Asia & Oceania Travel  --  Island Life

Bora Bora on a Budget

How to Visit This Beautiful Island Without Breaking the Bank

Location: Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Air Tahiti is budget friendly
Air Tahiti is the island to island option

Our two month visit to French Polynesia is now into it’s fifth week, and we recently hopped over to Bora Bora for five days. Despite how much we are loving living on the island of Mo’orea, we felt we needed to see what the fuss is all about on Bora Bora. But we travel on a pretty strict budget, so we approached this excursion in a thrifty way. Here are our Bora Bora on a Budget recommendations.

The island and motus
Bora Bora

Why We Travel Budget Friendly

Because we have designed a life for ourselves that includes long-term travel, staying on budget is critical. The only way we can sustain long term travel on our retired income is to travel inexpensively. Although it looks attractive to spend a night in a $1200 over the water bungalow, we know through experience and research, we can spend twenty nights in our Airbnb on Mo’orea for the same price.

Blue Bora Bora Budget friendly beach
Bora Bora

To some people, a once in a life time visit to an over the water bungalow might be a dream come true, but I would like to convince more people to recognize how traveling in a budget friendly way will give you deep, authentic and meaningful travel experiences. I am living proof of that.

So, if your goal is that Instagram selfie on an over priced over the water bungalow, then this blog is not for you. Otherwise, please read on…

When to Travel

We always try to travel to popular destinations in the low or shoulder season. Our two months in French Polynesia is the low season, also called the rainy season. Although it poured rain for the first four days we were here in mid-January, the weather has been great ever since.

Bora Bora off season is budget friendly
Great weather

This is also one of the reasons we love Hawaii in September and October; no crowds, great rates and good weather. Off peak travel is the way to go when you are on a budget.

Where to Stay

We researched, for purposes of this blog, costs at a few of the over the water bungalows on Bora Bora. They range from $800 to more than $2000 a night, depending on the resort, the season and the location.

Bora Bora has a nice selection of Airbnbs under $200, and if you stay long term you can even find some closer to $100.

Budget friendly hotels
Hotel Royal Bora Bora

We spent four nights at the Royal Bora Bora, a really nice and comfortable hotel in the Matira Beach area on the south part of the main island. We paid $180 per night (off peak) for this property that included a fantastic private beach, pool and breakfast included. Our room was big and clean and comfortable with a nice lanai that overlooked a garden. And the staff was fantastic. We highly recommend this property, which was also within walking distance to a grocery store and four restaurants.

Breakfast included helps with budget
Omelet for breakfast at Royal Bora Bora

Things to Do

On Land

Touring the island by land requires a vehicle of some kind. Here are some options for your consideration as you think about Bora Bora on a Budget;

Guided Private Tour 4WD Land Tour $650

Guided Group Tour 4WD Half Day $75

ATV Private Tour $1100

Avis Rental Car – many options starting at about $120 per day

Scooter Rental available from many locations including Avis about $40 per day

Bike our choice. For $17 per person we rented bikes from our hotel and spent half a day riding.

Budget friendly cycling
Cycling on Bora Bora

On Sea

Getting wet is one of the top things visitors to Bora Bora like to do. Here are some options so you can compare costs;

Whale Watching (seasonal)$200

Full Day Snorkle with Lunch $140

Rent Your Own Boat – multiple options of boats and prices starting at $180 for half day

Sunset Sail $300

Snorkle at Public Beach with your own gearour choice. We brought our snorkel set with us that we purchased on Mo’orea for $60 and we have already gotten our money’s worth.

Self serve snorkeling is budget friendly
Snorkling at the public beach

And Way Up High

Birdseye view of Mo'orea
Our view from Air Tahiti as we left Mo’orea

If you want to see it from above…well if you flew here on Air Tahiti, which you probably did, you have already had the best point of view. But for your consideration, here are a few more;

Parasailing starting at $250 per couple

Helicopter Tour $200 per person

Hike to the top of the mountainour choice. There are several hikes on the island, and depending where you are staying many are accessible from resorts and hotels. We enjoyed our hike and it was free!

