The beauty of a vacation in Bora Bora is the remoteness of the location. Tucked away in the Society Islands in French Polynesia, this island is about as far-flung as you can get – no matter where you’re coming from. Wondering how to get to there? Look no further.
We’ll cover the ins and outs of travel to Bora Bora to help you plan your dream vacation in this magnificent and sought-after destination.
Read more about French Polynesia:
How to find the best travel deals:
- Once you arrive in Bora Bora, you might need a car rental so make sure you check the best rates at RentalCars.com!
- A great place to find a hotel, resort, or home rental is Booking.com and if you’re a Genius member, you can also save another 10-15%.
- Be sure that you are covered! Learn more about travel insurance.
Here’s what we’re covering:
How To Travel To Bora Bora
We’ll start by saying that when considering how to get to Bora Bora, it’s important to accept that it is rarely simple, but always worth it. We mentioned the remoteness of the destination which of course makes it trickier and more costly to get to Bora Bora than other island destinations.
But once on the island, you’ll be well-rewarded with the bluest water you’ve ever seen, stretches of impossibly white beaches, and lush tropical vegetation. Once you’re swaying in your hammock on your private over-water deck you won’t even remember or care about the travel to get there.
How to Fly to Bora Bora
There are no direct flights available to Bora Bora. This holds true for most of the islands in French Polynesia. Simply put, the landmasses just aren’t big enough to accommodate the kind of runways needed to land large passenger jets.
So instead, all international flights to these islands land in Tahiti at Faa’a International Airport (PPT) near Papeete. From there, you can transfer by charter flight, helicopter, or scheduled flight to Bora Bora. The flight is only around 50-minutes and during peak seasons, there can be up to eight or nine Bora Bora-bound flights per day.
The last flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora with Air Tahiti leaves at 17:30, so if your flight arrives in Tahiti in the late afternoon or evening, you may have to spend a night here before transferring to your resort on the island.
While it isn’t possible to fly direct to Bora Bora, it is possible to fly direct to Tahiti and connect from there. This is the shortest and simplest way to fly to Bora Bora. Whichever route you take, there’s no way of reaching the island in fewer than two flights.
How To Get To Bora Bora From The United States
If you’re coming from the United States, many airlines fly direct to Tahiti (PPT):
- United Airlines offers direct flights from San Francisco three times per week (Tue, Thu, Sun)
- Air Tahiti flies direct from Los Angeles six days a week with multiple flights per day
- Air France flies direct to Tahiti from Los Angeles up to four times a week
- FrenchBee is a new low cost carrier that flies direct to Tahiti from San Francisco 3 times a week Wed, Fri, Sun)
Below is a list of the average flight times to Tahiti from major cities across the world:
- 22 hours from Paris, France
- 8 hours from Los Angeles, USA
- 8 hours from San Francisco, USA
- 5 hours from Honolulu, USA
- 11 Hours from Tokyo, Japan
- 12 and a half hours from Shanghai, China
- 11 and a half hours from Hong Kong, China
- 9 hours from Auckland, New Zealand
- 11 hours from Santiago, Chile
Once you land in, you’ll transfer by boat to your hotel or resort. Air Tahiti offers a free boat transfer, but most hotels and resorts will come to collect their guests. These boats will be lined up outside the airport in Bora Bora and are all clearly marked with the name of the hotel or resort.
If you’re looking to fly to Bora Bora on a budget, there are ways to get here cheap. Otherwise…
FRENCH POLYNESIA GUIDE
Before you plan your trip to Bora Bora, make sure you read this all-around guide for French Polynesia.
How To Get To Bora Bora By Sea
Because of the remoteness of the island, it isn’t possible to reach Bora Bora direct by sea either. You would need to fly to Tahiti and then make your way to the islands by boat, or you could take a cruise to Tahiti which then takes in the other island. This option will not only be costly but will require a significant amount of travel time.
A great way to experience the best of French Polynesia is to take an inter-island cruise. Papeete, in Tahiti, is effectively the gateway for cruises as it is for flights, with various cruise ships setting off to explore the islands.
The most luxurious of which is Paul Gauguin Cruises. Carrying over 300 passengers, this modern ship is a popular option. The ship has stylish cabins, an outdoor pool, and a spacious deck.
For something a bit smaller than a traditional cruise liner, Windstar Cruises offers the chance to explore the island chain in a more romantic and intimate way. Think billowing white sails and casual elegance.
It’s also possible to fly to Hawaii and cruise to Bora Bora with Norwegian Cruise Lines or set out from the West Coast of the United States on a longer cruise, taking in the Hawaiian Islands too.
Of course, there are plenty of cruise options to choose from if you’ve got the time and the budget to spare.
How To Get To Bora Bora From Tahiti
Now that you understand that it’s not actually possible to fly directly from an international destination to Bora Bora, how exactly can you get to there?
In 90% of the cases, it really starts with the island of Tahiti which has the capital of Papeete and also Faa’a International Airport (PPT).
The simple answer is that you’ll be flying Air Tahiti. They’re the only operator that flies inter-island and so you’ll be effectively looking at round trip flights from Tahiti (PPT) to Bora Bora (BOB).
If you’re looking to hop around to other islands which is what we did in our 2 week Islands of Tahiti itinerary, keep reading!
Air Tahiti Passes
If you are planning to see more than one island on your trip, then it’s definitely worth checking out the various Air Tahiti Passes on offer. These great value passes allow you to experience the Society Islands at an attractive price.
A further extension can offer you the chance to explore further out, including the Austral Islands and parts of the Marquesas Islands too.
Each pass has two classes, the S or Y class which offers up to 50lbs (23kg) baggage allowance, while the Z class includes up to 100lbs (46kg) of baggage.
You can see all or just a couple of the islands listed for each pass, and in some cases, you’re able to switch up the order in which you visit the islands. You must visit at least two islands, and you can only visit each island once.
The two main passes you want to look at are:
- The Bora Bora Pass – This pass allows you to visit Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, as well as Bora Bora and Maupiti.
- Bora-Tuamotu Pass – Explore the Society Islands as well as the beautiful atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago.
Activities to Check Out While You’re In Bora Bora
When you’re in Bora Bora, make sure that you check out these bookable excursions. You want to make sure you have these booked beforehand so they don’t sell out and you can lock in cheaper prices than what the resorts offer.
- Experience what Bora Bora is known for with this half day tour of the beautiful coral reefs and lagoons!
- Land adventures more your speed? Check out the gorgeous Bora Bora Mountains on this ATV excursions.
- No trip is complete without a full belly of the local cuisine! How does a sunset cruise with dinner sound?
Frequently Asked Questions
To get to Tahiti, United Airlines or FrenchBee are the cheapest to get to Tahiti (PPT). From Tahiti, you will have to fly Air Tahiti. The best way to search for the cheapest flight is to use a tool like Skyscanner.
Once you’re in Bora Bora, you’ll be taking Air Tahiti flights to other islands. Just be careful to pay attention to which islands you can go to from Tahiti. In some cases, you may have to go back to the hub of Tahiti (PPT) and hop to another island from there.
The truth is, there’s really never a bad time to go to Bora Bora but if you had to choose, the most popular time of the year is May to October. Make sure to read the full guide on the best time to travel to Bora Bora.
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