If you ever find yourself in the enviable position of having to decide between Tahiti versus Bora Bora, you’ll know that it can be tough to choose. These two magical islands in the Society Islands of French Polynesia are essentially what everyone imagines when they think of paradise.
We’re talking lush, forested peaks rising from impossibly blue waters, and fringed with powdery sand and beckoning palms. While these two islands are in the same idyllic archipelago in the same remote corner of the world, they are not identical.
We’ll be comparing Tahiti to Bora Bora and what the differences are between these two incredible destinations.
Read more about French Polynesia
- Le Meridien Bora Bora Overwater Bungalow and Resort Review
- Islands of Tahiti Packing List
- Best Time To Travel To Bora Bora: A Seasonal Guide
- A Beginner’s Guide To How To Get To Bora Bora
Tahiti and Bora Bora Travel Deals
- Travel to Tahiti and Bora Bora can be a large portion of your travel budget. Keep costs down by using the “Everywhere” Feature from SkyScanner.
- Experience the beaches Tahiti and Bora Bora are known for with this Snorkeling and Lunch Tour in Tahiti or a Lagoon Cruise in Bora Bora.
- Avoid overpaying on rental cars with these coupon codes rental companies don't want you to know about!
Tahiti Or Bora Bora?
Deciding whether to go to Tahiti or to Bora Bora will depend on what kind of experience you’re seeking. We’ll break down the similarities and differences of these two unbelievable island destinations to help you choose: Tahiti vs Bora Bora.
What makes Tahiti special
Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. As such, it acts as a bit of a launchpad for tourists connecting to the other 117 islands in the chain.
If it’s a buzzing nightlife and vibrant energy you’re after, then Tahiti is for you. There are larger numbers of tourists and generally, the island feels busier. There’s also a wider variety of accommodation at a range of price points on Tahiti.
What makes Bora Bora special
Bora Bora is a 50-minute flight from Tahiti, and, like all the other islands in the chain, can only be reached via Tahiti. The island is smaller than Tahiti but has a much more remote and secluded feel.
Visitors to Bora Bora are usually seeking a more relaxed, private, and peaceful experience. There are enough shops and bars and restaurants here, but not as many options as Tahiti. The vibe here is much more exclusive and tranquil.
Honeymoons: Tahiti vs Bora Bora
You’d be forgiven for assuming that Bora Bora is better suited for honeymoons, but really both islands offer incredible honeymoons. It all comes down to the kind of honeymoon you’re looking to have.
Of course, the famous overwater bungalows of Bora Bora do make a romance-worthy setting. But don’t discount Tahiti’s pristine environment and verdant hillsides for a dreamy escape for two.
Bora Bora offers a wide range of exciting activities for couples looking to explore, including a bounty of non-motorized watersports. If heading out on the town is more your thing, then Tahiti comes out tops, with its variety of restaurants and bars.
Sumptuous spas, seclusion, and privacy make Bora Bora a great honeymoon destination. Tahiti is the busier island in terms of tourist numbers, and so, far more lively and vibrant.
Conclusion: Hands down, Bora Bora is better for the full honeymoon experience.
FRENCH POLYNESIA GUIDE
Before you plan your trip to Bora Bora, make sure you read this all-around guide for French Polynesia.
When comparing Tahiti vs Bora Bora, specifically in terms of costs, Bora Bora emerges as the more expensive of the two. It’s more remote and luxurious and requires additional travel to reach, which ups costs of everything from accommodation to food and beverages.
In Bora Bora, accommodation is more exclusive and private, with most resorts located on the small islets that are sprinkled around the main island of Bora Bora. There are, however, ways to keep Bora Bora trip costs lower.
Accommodation on Tahiti spans a wider variety of price points with more affordable options easier to come by. That said, Tahiti is by no means a cheap vacation destination.
The remoteness of the islands does add to the costs of a vacation here in that many ingredients, drinks, and supplies need to be brought in. As the economic center of the French Polynesian islands, there’s a slight cost-benefit to visiting Tahiti. There are no direct flights to Bora Bora which adds to the travel costs for tourists, as well as for supplies.
Conclusion: Bora Bora is more expensive.
Tahiti vs Bora Bora for families
Bora Bora has a reputation for being very fancy and exclusive, but don’t let that fool you into thinking a family holiday here isn’t possible. Many of the resorts in Bora Bora offer fun and engaging kid’s activities and a superb family experience.
Tahiti’s resorts and hotels are also well geared to families, offering activities like marine wildlife spotting, kayaking, biking, and splashing about in the shallow waters.
