Traveling to Bora Bora

Traveling to Bora Bora

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beach chairs on sandy beach in Bora Bora

Bora Bora – a place that surpasses all your dreams and expectations! If you’re looking to go to very special place for a special occasion such as honeymoon, anniversary or birthday, Bora Bora is the place to be! The island is very quiet and relaxing, the views are spectacular and one-of-a-kind and the people are very friendly! It’s an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience!

For our 10 year anniversary, my husband and I traveled to Intercontinental Thalasso Resort and Spa in the French Polynesia! This island was even more beautiful than we imagined and the resort we stayed at made this trip even better! If you want to learn more about traveling to Bora Bora, this post is for you! I’m sharing all my tips and suggestions for traveling to this tropical paradise!

sunset over Mt. Otemanu with overwater bungalows

How to Book Your Trip

The number one question I get about our trip is: how did you book your vacation?! It was super easy to book everything online! I recommend booking the resort directly through the resort website, Intercontinental website. Booking through the hotel website directly, regardless of which hotel you choose, will give you the best prices and the most flexibility in case plans change. This resort only has overwater bungalows and several different room options with views and with pools! We booked a Diamond Otemanu Overwater Villa, with breakfast included.  This room had spectacular views of the mountain and gorgeous sunsets. We loved watching the sunset directly from our deck!

A few other resorts we considered and I recommend are Four Seasons Bora Bora and Conrad Bora Bora. We skipped on Four Seasons because the mountain view room we wanted was almost triple the price as the same room at the Intercontinental. The Conrad was also a top contender because it’s a newer and more upgraded resort but the views of the mountain are obscured. Book based on what’s important to you! For us, the views were key!

overwater bungalows at Intercontinental Thalasso resort

mountain view bungalow at Thalasso resort

Booking the Airfare

I booked our airfare to the French Polynesia through Expedia. Flights to Bora Bora leave from two main airports in the US: Los Angeles and San Francisco. Try booking a direct flight to one of these airports, since you’ll also need to do a connecting flight in Tahiti. The less connecting flights, the better! We departed from the Sacramento airport, traveled down to Los Angeles and departed to Tahiti on an 8-hour, overnight flight. From Tahiti, we took another short, 40-minute flight to Bora Bora where the resort met us and transported us by boat to the resort. With the multiple layovers, we traveled for a total of 18 hours before checking in.

When booking, try to avoid any extra-long layovers, especially in Tahiti. It’s a pretty small airport with not much to do and a long layover can be quite tiring!

business class seats on Air Tahiti Nui flying to Tahiti

Traveling with Air Tahiti Nui

We traveled with Air Tahiti Nui and absolutely loved our flight! The service was impeccable and we thoroughly enjoyed the extra leg room and lay-flat seats in business class for the long flight! Upgrading to business class was worth the comfort and the service for us. Another perk we enjoyed was access to the Air Tahiti lounge. The airport in Tahiti is quite small and the lounge was perfect for relaxing and snacking since food and drinks are included. These tickets also include any checked luggage, which a bonus if you travel with a lot of suitcases like us! If you don’t want to spend the money on business class, their premium economy seats are also a really great option!

There are only a handful of airlines that fly to Tahiti including Air Tahiti Nui, United and Air France. Qantas recently cancelled their flights to Bora Bora but they may bring them back soon! The connecting flight between Tahiti and Bora Bora is run by Air Tahiti (not to be confused with Air Tahiti Nui). This local airline offers small planes that can take you to any number of small islands in the French Polynesia. Once you land in Tahiti, you will need to collect all your luggage and recheck it with the local airline.

Air Tahiti Nui business lounge in Tahiti

How Much Does it Cost? 

Traveling to Bora Bora is definitely not cheap by any means but it’s the perfect place to visit for a special occasion! Plan to spend anywhere from $18k to $25k and up. The pricing all depends on the season, the resort, the food and the airfare. We booked a more expensive room for the beautiful views but there are less expensive bungalows which face the beach and also have great views! Traveling in certain months can also increase or decrease the price.

  • Be prepared to spend a good chunk of your travel budget on airfare! Getting to the French Polynesian islands is not cheap because it’s an out-of-the-way location and only a handful of airlines fly there. Economy is cheaper but since it’s a long flight, I recommend booking at least premium economy with Air Tahiti Nui for a comfortable flight!
  • The food is also a big expense. We had breakfast included with our room reservation, which was huge bonus ($100 for 2 people per day). We spent around 300 to 400 a day for food and drinks, including a bottle of wine with dinner. The food is reasonably priced but it can add up quickly! This resort had several amazing restaurants to choose from and great room service as well!

filet mignon with potatoes and garnishes at Corail Intercontinental

breakfast at the Intercontinental Thalasso

What’s the Best Time to Travel to Bora Bora?

High season in Bora Bora is considered May through October, when there is the least amount of rain fall. We traveled at the beginning of November, which is considered the very start of the low season in Bora Bora. The island is beautiful any time of year though! The temperature is an average 80 to 85 F year-round and the water stays really warm, too! During our stay, the weather was very nice and warm, even getting uncomfortably hot some days. We only had a few short showers and one afternoon of rain through out the seven days we were there. The showers lasted for about 20 minutes and then the sun was back out! The quick showers were actually a great relief from the burning sun and the rainy afternoon was perfect for a trip to the spa!

pool and mountain view at Intercontinental Thalasso resort

Testing for Travel

Currently, Bora Bora is requiring all visitors to take a special test within 72 hours prior the country. The required test was actually quite hard to find, especially with the necessary fast turnaround time needed! We visited My Medical Doctor Group in San Francisco. They charge $450 per person and that includes a travel certificate and guaranteed 24-hour turnaround time. There is also another facility that offers the test in Los Angeles called Good Life Medical Services. Their fee is slightly lower at $250 but they only offer 48-hour turnaround time for test results at this time. If you’re having a hard time finding the test in your area, try contacting the French Consulate for more information. You can also plan to arrive in San Francisco or Los Angeles a few days before your flight to Tahiti and take the test there.

