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Bora Bora vs The Maldives: What’s the Difference?

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Are you looking to spend your next vacation on an island, away from the busy city life and surrounded by the calm sea? If so, both Bora Bora and the Maldives are great options. But which one is better? Check out this Bora Bora vs. Maldives comparison and make your conclusion.

Are you dreaming of vacationing on pristine waters, calm white sand beaches, and overwater bungalows? The Maldives and Bora Bora are tourist destinations you shouldn’t miss on your travel list.

Bora Bora is a small but undoubtedly beautiful South Pacific island. Conversely, the Maldives is a tropical country resting in the middle of the Indian Ocean that boasts scattered islands full of stunning landscapes and views.

Bora Bora vs The Maldives: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, these dream-worthy destinations are equally attractive and offer unforgettable tourist experiences. However, Bora Bora and the Maldives differ in location, vibes, culture, and travel expenses.

If you are trying to decide on your next travel destination, here is your ultimate Bora Bora vs. the Maldives comparison guide.

Bora Bora and Maldives on the Map

Bora Bora vs Maldives

In terms of location, Bora Bora and the Maldives are entirely different. Here’s where you can locate the Maldives and Bora Bora on the map.

Where is Bora Bora?

Map of Bora Bora

Bora Bora is among the many islands of French Polynesia and lies in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. About 160 miles northwest of Tahiti, the tiny and calm island is surrounded by a crystal blue lagoon and coral reef.

The Bora Bora population is just over 10,000, and most locals follow Christianity. As for the island’s economy, it depends mainly on tourism. But what about the language? Which is the official language in Bora Bora?

The native languages here are Tahitian and French. However, most locals understand English well due to high tourism. This means you won’t have to worry about the language barrier many tourists face when visiting new places.

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Where is the Maldives?

Maldives map
© Ontheworldmap.com

The Maldives is part of a chain of 1,192 small islands in the Indian Ocean at the southwest end of Sri Lanka. Like the Bora Bora island, the Maldives is quiet and peaceful, making it a tourist paradise.

The Maldives’ population is about 515,000, and Islam is the official religion. The country’s primary industry was fishing until the 1970s when tourism became the primary source of income. The Maldives’ language is Dhivehi, but most locals speak English fluently.

If you want privacy and comfort, the Maldives offers just that. With its numerous private islands, you can be sure to enjoy some of the most intimate vacations that exceed even your wildest expectations.

Bora Bora vs the Maldives: Accessibility

When you plan a vacation to any of these islands, your first question might be: Which is better to travel to—Bora Bora or Maldives? The answer might be significantly influenced by where you are traveling from. Each of these islands will be an ideal destination for different people based on where they come from. Let’s see how.

Bora Bora

White sand and ocean view in Matira Beach
Brittney Liu / ViaTravelers

Bora Bora is located in the South Pacific, and United Airlines offers direct flights from San Francisco to the international airport in Tahiti. Bora Bora is a better option for travelers from Australia or the US (especially from the West Coast).

There is further traveling from the international airport of Tahiti, which means you must fly from Tahiti to Bora Bora on a one-hour domestic flight. Alternatively, the Maldives would be more convenient if you travel further to some parts of Asia.

The Maldives

Honeymooners in the Maldives

The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean, so they are the best option if you are traveling from Europe or Africa. However, the location is difficult because no direct flights to the Maldives exist.

For instance, to get to the island, you must take a long flight to Dubai or Hong Kong and then to Malé, the main island and the capital of the Maldives.

From there, you will travel in a hydroplane or a speedboat to your resort island destination, as most Maldives resorts are on their private islands. All of that traveling might take more than 24 hours.

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Bora Bora vs Maldives: Landscapes

Even though both locations can leave you spellbound, there are a few differences in the landscape. As such, some people will prefer one island over the other. Here are the critical landscape differences to help you make that pick;

Bora Bora

Bora Bora landscape

Bora Bora has a striking landscape among the other Tahitian islands with turquoise lagoons, powder-soft white sand, and endless blue skies.

The twin volcanic peaks in the island’s center add drama to the whole landscape, making it one of Earth’s most iconic views. That’s why most luxury hotels face the mountains to give you a full view of the striking natural landscape.

In essence, everything in Bora Bora is stunning. Whether it’s the tall swinging palm trees, clear waters that allow all kinds of water sports, or the warm weather in the region, Bora Bora is a real holiday destination.

The Maldives

Maldives

The Maldives is a string of low-lying sandy islands lined with lush palm trees floating in the Indian Ocean. It’s an archipelago made of approximately 1,200 coral islands in the Indian Ocean.

Each island feels like an abandoned paradise, encircled by a coral reef with a shallow lagoon. The emerald sea gives the most mesmerizing views from resort islands.