The real winning element of Tahiti for a family holiday is that there is a wider range of hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals to suit a wide range of family needs. Tahiti is also more accommodating to a wider range of budgets.
Whichever island you ultimately choose, there will be plenty of opportunities to make memories as a family. Build sandcastles, splash about in the gorgeous blue waters, and even learn about local cultures and traditions together.
Conclusion: Tahiti is a great cost-friendlier destination with a wider range of accommodations on the island but that's not to say that the resorts of Bora Bora aren't family friendly.
Things to do: Tahiti vs Bora Bora
There’s plenty to see and do in Tahiti. The island has both black and white sand beaches and is surrounded by crystal clear waters. Known as the place where surfing was invented, it’s no surprise that water sports here are excellent.
From swimming to stand-up paddleboarding, there’s no shortage of opportunities to dive in and enjoy the water, but it doesn’t stop there. There’s plenty to do on land as well. Go hiking on Aorai Mountain, the island’s second tallest peak, visit the Three Waterfalls, or enjoy a gentle walk through the Botanical Gardens.
Activities on Bora Bora include water activities ranging from scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, and whale watching. Hiking Mt Pahia is ideal for those adventurous, energetic visitors.
The real selling point of a lot of resorts in Bora Bora is that you can dive into the sparkling waters from your bungalow perched over the water. Sure, it comes at a premium, but that kind of experience is truly memorable.
Conclusion: You'd be surprise to hear this but the island of Tahiti actually has more of a variety of outdoor adventures and activities. Bora Bora is mainly about the resort life so you'll be mostly hanging around the property and possibly doing a few excursions like scuba diving.
Best time to visit: Tahiti vs Bora Bora
Tahiti and Bora Bora are within close proximity of each other, which means their climate is fairly similar. Because their location is relatively equatorial, the weather is warm year-round, with the winter months offering the best weather for a beach break.
The summer, between December and March, is wet and humid and hot, while the winter months between May and October are warm and sunny and mild. Winter is therefore high season when prices and crowd numbers are at their peak.
Ideally, a visit during April and November is highly recommended as this is what is considered ‘shoulder season’ when you can enjoy the (mostly) dry weather of the high season with the lower costs and fewer crowds of the low season.
Conclusion: There's no real difference in climate between Bora Bora and Tahiti. Overall, April to November is best but we went in February and we had great weather.
Which Is Better: Tahiti Or Bora Bora
When comparing Tahiti and Bora Bora, choosing the best place to visit will depend on you and the experience you wish to have.
For a more urban, vibrant experience, Tahiti is your best bet. With its great shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, as well as incredible outdoor activities, Tahiti offers a varied experience. In our opinion, this is an island that really shows you more of an authentic side to French Polynesia where you'll get to see and meet locals.
For an exclusive, secluded, and private island retreat, Bora Bora offers sumptuous accommodation and a truly indulgent escape. There are still plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy and exceptional beaches.
Ultimately Bora Bora is about the turquoise lagoon, luxurious overwater bungalows, and getting away from it all.
Which one should you choose? We say, why choose at all?
You’ll be passing through Tahiti to get to Bora Bora, so it’s easy to combine a stay on both islands. This allows you to enjoy the privacy and peaceful island experience of Bora Bora and the lively, festive vibe of Tahiti.
Our recommendation is to stay in Tahiti once you land in Papeete. Use the first few days to explore the island and take a local Tahiti island tour to get oriented and be able to see a slice of authentic island life. This is exactly what what we did in our 2 weeks in French Polynesia.
Both islands offer a variety of family friend hotel options. InterContinental Resort Tahiti offers 2 gorgeous pools your whole family will love as well as on site babysitting if you want a kid free evening at one of their 3 highly rated restaurants! If Bora Bora is your destination, check out Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts. Their bungalows with private pools, mini golf, children's games all steps from an exquisite white sand beach is tough to pass up!
Between the two, Bora Bora has better diving. Tahiti is known for big fish and hard coral. Dive sites are mostly shallow plateaus with drop offs into the ocean. In Bora Bora, you'll be diving mostly in the lagoon. While Bora Bora is mostly for beginners, there are great chances to see rays, reef shark, and large schools of fish.
Tahiti can be done in the bookends of your trip (either start or end) and we recommend 2-3 days. Most likely you'll be staying at a resort in Bora Bora and at a minimum we'd recommend 5-7 days.
The official language is French and Tahitian is spoken by indigenous islanders.
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