Bora Bora has accommodations and areas to stay in for a range of budgets. While it’s no secret that it’s an expensive location to visit for a vacation, there are ways to save money and one of the best ones is to stay in cheaper accommodations.
Of course, if you have the budget for it, you can also stay in the beautiful and picturesque overwater bungalows that Bora Bora is known for. No matter what you plan to do or your budget, these are a few options for where you can stay in Bora Bora. We cover everything from where to stay in Bora Bora to save money and luxury resorts that have all the amenities you will ever need. Plus, the two areas of Bora Bora that we think you should know about.
We think that about a week is the minimum length needed to enjoy everything about Bora Bora, and you may also want to consider exploring the other nearby island of Tahiti for a couple of days.
Mainland vs. Motus
One important decision you will need to make early on when planning a vacation is whether you want to stay on the main island or in a private motu. A lot of the luxury all-inclusive resorts are found on their own islets (motus) and require a boat ride to get there.
Fortunately, most of them will have airport shuttles that pick you up when you arrive at the Bora Bora Airport. From the airport, it’s typically around a 15-minute to 30-minute boat ride to the resort. However, just cause you stay on a private island doesn’t mean you can’t visit the mainland.
They also offer water taxis, either as complementary to your stay or for a small fee, that run daily and visit the mainland Bora Bora. This makes it easy to dine at other restaurants and see museums or other local places when you want to explore a new area.
The benefit of simply staying on the mainland is that you’re easily within driving distance of grocery stores and other local attractions. It’s also much easier to go hiking or go on tours when you’re staying here than needing to come here by boat.
Although, to be fair, a lot of the bungalow resorts offer their own tours as well. But the cons are that most of the very high-end resorts are not found here, so you will limit the places you can stay in. Similarly, a resort on a motu offers a much more private experience since fewer people will go to the area unless they’re staying at that resort.
There are both pros and cons to staying on each.
The overwater bungalows of Bora Bora are one of its most famous attractions, commonly being seen in movies and ads over the internet. These sought-out accommodations aren’t cheap by any means, and you will be spending a lot of money if you choose to stay in them.
Most of these overwater bungalows contain see-through windows on the floor so you can see the lagoon life beneath. They’re easy to access with walking paths that take you from the bungalow to the other resort facilities and restaurants.
A cheaper alternative (but not by a lot) is to stay in a beach bungalow which puts you in close proximity to the beautiful water. They still offer a similar and exclusive tropical vibe.
We’ve stayed at the Four Seasons Resort and the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, which are some of the best but most expensive places. Each bungalow offers views of either Mount Otemanu or faces towards the beautiful Bora Bora lagoon. As some offer all-inclusive stays, there are restaurants and bars in the vicinity.
The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa can even help organize a helicopter tour and parasailing adventure. The world-class spa gives you an unforgettable wellness experience with relaxing massages. You can read our full review of the InterContinental Thalasso Spa.
The Four Seasons Resort even offers a snorkeling tour where they take you to the best parts of Bora Bora for snorkeling along with a marine biologist to learn more about marine life. It also has its own spa called the Te Mahana Spa. It’s located on its own motu and close to the Bora Bora airport which it shares with two other options.
The bungalows at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui cost a bit less than most other places. You can also find it in Motu To’opua and it’s the only resort there. All three of these resorts have their own private beaches, and you can rent snorkeling and paddling equipment from them to go out into the beautiful lagoon.
Resorts & Hotels
In Bora Bora, you won’t find the traditional resorts or hotels you might be accustomed to. One of the characteristics that make the island unique is its low-rise architecture. We like it this way since it makes things look a bit more authentic, although there is no denying it’s pretty commercialized by the big resorts. Still, the low-rise buildings give it a more tropical feel to it.
The high-end resorts mostly all feature bungalows and villa stays. There really aren’t any traditional hotel room stays since mostly everything is on the ground level in a condo-style design.
Apart from the three that we mentioned up above, the Intercontinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort is situated directly on the island. Book luxury bungalows on the private beach or in the water. It’s surrounded by restaurants and attractions. If you stay for 7 days or longer, you can get some good discounts too. Read our review of the Le Moana Resort.
Hotel Matira is a cheaper hotel that you can find in the southern end of Bora Bora as well. It’s also pretty close to Matira Beach. It’s a beautiful white sand beach that always has fun events like fire dances or weddings happening on it.
The downside is that you need to reach out to them directly as there doesn’t seem to be any way to book with them through travel websites.
Although I haven’t stayed here, I’ve heard good things about Bora Bora Holiday’s Lodge & Villa. It’s also probably one of the cheapest places to stay in Bora Bora. You can read our costs guide for a closer look at the average Bora Bora resort prices.
AirBnbs have recently entered the scene in Bora Bora. If you’re looking for some cheap rentals, Airbnb and other vacation rentals are your best choice. You can find vacation rentals in different parts of the island from the north to the south, but most options are on the western coast in Vaitape.
They include everything from family homes to condos and even camping tents. You won’t get the same luxury of staying in a beach or overwater bungalow, but it’s a good way to save money. Most locals live in Vaitape, so you can get a more local experience if you stay here. The locals are known for being nice to visitors, and we’ve had nothing but amazing experiences since we first arrived.
When looking for an Airbnb or vacation rental, check the location and how far it is from other places. You may find that some rentals are in the middle of the island or located on a private motu. This might not be the best choice if you’re stranded out on your own with no way to reach the mainland or too far from things. We recommend you book a car rental if that’s the case.
Vaitape is the only town here, and it’s where most of the local people live and where a lot of the local events take place. In the town, you will find everything from churches, supermarkets, gift shops, restaurants, cafes, and more. Chances are you will stop by the town if you’re using the harbor for a tour or boat ride from the airport since that’s where most of the boat drop-offs and picks up are found.
We recommend visiting the restaurant Saint James which offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I always go for the Mahi Mahi, which is roasted to perfection. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Vaitape, consider the Oa Oa Lodge. It’s a family-run hotel with open-air tropically inspired rooms all at an affordable price.
There are other areas like Anau on the eastern coast and Matira on the southern coast, but Vaitape is by far the most popular one.
While Matira isn’t officially recognized as a designated area, this southern part of Bora Bora is home to Matira Beach and a few other famous resorts like InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora. This is another part of the island we recommend staying in. It’s surrounded by restaurants like the Bora Bora Beach Club and Restaurant Moihere.
There are water sports rentals on the eastern side in case you want to rent SUP or kayaks. Rent a car and reach Vaitape in 10-15 minutes or less, so it’s not far from the action of the main town. Hotel Maitai Polynesia is farther up the eastern coast and has overwater bungalows for guests to rent.