Generally, the Maldives consists of submerged sandbanks and reefs. However, some reefs protrude above the clear waters, forming many beautiful islands. High crown reefs protect these islands from continuous sea surf.

No other country across the globe can compete with the Maldives when it comes to coral reefs. It’s pretty rich in coral, making it one of the best destinations for people who love to see its beauty and rich biodiversity.

Bora Bora vs. the Maldives: Accommodation

Bora Bora and the Maldives are known for their luxury resorts and overwater bungalows. So, if you want to experience living in an overwater villa, you won’t fall short of places in either of these locations.

Still, as you will spend most of your time in the room or on the beach, you should consider accommodation options beforehand.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora huts

Bora Bora has some great luxury resorts, but the options are far fewer than in the Maldives. You will find many overwater villas, and as the location is smaller, expect to come across people in the water doing water sports and other activities.

The rates of the villas are higher here because there are fewer resort options, but the luxury is incredible if that makes up for the high cost. Some of the best accommodation options in Bora Bora include:

1. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Image by Booking.com

This luxurious resort overlooks the magnificent turquoise waters of the lagoon on a private beach. It boasts several stunning beachfront villas and over-water bungalows, which offer the best views of Mount Otemanu.

Besides the beautiful views, the resort offers more than enough activities to fill your day. For example, you can enjoy breathtaking activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and paddle boarding.

Even better, you can pamper yourself at the hotel’s waterfront day spa, take a tour to see the stunning views on the main island or enjoy a relaxing catamaran cruise.

2. InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa

InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa
Image by Booking.com

Set on a motu in the lagoon, this resort offers stunning views of Mount Otemanu. It features overwater bungalows and villas and a world-class spa with Thalassotherapy pools.

This five-star resort also features a private beach, an outdoor pool, a fitness room, and a Turkish bath. The private villas built over the water provide each visitor with an excellent view of the undoubtedly breathtaking Bora Bora landscape.

The villas also have air conditioners and large living rooms to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The Bora Bora Motu Mute Airport is just over five miles away from the resort.

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3. Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Image by Booking.com

This magnificent resort is located just a minute’s walk from the beach. It’s built on a private cove on Motu To’opua, giving you the best view of the turquoise water and a vast, white sand beach.

Some of the main highlights of this luxurious hotel include:

  • Stunning water-floating villas
  • A dreamy infinity pool
  • Four restaurants offering unique cuisines
  • Relaxing treatments at the day spa

The guest rooms at this property feature air-conditioning, wooden floors, flat-screen TVs, and a customized pillow menu.

The Maldives

Maldives accommodation

With over 500 resorts, the Maldives has more physical options and more rate choices. Unlike Bora Bora, the Maldives’ resorts are more spread out, with most built on private islands.

Each villa offers more private space if you want to go skinny dipping without encountering your neighbors or a passing boat. This privacy feature makes the Maldives an excellent honeymoon destination for couples who are looking for an entire space for themselves.

The Maldives has many new overwater bungalow resorts with modern features such as glass-bottom floors and pampering activities. Even if you aren’t an avid swimmer, you can do plenty of water sports in the Maldives.

Some of the best resorts in the Maldives include:

1. Meeru Island Resort & Spa

Meeru Island Resort & Spa
Image by Booking.com

One of the best island resorts in the Maldives, Meeru Island Resort & Spa boasts essential luxurious amenities to ensure a comfortable stay.

It features two outdoor swimming pools, a playground for the kids, and free Wi-Fi for all visitors. The rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV, a DVD player, an air conditioner, a hot water kettle, and an iPod docking station.

Regarding customer service, the hotel’s 24-hour front desk is dedicated to catering to your needs and queries at any time. It also offers babysitting services and a business center.

The resort’s private beach offers adventure lovers a chance to engage in thrilling activities such as golfing, biking, snorkeling, and windsurfing. Lastly, you’ll be 23 miles from the Male International Airport.

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2. Paradise Island Resort & Spa

Paradise Island Resort & Spa
Image by Booking.com

This is another resort that offers excellent accommodations in the Maldives. The beautiful overwater bungalows and private villas are set on the Indian Ocean, giving visitors a fantastic view of the vast ocean and evergreen landscape.

Paradise Island Resort & Spa features four restaurants, an outdoor pool, and a spa. It caters to all your needs, from comfort to food and fun activities.

The rooms here have air conditioners, tiled flooring, and even a private terrace, allowing you to relish the beauty of nature right from your room. Other amenities include a satellite TV, a refrigerator, a coffee and tea maker, and a refrigerator. As for accessibility, Malé International Airport is just 20 minutes away on a speedboat.