Please double check with your testing facility to make sure the test you are taking is approved!! Here is the approved list from the Tahitian government. If your test was conducted more than 72 hours prior to departure, or you took the wrong test, you will not be allowed to travel. The Tahitian government is also requiring all travelers to self-test 4 days before leaving. This self-test is provided to you upon arrival at the airport and super easy to complete! The resort handled the delivery of the test, too.

beach loungers by lagoon in Bora Bora

Must-Haves for Bora Bora

Before hitting the airport, make sure to grab some of these items to make your trip to Bora Bora amazing!

  • Sunscreen: I cannot stress this enough but bring wayyy more sunscreen than you think you need! The sun in this tropical paradise is no joke and you can easily burn in the span of 15 minutes. We brought 3 bottles of spray sunscreen and were out by day 3! The resort does sell great sunscreen but it’s not cheap. One small bottle of natural sunscreen was almost $40 at the resort shop.
  • Aloe Vera: following up on my last item, aloe vera will help soothe your sun-kissed skin after a long day out in the water!
  • Bug Spray: we fortunately didn’t have almost any bugs but this situation changes with the seasons. Some seasons have a lot of mosquitos.
  • Outlet Convertors: this resort and most places in the French Polynesia have European-style outlets that do not fit American plugs. Our bungalow only had 2 outlets that worked with our chargers/wires and we brought just one convertor. One of the outlets was in the living room area and one in the bathroom, although the one in the bathroom wasn’t strong enough to work with my straightening iron. I recommend bringing at least 2!
  • Pool Floaty: this is a fun extra to have! I bought this cute pineapple floaty on Amazon (affiliate link) and then inflated it once at the resort. It was great to float around in the water around our bungalow. We ended up giving it away to our neighbors when we were leaving!
  • Underwater Phone Pouch: also another great extra to have! Bora Bora is so great for snorkeling and diving, you’ll want to capture some photos and videos on your phone! These waterproof pouches (affiliate link) worked very well!
  • Water Shoes: if you love to snorkel, don’t forget your water shoes! The shores do have sharp pieces of coral and shells and there are occasional sharp pieces in the soft sand, too.

pool and Sands restaurant in the evening at Intercontinental Bora Bora

What Activities Are Available?

Bora Bora is perfect for both relaxing and for having fun! We personally enjoyed relaxing at our resort, swimming and snorkeling almost every day. Our resort had very impressive corals right on the property and adjacent to it. There is soo much to do in terms of activities on the island! Our resort offered paddle boards and canoes free of charge. They also offered paid tours for snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, boat tours, helicopter tours and so much more. You can even rent a boat for a full or half day, with meals included. And, if you want to check out the main town in Bora Bora, the resort has a boat shuttle that leaves multiple times a day to the main island.

Our resort also had an amazing spa with a variety of treatments and outdoor spa area, too! The spa is a great option to relax and unwind!

paddle boarding in Bora Bora at Intercontinental

More Tips for Traveling!

Here are few more random tips if you’re traveling to Bora Bora and want to have the best experience!

  • Shop at the Duty Free: make a stop at the Duty Free store at the airport if you enjoy alcoholic beverages. It’s in the arrivals part of the airport, when you first get off the plane. There is only one duty free for arrivals! (There are a lot more shops in the departures terminal) They have a small but good selection of wines and liquors to choose from. Alcohol was more expensive at the resort itself. Most drinks are around $18 to $25 and wine can run around $40 for a half-bottle and $100 and up for a full-size bottle.
  • Sit on the left side of the plane (facing forward towards the front of the plane) when flying from Tahiti to Bora Bora, or on the right side when flying out. You’ll get to see the most beautiful aerial views of the island as you’re arriving or taking off! The connecting flight doesn’t have assigned seats since it’s a small plane so you’ll need to get in line early if you want to snag the best seat!
  • Bring a change of clothes: once you arrive in Tahiti, the temperature change is pretty dramatic. It’s very warm and humid in the open-air airport and the air can get quite stuffy when waiting in check-in lines! I like to bring a change of clothes and shoes to get more comfortable right away, especially after traveling overnight for 8 hours!
  • Be prepared to take lots of photos: even if you hate taking pictures, you’ll be taking them left and right in Bora Bora! Everything is so beautiful and magical! Clear out some space on your phone, or make sure to bring a few extra SD cards for your camera!

view of bora bora from the plane

The People of Bora Bora

The one thing we absolutely loved about traveling to Bora Bora was the people! Most of the resort staff were native French Polynesians and everyone was so nice, polite and welcoming! All the staff speak English but the official language of Bora Bora is French. If you studied French in school, brushing up on your language skills is not a bad idea when coming here! We also had the chance to learn a little bit of the native Polynesian language while we were in Bora Bora. The staff is more than happy to teach any of the guests a few simple phrases or words!

beach and beach chairs at Thalasso resort with mountain views

Any time of the year is a great time to travel to Bora Bora! And, for any occasion! When booking your trip, just keep in mind the things that are most important to you, such as views, location, activities, cost and food. Each resort has something to offer and you can’t make a wrong choice! If you have any questions or want additional information about traveling to Bora Bora, leave them in the comment section below! Safe travels to Bora Bora, paradise on Earth!

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