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How to Visit Bora Bora on a Budget

couples coordinates bora bora on a budget dji spark drone over boat in french polynesia swimming with sharks and stingrays

You can’t. Just don’t go. Kidding! Bora Bora is one of the most expensive destinations on earth and if you emulate the trip we took for our wedding and honeymoon in Bora Bora, you’re sure to spend well beyond what would be deemed a “budget trip.” BUT, you’re in luck. It is 100% possible to visit Bora Bora on a budget! Here’s how:

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Use miles for your flight

The flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti is direct and almost exactly 8 hours. From Tahiti, the flight to Bora Bora is only about 50 minutes. The combined 2 flights typically range anywhere between $1200 – 2000. If you’re traveling from anywhere else in the US or abroad, your flight will likely be both longer and more expensive.

It’s likely that you’ll reserve a trip to Bora Bora for a special occasion (a wedding, honeymoon, anniversary, family reunion, etc.), so the “budget” aspect probably won’t be as severe as when you were 20 years old gallivanting around Europe in a backpack. It’s also likely that you’ll have time to plan and save both money and airline/hotel miles. The best way to visit Bora Bora on a budget is to make sure your flight is free! We used the Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus (which was 100,000 miles at the time) and some Amex miles we had to book 2 free flights for our wedding/honeymoon.

couples coordinates bora bora on a budget

Stay on the main island

The outer island Motu Piti A’au is where you’ll find some of the finest 5-star resorts in the world like the Four Seasons Bora Bora. These resorts have nightly price tags that start in the $1500 price range, so you’ll definitely want to avoid this outer motu and look for accommodation on the main island.

Stay in an Airbnb in Bora Bora

You might be surprised to know that there are plenty of Airbnb options on Bora Bora’s main island. Sign up for Airbnb and we both get travel credit!

We just did a search for Airbnbs on Bora Bora’s main island and found 66 options that fall into the “entire home” category. We prefer our privacy, so 9 times out of 10, we opt for the entire home. Prices on these properties are as cheap as $100/night!! You can literally stay in Bora Bora for 2 weeks for the price of 1 night at Four Seasons Bora Bora. Of course, the quality is massively disparate, but if you’re looking to visit Bora Bora on a budget, there are some amazing options!

Airbnb even offers boats where you can sleep on the boat and cruise around, dive, etc. For those like Alex who get severely seasick, this wouldn’t be the best option, but if you have a strong stomach, it would be a great bucket list experience!

bora bora on a budget fresh mahi mahi rice and vegetables fishing in bora bora

Resurrect the hunter-gatherer lifestyle

Bora Bora is an island that is teeming with fish and other aquatic life. Go out spearfishing (or even just good old fashioned regular fishing) and catch yourself some mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, blue marlin, or barracuda! Then, grab yourself some rice and vegetables from a market and cook yourself an epic dinner at your Airbnb.

bora bora on a budget alex sitting on a boat

Rent a boat vs boat tour

Rather than venturing on an expensive all-day tour around the island of Bora Bora, hire a boat and sail yourself around the island. You can get a small boat for a full day for as cheap as $250 while even a half-day tour to swim with sharks and stingrays could easily cost $300/person. If you’re traveling with a group, rent a decent sized boat and split the cost. You can sail around the island like Captain Cook, catch some mahi-mahi for dinner, and swim with black tip sharks and string rays.

couples coordinates bora bora on a budget free things to do in bora bora

Free things to do in Bora Bora

Good news…the ocean and the mountain are free! You can swim and hike to your heart’s content. Some of the best free things to do in Bora Bora include:

  • Swim in the most beautiful ocean we have ever seen
  • Hike Mount Otemanu to the Mt. Pahia Summit
  • Go fishing (assuming you have a rod, net, or a spear)
  • Lay on the beach and soak in your gorgeous surroundings
  • Do some online yoga on the beach – take your phone to the beach and put on a class for a nice workout
  • Visit Matira Beach which some claim to be the best beach in the world
  • Explore Vaitape – Bora Bora’s main town has shops and markets.
  • Cycle around the main island – the circumference of the island is only 20 miles, so you could easily ride a bike around it in a couple of hours or you could turn it into an all-day excursion and make stops along the way at beaches, restaurants, and art galleries
  • Visit Bora Bora’s art galleries and view some of the local art

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