Maldives vs Bora Bora – Which Island Should You Choose?

Last Updated: April 12th, 2024

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When we imagine the epitome of a tropical getaway, we cannot help but picture islands like The Maldives in the Indian Ocean and Bora Bora in the South Pacific Ocean, which offer the utmost luxury.

From overwater villas, crystal clear water, and glorious weather, both islands make fantastic options for a memorable vacation, but of course, the hardest part is choosing which one.

While you might assume both islands offer the same things, many vital differences make them suitable for various holidaymakers. So, if you are planning the trip of a lifetime and are still considering which tropical island best suits you, stick around for this in-depth and honest comparison, which will unveil all aspects of both.

The Maldives Vs. Bora Bora: Which is The Better Choice?

If you’re considering visiting The Maldives or Bora Bora, it is guaranteed to be the trip of a lifetime. From an ultra-luxurious vacation in The Maldives to explore the world-famous underwater world and eat Michelin star food to visiting Bora Bora with its magical landscape, cultural heritage, and tranquil setting, both islands have unique characteristics.

Personally, I would venture to Bora Bora, French Polynesia to explore the off-the-beaten-path destination, even if it’s harder to get to. Still, if this is your first luxury getaway, the Maldives cannot be beaten as a first-time destination.

Maldives-Island-In-Indian Ocean

Firstly, before we dive headfirst into the various elements, let’s look at this quick overview to give you an idea of the main differences between The Maldives vs. Bora Bora.

A Brief Overview & Comparison: Maldives Vs. Bora Bora

Maldives

  • Closer to the equator (always warm)
  • A variety of islands to choose from
  • Easily reachable for Europeans
  • Ultra-modern and luxurious villas

Bora Bora

  • Not as accessible as The Maldives
  • A more intimate setting
  • More traditional luxury accommodation
  • Dramatic landscapes

In truth, both islands are out of this world, and while they are among the most beautiful travel destinations – and, let’s face it, influencers’ dream destinations, there are a few apparent differences that set them apart.

The Maldives is a very accessible archipelago that attracts plenty of tourists from all over the world, and since there are many international flights, a trip here is relatively easy to plan. On the other hand, Bora Bora is much more isolated in French Polynesia; believe it or not, the island does not receive international flights.

While ease of access is significant for planning any trip, many other differences exist. Bora Bora offers a more memorable and intimate vibe since it is harder to get to and boasts a traditional setting, which is fantastic for those wanting to soak up the local culture. In contrast, The Maldives is a destination with some of the world’s finest hotels, culinary options overseen by Michelin-star chefs, and impeccable service. Did we mention that The Maldives is flat, while Bora Bora boasts extinct volcanic peaks to explore?

Bora-Bora-Island-In-French-Polynesia

As you can see, both islands have a lot going for them, but if you seek ultra-luxury, some of the best culinary experiences on earth, and year-round warm weather, Bora Bora might not be the right choice. On the other hand, if you prefer something a little less ‘over the top,’ more laid-back luxury, and with more of a dramatic and diverse landscape, The Maldives might let you down.

So, sit back, relax, and unveil the many more critical differences between The Maldives and Bora Bora.

The Maldives vs Bora Bora: A Quick Guide to Choosing

The Maldives Mini Guide

  • Location Size – 8km2 (about the area of Athens, Georgia)
  • Population – 521,021
  • Rainy Season – May – October
  • High Season – November – April
  • Top Sights – Male (The capital), Hulhumale artificial beach, underwater coral gardens, the diverse marine life
  • Major Airports – Velena International Airport

The Maldives is an excellent destination for underwater adventures since it is a haven for marine life. There is no shortage of water-based activities in the Maldives, and the crystal clear, tepid waters make it a top choice for underwater enthusiasts. Since the islands are flat, there won’t be any hiking or viewpoints here, so it is worth knowing that The Maldives caters mainly to beach and deep-sea lovers.

In addition, the population is much larger than in Bora Bora, so the atmosphere is bustling, especially in the capital of Male. As you can see, one of the best things is that it has an international airport, so it is effortless to get there – vital if you ask us.