3. Kagi Maldives Spa Island

Kagi Maldives Spa Island
Image by Booking.com

As we said earlier, the Maldives offers many excellent accommodation choices. Kagi Maldives Spa Island is another great option.

Visitors to this resort can enjoy the services of a fully-stocked bar and a restaurant offering some of the best local and international cuisines. There is also a shared lounge, a garden, and free WiFi for all visitors.

Other attractive features of this 5-star resort include a fitness center, an outdoor swimming pool, and evening entertainment. The rooms are air-conditioned and include a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bathrobes, and a safety deposit box.

There is also a terrace where you can relax, take in some breeze, or sip a glass of exquisite wine.

See Related: Best Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean

Bora Bora vs. the Maldives: Best Times to Visit

The Maldives and Bora Bora have plenty of overwater bungalows because they don’t have a hurricane season. Still, certain seasons are best for vacationing at these places.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora Island, French Polynesia.
marabelo/ Adobe Stock

There is no particularly bad season to visit Bora Bora because the temperatures remain between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit most of the year.

April to November brings more sunshine, while December to February brings more rain. So, if you want to skip the rainy season, the best time to visit is from May to October. However, showers during the rainy season don’t last all day, so they won’t significantly affect your trip.

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The Maldives

Beautiful tropical Maldives island with beach
ROKA Creative/ Adobe Stock

The Maldives experience a true monsoon season, so you must plan your trip according to the weather. The dry season is from November to April, while May brings rain, wind, and storms.

The best months to plan your vacation are from January to March when there is more sunshine and less rain. However, the rain usually won’t pour down all day if you travel in wet weather. You might have to cancel a few adventures, but you’ll still have some good times.

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Bora Bora vs. the Maldives: Activities

Whether you choose Bora Bora or Maldives, you will have a few ways to relax and enjoy the stunning locations. Keep reading to discover what kinds of activities these tropical destinations offer.

Bora Bora

lagoon in a canoe

Bora Bora is full of fun activities, so it’s an ideal location for adventure-loving souls. On the island, you can have outstanding snorkeling and scuba diving experiences. Exploring the lagoon in a canoe is also a must-do on every checklist.

The famous snorkeling points include Coral Gardens and the Bora Bora Lagoonarium. Here, you can interact with blacktip reef sharks and stingrays.

If you have some energy left after the water adventures, you can go hiking in the mountains or explore the interior of Bora Bora, a short boat trip away. You will experience the Bora Bora culture, food, and dancing there on special occasions.

Most of the guides are locals, so you can catch the authentic vibes of the island and take some memorable pictures with the locals. A guided tour is the best way to absorb all the region offers and create unforgettable moments. As such, here are some fantastic tours you can consider:

  • Shark and Snorkeling Safari – Enjoy some Snorkeling moments in Bora Bora’s aquamarine waters. It’s a 2.5-hour safari that lets you glimpse the blacktip reef sharks, moray eels, stingrays, and other tropical fishes.
  • Private Boat Tour with Snorkeling and Drinks – Enjoy the pristine beaches of Bora Bora, and snorkel in the clear waters by booking a private boat tour. This private tour helps you enjoy the best of Bora Bora on a 25-foot catamaran as you sip your favorite drink.
  • Bora Bora by Land and Sea – If you want to see more than just the ocean, this tour gives you just that. It allows you to explore this entire volcanic island, relishing in the panoramic views of its landscape and lush vegetation. You’ll also get to search for sharks and stingrays in the lagoon.

See related: Best Islands to Visit Around the World

The Maldives

Huraa Island - Maldives - View of the great island
Bärbel/ Adobe Stock

In contrast, the Maldives is ideal for relaxing in one place as you take your time to enjoy the dreamy landscape. It is perfect for travelers seeking privacy and viewing active marine life from above and underneath the water. There is also a fair chance you will spot some pods of playful dolphins in the waters.

The Maldives offers many activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, and village trips to experience the Maldives’ culture up close. However, there are few excursions as the islands are spread far apart. But the few that exist are simply breathtaking. Some of these include:

  • 2-Hour Maldives Submarine Tour From Male – If you’ve wondered what the ocean’s depths look like, here is an excellent chance to explore. You can ride in a German-built, air-conditioned passenger submarine, which takes you approximately 100 feet beneath the Maldivian waters. See all that lurks beneath those clear waters.
  • Half-Day Snorkeling – This tour allows you to take in all the beauty of the incredible Maldives. You’ll visit three different reefs, where you can see tropical fish, multicolored coral, and dolphins as they do their stunts. Snorkeling gear, photos, and videos are included in this tour.
  • Sandbank, Snorkeling, and Dolphin Cruise Tour—This tour gives you a whole day to appreciate nature, wildlife, and the beautiful white sand beaches of the Maldives. Primary activities include guided snorkeling, a sandbank trip, a picnic lunch, a canoe ride, and dolphin watching.

