Bora Bora or the Maldives?

Posted by TripMapper | 22nd May 2023

Bora Bora and the Maldives are tropical island destinations which sit at the top spot of travel bucket lists for both honeymooners and once-in-a-lifetime family vacations. While they share similarities in terms of offering spectacular turquoise lagoons, stunning underwater worlds, and romantic overwater bungalows, they differ greatly in terms of location, scenery, activities and cultural influences. If you're deciding between Bora Bora and the Maldives, our simple compare and contrast should help you out.

Once you're set on the destination use the TripMapper app to plan your travel itinerary and keep track of your travel expenses!

Bora Bora vs. The Maldives: Location

Bora Bora and the Maldives are both renowned tropical destinations known for their stunning natural beauty and pristine beaches. Bora Bora is an island in French Polynesia, located in the South Pacific Ocean, while the Maldives is a nation comprised of 1192 islands located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka.

The Maldives is more readily accessible from Europe, Asia and Africa while Bora Bora is easier to reach for travellers based in the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Average flight times to Bora Bora (to Faa’a International Airport in Papeete):

  • London - Papeete: from 23 hours+ (indirect)
  • Paris - Papeete: from 22 hours+ (indirect)
  • Los Angeles - Papeete: 8 hours
  • Sydney - Papeete: 9 hours
  • Auckland - Papeete: 5 hours

Upon arrival at Faa'a International Airport in Papeete, you'll board a 45-minute flight to Bora Bora.

Average flight times to the Maldives (to Velana International Airport in Malé):

  • London - Malé: 10 hours 30 minutes
  • Paris - Malé: 13+ hours (indirect)
  • Los Angeles - Malé: 27+ hours (indirect)
  • Sydney - Malé: 16+ hours (indirect)
  • Auckland - Malé: 19+ hours (indirect)

Upon arrival, you'll have to arrange transportation to your resort which might be a speedboat ride or a seaplane.

Your departure location could be a significant deciding factor on which destination you visit, not only for the time in the skies but also the hit on your travel budget!

Bora Bora vs. The Maldives: Weather

Although Bora Bora and the Maldives experience different seasonality; both destinations can be visited year-round.

French Polynesia benefits from fantastic weather all year round but the best time to visit Bora Bora is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. Visitors can expect plenty of sunshine, minimal rainfall and warm temperatures. If you prefer fewer tourists and are willing to accept a slightly higher chance of rainfall, you may consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (April and November).

As with Bora Bora, the temperature in the Maldives doesn't change much through the year with most days seeing highs of around 30°C(86°F), but there are big fluctuations in rainfall, humidity and sunshine. With a chain of islands extending 500 miles there is some variation in weather depending on where you are in the country. The best time of year to go to the Maldives is from January to April, when the climate is drier and it's less humid. This is when the northern islands in particular see most sunshine and occasional showers.

Bora Bora vs. The Maldives: Culture

The cultures of Bora Bora and the Maldives are distinct due to their geographical locations and historical influences. Bora Bora's culture reflects its Polynesian heritage. Tahitians today have inherited a rich, expressive culture from their ma’ohi ancestors, with a strong emphasis on dance, music, and traditional art.

The island environment and the surrounding seas have shaped the Maldivian culture and traditions. Their music and dance display strong influences of East Africa, Arabia and the Indian subcontinent.

Bora Bora vs. The Maldives: Accommodation

Luxury beach resorts are abundant in Bora Bora and the Maldives for ultimate relaxation and escapism!

Bora Bora's bright turquoise lagoon creates a serious ‘wow’ factor on arrival. Staying in a stunning overwater bungalow is the ultimate island experience. Have an in-villa massage, enjoy a cocktail or two on your private deck and then take a few steps down into the ocean to take a quick dip in the warm waters below. Simply idyllic!

For those who don’t have a huge travel budget but still want to experience true luxury the Maldives offers a wider range of resorts and hotels than Bora Bora and has the more affordable accommodation options of the two destinations.

Bora Bora vs. The Maldives: Activities

The Maldives is known for its overwater luxe and underwater paradise bursting with marine life. Despite being beautiful above the water with its white sand beaches, rustling palms and a seemingly endless ocean, the Maldives is arguably more astonishing beneath it. The coral islands in the Maldives rank amongst the best dive destinations in the world with the warm waters remaining clear throughout the year. Top dive sites include Lankanfinokhu to see manta rays and the Hanifaru lagoon which between June and September is one of the best places to spot whale sharks.

Bora Bora offers adventure both on land and sea, which gives it a slight edge for the more adventurous traveller. Snorkel in the blue lagoon amongst the breathtaking coral gardens, jump in a jeep to take in the island sights or dust off your hiking boots and revel in the breathtaking views when climbing Bora Bora's highest peak, Mount Otemanu.

Bora Bora vs. The Maldives: Food

Bora Bora and the Maldives offer an incredible range of eateries where local and international cuisines complement exceptional fine dining experiences.

The Maldivian cuisine is predominantly influenced by South Indian, Sri Lankan, and Arabic flavours. The traditional Maldivan cuisine is heavily based on fish like tuna, grouper, and snapper and coconut used in various forms such as coconut milk, grated coconut, and coconut oil. Traditional Maldivian dishes include garudhiya, a fish broth served with rice and mas huni, a combination of shredded fish, coconut, and onions.

Fish is also a strong staple in Polynesian cuisine. They are often eaten raw, sometimes marinated in lime juice and coconut milk. The breadfruit plant, the coconut, varieties of bananas and various root vegetables like taro make up the basis of Bora Bora's cuisine resulting in a unique fresh and tropical cuisine style.

Bora Bora vs. The Maldives: The cost

Both the Maldives and Bora Bora are expensive luxury destinations but travelling to the Maldives can be a more cost-effective option primarily due to the wider range of accommodation available.

Ultimately, Bora Bora and the Maldives are both beautiful tropical islands so the choice between them depends on your personal preferences and your trip budget. Hopefully we've helped you make your choice, so what are you waiting for - it's time to plan your itinerary! Use TripMapper as your tool to create your itinerary and stay on track of your trip expenses. Available on the web or mobile.

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