The-Boats-In-Bora-Bora-Island

Bora Bora Mini Guide

  • Location Size – 55km2 (about the area of Chicago O’Hare airport)
  • Population – 10,605
  • Rainy Season – November to April
  • High Season – May – October
  • Top Sights – Mount Otemanu, Matira Beach, Bora Bora Lagunarium
  • Major Airports – Bora Bora Regional Airport

Not many realize just how small Bora Bora is; it is just one island compared to the various islands that make up The Maldives. While a resort can have an island all to itself in The Maldives, Bora Bora is much more intimate, has limited hotels, and is ideal for a tranquil getaway and a taste of French Polynesian culture.

The seasons on both islands are opposite, which may impact your decision and your overall vacation expectations; plus, if you are seeking an island with a variety of activities and landscapes, Bora Bora is the one.

The 5 Key Differences Between the Maldives vs Bora Bora

So, what are the key differences between The Maldives vs. Bora Bora, we hear you ask? Well, there are plenty, and listed below are some of the most common things you will want to compare between the two tropical destinations.

How do the beaches and the landscape compare?

The Maldives: Beaches and landscape

Of course, when choosing a vacation destination, it is essential to know what the beaches and landscape are like since you will most likely spend time relaxing, swimming, and embarking on outdoor adventures. The Maldives is an excellent choice for those who love to snorkel, scuba dive, swim and go on boat tours and it is an archipelago made up of over 1200 islands, allowing for plenty of adventures.

The beaches here are the typical white, soft sand beaches you’ve most likely dreamt about, giving it a plus point over Bora Bora. That being said, The Maldives is very flat; its highest point is just 2m (6.5ft) – yes, you read that right. It is one of the lowest-lying countries on earth, which also means it is susceptible to sinking.

Couple-Snorkeling-In-Water-Of-Maldives

Bora Bora: Beaches and landscape:

Bora Bora is one island in the South Pacific Ocean, compared to the Maldives, which comprises over 1,000. It is widely renowned for being one of the most beautiful islands in the world, which draws so many tourists to its shores, but the beaches you will visit are a little different from that of The Maldives. Bora Bora has coral sand beaches, which are not as soft as The Maldives’ white sand but still considered picturesque and incredibly beautiful.

One of the main advantages of choosing Bora Bora over The Maldives is that Bora Bora has plenty of mountains to explore, with Mount Otemanu being the island’s highest point at 727m (2,835ft). The striking natural landscape is certainly one to consider as a pro, but the activities are another pro. In Bora Bora, you can enjoy abundant underwater adventures and go hiking or visit viewpoints, which cannot be said for The Maldives.

Which island is easier to get to?

Maldives: Accessibility

Yes, one of the main things to consider when deciding between The Maldives vs. Bora Bora is how you will get there. Both are dream destinations, but one stands out as being much more accessible and, ultimately, more attractive to international tourists – The Maldives. The islands have a global airport ideal for those flying from Europe, Asia, or Africa. There are a wide variety of international airlines flying here, and depending on where you are flying from, this could considerably impact your choice.

  • Summary: It features an international airport and is ideal for those flying from Europe, Asia, or Africa.

Bora Bora: Accessibility

While it may take over 24 hours to fly from London to Bora Bora, it takes just 10 hours to fly to The Maldives. In comparison, a flight from Los Angele to Bora Bora takes just 10 hours, while flying to The Maldives will take over a day. So, as you can see, both islands can be easily accessible depending on where you are flying from, and if you fly from the USA, Bora Bora is undoubtedly a better choice. In addition, Bora Bora does not have an international airport, so you must take one of the limited flights to nearby Tahiti and follow a 50-minute domestic flight to Bora Bora.

  • Summary: It does not feature an international airport and is better for those flying from the USA, Australia, or New Zealand.

A-Wooden-Lounge-Chairs-On-Maldives-Beach

Which island has better weather?

The Maldives: Weather

One of the key things to note is the time of the year you plan to go on vacation since both islands have opposite seasons. The Maldives has the best weather from November – April, while the wet season occurs from May – October, unlike Bora Bora which is the exact opposite. If you travel during the summer (Northern Hemisphere), Bora Bora will be the best option, while the Maldives is better for a winter/spring getaway.