Hiking is free and good for you
On the mountain top

Things to Eat

To save money, Airbnb is a great option for the ability to cook your own meals. There are only a handful of grocery stores on the island, the biggest on is a Super U in Vaitape. Other ways to eat on a budget include;

Hotel with Breakfast included – our choice. The Hotel Royal Bora Bora offered an incredible full breakfast every morning included in our room. It kept us full throughout the day and then we went out to dinner in the evening.

Take Out food from Grocery and Gas Station

“Snack” which is French Polynesia Fast Food

One splurge meal not budget friendly
We had one delicious dinner out
And a couple less expensive options.

Bora Bora on a Budget

Before visiting the beautiful Polynesian islands take some time to consider what is the most important for you, and create a budget to make it happen. Whatever your budget is, Bora Bora is available to you, with a little pre-planning and prioritizing. Bora Bora on a Budget – enjoy the beautiful South Pacific.

Sealife spotting can be free

Thanks for reading Bora Bora on a Budget. We love it when you pin and share our blog posts.

See our blog about The Flavors of French Polynesia

See this week’s top performing pin Mo’orea Musings Week One

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  • Reply Wendy

    Bora Bora looks gorgeous! And while I am tempted by the over water bungalow, I agree with you that traveling on a budget allows much longer travel. Thanks for all the great tips!

    February 18, 2022 at 1:47 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      Thank you Wendy!

      February 18, 2022 at 8:16 pm
  • Reply Coralie

    You’ve made Bora Bora seem much more affordable with these great tips! I love the sound of some of those Airbnbs and would love to try out some snorkelling in Bora Bora.

    February 18, 2022 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Elle Burne

    Oh. My. God. This is the post I didn’t know I needed! I was just looking at Bora Bora the other day but ruled it out as it was too expensive… airbnbs? Hell yes! Saved!

    February 18, 2022 at 8:06 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      Take a look at Mo’orea too…we really like Mo’Orea.

      February 18, 2022 at 8:15 pm
  • Reply Angela

    I absolutely loved reading this post as Bora Bora is at the top of my bucket list after watching couples retreat! I so want to stay at St Regis in an overwater bungalow but the prices are toe-curlingly expensive. Your budget option was a real eye-opener – same sea, same beach, decent breakfast and at a fraction of the cost! Thank you for highlighting an alternative way of spending time on Bora Bora without re-mortgaging the house!

    February 19, 2022 at 1:36 am
    • Reply Laureen

      I hope you can go. We really liked our sweet little hotel.

      February 19, 2022 at 8:51 am
  • Reply Linda (LD Holland)

    Bora Bora is definitely on our travel wish list. So great to get tips on how to save some money. We like to save on some things so we can splurge on others. Good to know there are some good prices for AirBnbs. On our current travels we are finding AirBnb prices that are higher than luxury hotels! I love the idea of biking and hiking to give you different views of the area at far less money.

    February 19, 2022 at 7:40 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Thanks Linda. I think you would love Mo’orea…I’ll have a post about it soon. Less expensive and just as pretty.

      February 19, 2022 at 8:50 am
  • Reply Amy

    Great ideas for visiting on a budget. We’ve been considering travel to this area for years but it seems so expensive. But with your recommendations maybe we’ll get there… and bike!

    February 19, 2022 at 5:23 pm
  • Reply Sue

    This looks amazing! I have never been to the Pacific Islands but it is definitely on my list. I completely agree with you about the whole budget thing. Every time I look into places like this I get fantasies about staying in one of those over-water bungalows. Would then panic at the price & end up in an apartment somewhere way cheaper…& probably have a much better time doing it. I once went to Hawaii with my family & they booked a very expensive hotel for a “once in a lifetime trip”. I loved being with them but couldn’t understand the expense as I could have got 10 other trips out of that! 🙂

    February 20, 2022 at 12:41 am
  • Reply Kathy

    Thanks Laureen, You’re awesome!

    February 24, 2022 at 8:52 pm
  • Reply Anita

    Bora Bora looks like a fantastic place! And also expensive. Thanks for the budget travel tips! They are always helpful, especially for expensive places!

    February 26, 2022 at 2:43 am
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