Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (2024)

Wandering our World is reader supported! If you purchase anything through a link on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Last updated on February 17, 2023 by Wandering our World

When it comes to tropical island paradises, you can’t get much better than the Maldives or Bora Bora. However due to their remote nature, visiting either is costly and the airplane journey long. So making the right decision for your dream getaway or honeymoon is vital.

Yet whilst both have spectacular turquoise lagoons, white sand beaches, and romantic overwater bungalows, there’s some significant differences between them too….

For example, if you want to spend as much time as possible on a private resort island which is quiet, peaceful and in a world of its own, then the Maldives could be a better choice. The scenery isn’t as breathtaking as Bora Bora, but the beaches and snorkeling are world-class.

In contrast, Bora Bora is perfect for tourists who wish to relax in stunning surroundings, but also want to do some exploring or island hopping. The resorts in Bora Bora are more integrated into the community than the ones in the Maldives, so it’s also possible to visit different restaurants, or go on a variety of excursions.

But that’s just the beginning when it comes to how these two destinations differ.

Luckily after visiting both, we compare the Maldives vs Bora Bora below and show you which has the better beaches, culture, food, what excursions are available and more!

CONTENTS:

  1. A Quick Overview & Comparison
  2. How Do The Beaches & Landscape Compare?
  3. Explore The Sights & Experience The Culture
  4. Where To Stay According To Your Budget
  5. A Taste Of Island Life: How Does The Cuisine Compare?
  6. Which Is The Better Choice?
Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (1)

A Quick Overview & Comparison

Expect great beaches, sparkling gin-clear lagoons, and overwater villas in both of these trendy vacation spots.

However we think Bora Bora is more beautiful when it comes to the landscape, while the Maldives is more breathtaking when it comes to the sea.

Bora Bora not only has a stunning coastline, but as a volcanic island it also has a spectacular backdrop of rainforest-clad mountains that rise out of the Pacific.

In fact Bora Bora’s highest peak stands at 727 meters. In comparison, the highest point in the Maldives is just 2.4 meters!

However if your priority is beaches, then the Maldives is a better choice than Bora Bora. The beaches in the Maldives are world-class, with the nation coated in soft powder-like white sand. It’s the sort of place you can walk around barefoot all day.

The beaches in Bora Bora, while stunning too, tend to not be as soft. So if you have reef shoes you will use them more in Bora Bora than in the Maldives.

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (2)

The snorkeling in Bora Bora is very good, with many opportunities to see reef sharks and other underwater life. However the shore snorkeling in the Maldives is exceptional and unparalleled. So if you’re a keen snorkeler or diver, the Maldives may be the best choice.

Yet as the resorts in the Maldives are almost always based on their own private secluded islands, it can be difficult to move around and see other parts of the country.

In Bora Bora this isn’t the case, which makes it much easier to move around, explore, eat at a different resort, and mingle with the local community. So if you’re looking for a bit of adventure alongside cocktails on the beach, then Bora Bora is probably the better choice.

Choosing to visit Bora Bora also opens up the opportunity to spend some time on the neighboring islands of Moorea, and Tahiti. Both have their own charm, are stunning, and quite different from Bora Bora – as we’ve written about before.

In regards to overwater bungalows/villas, both the Maldives and Bora Bora have them.

In Bora Bora due to the depth of the ocean, you can often jump straight from your hut directly into the lagoon. That’s not always possible in the Maldives where the water is more shallow.

However the privacy tends to be better in the Maldives, as Bora Bora has more water traffic (boats, jetskis etc) passing by its resort villas. In comparison the resorts in the Maldives tend to be much more secluded.

Below we look at both in more detail, before comparing the culture and local food you will find in each!

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (3)

How Do The Beaches & Landscape Compare?

Bora Bora: The Beaches & Landscape

The French Polynesian island of Bora Bora is undeniably beautiful when it comes to sparkling blue lagoons, and picturesque palm trees languidly lining its sandy beaches.