The Maldives is closer to the equator and is warmer than Bora Bora during the day and night, with daily temperatures of 29 – 31C (84 – 87F), with the hottest month being April

Bora Bora: Weather

The hottest month in Bora Bora is June, with an average daily temperature of 29C (84), yet the night temperature gets cooler than The Maldives since it is further away from the equator. Bora Bora is an ideal summer destination if you are traveling between May – October, which is the time when many Europeans and North Americans will venture off on vacation.

It is worth noting that even during the warmer seasons, Bora Bora is susceptible to winds, and June, October, and September are the windiest months, which is something to consider.

Which island is more affordable?

The Maldives: Affordability

When planning a trip, this is always something to consider so that we can plan our budget for the vacation. It might sound surprising, but The Maldives is the place to get the best value for money, and while that won’t mean budget accommodation, it certainly means that you will get more for your money than you will in Bora Bora.

The Maldives has countless hotel resorts, restaurants, tour operators, etc., all of which compete, so spending less in The Maldives will be easier than Bora Bora, which has limited options.

Sunset-Of-Paradise-Getaway-Bora-Bora

Bora Bora: Affordability

Compared to The Maldives, where each resort is built on its private island, Bora Bora has just four ultra-luxury hotels, which weakens the competition. The hotels are outstanding in Bora Bora, but you will get much more luxury and quality for your money in The Maldives, not to mention staying in hotels that feature world-famous cuisine.

The food and drinks in French Polynesia, in general, are renowned for being expensive, so if you are in search of an affordable option, opt for a complete meal plan at a Maldivian Resort and reap the benefits for less.

Which island has the best resorts?

The Maldives:

The Maldives is much bigger than Bora Bora, so there is much more of a variety of resorts. The country is home to some of the finest hotels in the world, plus there are many budget options too which is not the case in Bora Bora. In the Maldives, you can experience staying at a resort on its private island, many of which serve Michelin-star cuisine, so one of the major draws is that it is accessible to everyone.

Bora Bora:

Let’s not beat around the bush; you need the cash to visit Bora Bora – it’s pretty expensive. It is famous for its luxury overwater villas and features several resorts, but not many are under $500 per night, making it a splurge destination. While both islands have fantastic resorts, Bora Bora has less variety but a higher price tag than The Maldives.

3 Questions to Help You Decide: Maldives Vs. Bora Bora

Couple-On-A-Beach-Jetty-At-Maldives

When are you traveling?

This is one of the main things to ask yourself. If you are traveling from May – October, then Bora Bora will be the better destination; however, if you choose to take a vacation between November – April, The Maldives is undoubtedly the better option.

What kind of vacation are you expecting?

If you seek ultra-luxury, affordability, easy access, and plenty of exciting water-based activities, then The Maldives has to be your chosen island. In contrast, if you would rather have traditional luxury, a quieter, more isolated destination, and varied landscapes, you cannot beat Bora Bora, a haven for beaches and mountains. In addition, if you are traveling with kids, The Maldives is more family-friendly than Bora Bora and offers plenty more activities for all ages.

Where are you travelling from?

If you are traveling from North America, Australia, or New Zealand, Bora Bora will prove much easier to get to, and if time is of the essence, you might want to consider this a viable option. In contrast, The Maldives is ideal if you are coming from Europe, Asia, or Africa, and since it has an international airport, there are many more flight options to choose from.

About The Author

Jade is a seasoned traveller, yoga enthusiast, adventure seeker and travel writer passionate about seeing the world and sharing hidden gems with others. As well as having travelled to 91 countries thus far, she has written for several websites and published her first book β€˜The Ultimate Irish Road Trip Guide’. She is a keen writer of satirical articles, as well as β€˜The best things to do’ and β€˜The best dishes to try’ around the globe. Jade is currently on a campervan adventure around Europe, where she continues to get her travel and food inspiration. She is excited to share what she discovers with her readers.

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Picture of Jade Poleon

Jade Poleon

Jade is a seasoned traveller, yoga enthusiast, adventure seeker and travel writer passionate about seeing the world and sharing hidden gems with others. As well as having travelled to 91 countries thus far, she has written for several websites and published her first book β€˜The Ultimate Irish Road Trip Guide’. She is a keen writer of satirical articles, as well as β€˜The best things to do’ and β€˜The best dishes to try’ around the globe. Jade is currently on a campervan adventure around Europe, where she continues to get her travel and food inspiration. She is excited to share what she discovers with her readers.

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