight ticket to your origin country
- Vaccination against Covid-19
- Travel declaration form filled within 96 hours of travelling to the Maldives. It must be submitted electronically via IMUGA website
Visa Requirements in Bora Bora
U.S. citizens do not need a visa if entering on a regular tourist passport and staying no more than 90 days out of every six months.
While visa is not required for Bora Bora, You must:
- Have a passport that’s valid for at least six months after your plan to leave the country and has an empty page for a visa.
- Show proof of both onward and return flights.
- Carry all the necessary documents needed for your next destination.
- Bring along any documents proving the purpose of your travel (like a letter from work or conference registrations).
- Make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses during your stay.
It’s wise to check with your airline beforehand if they’ll allow you on board without a visa.
Best Time to Visit Bora Bora and the Maldives
Maldives and Bora Bora have no hurricane season, so it’s safe to visit both of these island all year round. But as any place there are best season for these islands.
Best Time to Visit Bora Bora
There’s really no bad time for a trip to Bora Bora. The weather is crisp and tropical, always maintains the temperature at 70-80°F for most of the year.
In Bora Bora there’s more sun from April to November. So it’s the best time to visit bora Bora for a tropical vacation. December to February is the wet season here.
But if you want to avoid rain and don’t want too much sunshine then the best to visit from May to October. During the rainy season, it doesn’t rain all day so it won’t affect your trip.
Best Time to Visit the Maldives
Unlike Bora Bora, the Maldives have a proper monsoon season. The weather is an important factor while booking your Maldive trip. The dry seasons are from November to April. But in May, rain, wind, and storms start rolling in.
January- March is the best time to visit Maldives for a tropical island vacation. November to April is best if you don’t want extreme sun and avoid rain at any cost.
Even if you visit during wet season, you will love it here. Rain in island hits different and it won’t really affect your trip much.