It’s the perfect place for an upmarket holiday where you can easily while away your time in Bora Bora’s iconic overwater bungalows on stilts or sipping cocktails on the beach.

And luckily because of the size of Bora Bora – it’s compact rather than spread out like the Maldives – a vacation on this island allows you to explore beaches, towns, and resorts that are situated away from your resort.

For one of our favorite beaches though, head to Matira Beach for white sands surrounded by greenery.

Although best known as a romantic destination, the turquoise lagoons of Bora Bora also provide the ideal conditions for kayaking, snorkeling, diving, kite-surfing and other water sports.

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (4)

One of our favorite areas is Bora Bora Lagoon. This colorful reef is a great snorkeling spot to watch rays, reef sharks, and countless multi-colored fish!

If you want a break from the sea, you can also opt to trek through the island’s jungles! Hikers will revel in climbing Bora Bora’s highest peak, Mt Otemanu. This old volcano is best scaled with a local guide, but it will be well worth it. A trek like this is an experience you just can’t get in the Maldives.

The dramatic volcanic peaks on this island – and French Polynesia – are breathtaking, and the views unmatched. In fact in our opinion, Bora Bora is probably the most beautiful island in the world.

Recommended: Hiking in Bora Bora

And if you’re traveling to Bora Bora from June to November then it’s also peak whale-watching season!

Humpback whales migrate to the island to breed during this time, and can even be spotted while snorkeling around the island. Having a great underwater camera – such as this one – is a must.

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (5)

Maldives: The Beaches & Landscape

Relaxation, calm, isolation, and quiet. That’s what you should expect in the Maldives, a country that specializes in upmarket resorts and honeymoon vacations.

Some of the world’s best beaches happen to be in this nation too, many of which we believe are better than the beaches in Bora Bora.

One of our favorites is the powder white coastline at Lhaviyani Atoll where the palm tree lined beaches look like a computer screensaver. We’ve found that the west side of the atoll has wider beaches and softer sand, so is perfect for a day’s sunbathing.

However, many of the over 1000 islands in this country are privately owned by resorts. So you may be limited as to where you can go on each island in the Maldives. In general, that’s less of an issue in Bora Bora where it’s easy to roam.

Yet what you will get in the Maldives is an exceptional level of privacy, and a real feel of seclusion. Perfect for unplugging from the outside world and really getting that relaxation you deserve.

Having a resort on a private island also means that you are guaranteed to have a spectacular beach, and a coral reef for snorkeling, right beside your room. When it comes to high-end beach vacations, this country really does excel.

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (6)

It also excels when it comes to snorkeling, with a spectacular colorful underwater life that can be seen easily thanks to the crystal-clear water. However most snorkeling is done with a resort, due to the privately owned nature of many islands in the Maldives.

If you can do one snorkelling excursion, try to head to Manta Point, which is home to Manta Rays! Also known as Emas Thila, this is probably one of the best places in the world to swim alongside these gentle giants.

For a burst of color, Banana Reef is another great spot to snorkel and dive. Here you’ll see rays, sharks, and many different types of reef fish including Royal Blue Tangs. You might not have heard that name before, but you will recognize the fish if you’ve seen ‘Finding Nemo’ – ‘Dory’ was a Blue Tang!

All in all, if you’re looking for the best white sand beaches in the world, and the clearest water possible, then the Maldives really can’t be beaten. Even by a vacation behemoth like Bora Bora.

Recommended: Snakes and Sea Snakes in the Maldives

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (7)

Explore The Sights & Experience The Culture

As both Bora Bora and the Maldives focus on upmarket resort-based holidays, interaction with the local community and culture is often limited. That’s unless you make a trip away from the island resorts, and into the population centers.

The resorts in the Maldives tend to be more isolated than in Bora Bora though, mainly due to how spread out the country is among so many islands.