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Bora Bora or the Maldives: Nightlife

As you might have guessed, the nightlife of Bora Bora and the Maldives revolves around the resorts. There are several bars at a single resort and some events at least once every week, so there’s no way you will get bored. But which place has the best nightlife, the Maldives or Bora Bora? Let’s find out.

Bora Bora

Overwater bungalows, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
eyetronic/ Adobe Stock

Since most places close at 10:00 p.m., Bora Bora’s nightlife can be best experienced at after-hours bars outside and inside resorts. One such pub is the Lucky House, which is very popular with locals because it stays open late if enough people are inside.

Apart from that, there is always Polynesian Night somewhere on the island. For example, it’s at the Four Seasons Resort on Monday and at the St Regis Resort on Thursday. For a minimal charge, you can enjoy a great show by fire dancers or drinks on the sandy shore.

You can also visit Le Récif, a nightclub, to enjoy dance music. You can show off your singing talents during karaoke or just vibe to the music. The place is packed with people after midnight.

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The Maldives

Subsix Per Aquum Maldives

The bars and nightclubs in the Maldives stay open until 2:00 a.m., and the nighttime activities are fantastic. A visit to the glow-in-the-dark beach at Vaadhoo Island is a magical experience. Bioluminescent microorganisms make the sand around your feet glow. This should definitely be on your bucket list of destinations.

Subsix, an underwater nightclub at the Niyama resort, and 15 Below nightclubs are other islands’ highlights. You will also find coffee bars and clubs in the capital, Malé, but don’t expect to get any alcohol there.

Bora Bora vs Maldives: The Food

If you are a foodie, this part is primarily dedicated to you. You can expect differences in the food on both islands.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora food

Bora Bora’s food is inspired by French cuisine, and the island has some unique restaurants. The menu mostly features seafood, including raw tuna, Mahi-mahi, and bonito.

Because of the French influence, Bora Bora also produces fresh bread and delicious pastries topped with locally grown fruits such as pineapples and coconut.

The Maldives

Maldives-Traditional-Food

Maldivian cuisine mainly consists of curry and coconut-infused dishes that are a must-try. The seafood on the island is grilled on coconut-infused charcoal, giving a distinct flavor to the dishes.

Apart from the local cuisine, you will also find many restaurants that offer international cuisines, including Indian and Asian fare. The food varieties vary in price, making the Maldives an ideal destination for people traveling on a budget. You can also opt for meal plans from your resort to save money on food and spend it on other activities.

See related: Best Caribbean Islands to Visit

Bora Bora vs Maldives: Travel Costs

When you are traveling away from home, one of the major concerns is travel expenses. To help you plan your budget, we have compared Bora Bora vs. Maldives prices. Take a look.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora Island, French Polynesia.
marabelo/ Adobe Stock

Bora Bora is a more remote island than the Maldives, so it costs more to visit. If you plan to spend ten nights on the island, you should expect to pay about $5,000 per person.

The expenses can rise depending on the amount allocated for accommodation, meals, and other necessities. For instance, staying at an overwater bungalow will cost you more.

For travel expenses, you can look for cheap flights to Bora Bora from Skyscanner to help reduce your total vacation costs. Also, having a travel credit card can help you save immensely, as the cards offer bonuses and points you can redeem for such trips.

The Maldives

Huraa Island - Maldives - Aerial view of the harbor exit
Bärbel/ Adobe Stock

The Maldives is less costly than Bora Bora, with charges starting from $2,000 per person for a seven-night stay. Like Bora Bora, the prices will rise depending on your accommodation, meals, and other preferences.

Also, remember that the Maldives has high import taxes on everything, and labor is more costly. This will affect visitors through food prices and other daily necessities that you plan to purchase while visiting.

For cheap flights, visit Skyscanner and lower your travel costs.

Bora Bora vs Maldives: Which is Better?

Tropical island in maldives
andreyshapovalov/ Adobe Stock

Even though both the islands are luxurious with beautiful landscapes, the main difference between Bora Bora and the Maldives lies in the vibes and expenses. If time is a significant concern for you, it’s better to see the locations in terms of accessibility. You may want to spend more time relaxing than flying.

As it’s more convenient to travel to a location closer to you, Bora Bora is an ideal destination for US citizens. However, the Maldives is the way to go if you want to travel further to other parts of Asia.

Whichever island you choose, you can still experience the overwater bungalows that remain on the top of every travel bucket list. When picking between Bora Bora and Maldives, there is no wrong option. Both islands are like paradise on Earth; you will have a fantastic vacation, regardless of location.

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