Therefore interacting with the local community, as well as events and excursions happening outside of the hotel is typically hard.

That’s easier in Bora Bora where traveling to the island’s main town is easy and quick. It’s also quite easy to visit neighboring culture-rich islands in French Polynesia too – like Tahiti and Moorea.

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (8)

Bora Bora: Experiencing The Culture

Visiting the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora gives visitors the opportunity to really experience a different culture, if you’re willing to step outside of your resort that is.

Recommended: Traveling to Bora Bora? Here’s the Culture Guide You Need

Get away from the your all-inclusive villa and try your hand at spearfishing or learn the incredible meanings behind traditional Maori tattoos.

Plus on islands like Bora Bora and nearby Tahiti, you will also find dance performances of the ‘Ori Tahiti’, and there are places to even take lessons with locals.

A trip to Bora Bora’s only town, Vaitape (pop: 5000) is worth it in order to experience some of community life. Although the town is focused on the tourist trade, a visit there will give you a chance to try out local cuisine. Some of which we recommend later in this article.

In fact this is one of the advantages of Bora Bora. You can try out food outside of your resort, something that is much harder to do in the Maldives. So if you like to travel and also try different food out as you do, then Bora Bora will be a much better choice for you.

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (9)

Maldives: Experiencing The Culture

As a majority Muslim country, the Maldives is a conservative nation. Although within resort complexes you are free to act as you would in any liberal Western country.

However if you plan to make any excursions into population centers – like the capital Malé or public beaches – then be sure to dress conservatively, and avoid things such as alcohol.

The culture in the Maldives is vibrant, interesting, and definitely worth discovering though.

Bodu Beru is a traditional rhythmic dance performed by upwards of 15-20 people, and was introduced to the Maldives around 1000 years ago. It’s been a tradition here ever since, and many resorts have cultural nights where dancers perform.

If venturing into Malé, a visit to the Maldives National Museum is a must. Not only does it give an insight into the history of this nation, but it also has a great collection of historical artefacts from the region, some several centuries old.

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (10)

Where To Stay According To Your Budget

Bora Bora

Budget: Bora Bora is an island synonymous with luxury, so finding somewhere great on a tight budget isn’t easy.

However atOa Oa Lodgeyou get beachside accommodation, your own private garden villa, exceptional service, and an unbeatable location within walking distance of Vaitape – the island’s largest city. And all of that for a fraction of the price of other accommodation on the island.See photos and rates!

Luxury:It’s Bora Bora, an island famed for overwater bungalows. And you’ll find arguably the best at the five-starInterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa.

The bungalows come with a celebrity price tag, but you’ll get celebrity treatment, a private swimming pool and the best seat (and bed) in the house. Simply put, staying at this resort is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.See photos and rates!

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (11)

The Maldives

Budget: The word ‘budget’ is a rarity in the Maldives, but on the stunning Fonimagoodhoo Island you can find private villas at the four-star Reethi Resort at a tenth of the price as other Maldives stays.

With everything catered for, and a white sand beach on your doorstep, this resort makes the Maldives affordable to most. See photos and rates!

Luxury: At Amilla Maldives you get the opportunity to stay on an overwater villa that sits directly over the gorgeous waters of the lagoon. The sea views are, of course, breathtaking. But even more so from your own private pool.

Couple that with the world-class service and you have one of the best resorts in the world and the perfect honeymoon stay. And incredibly it’s still a lot cheaper than similar stays in the Maldives. See photos and rates!

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (12)

A Taste Of Island Life: How Does The Cuisine Compare?

With both being tropical island paradises, expect an abundance of fruit, coconuts and fresh fish. Still, there are some local dishes which might surprise you!

Bora Bora: The Food

In Bora Bora, the food is mainly seafood based – as you’d expect!

Try raw fish with coconut milk if you can. Usually, this is made from tuna or bonito fish. It is sliced into cubes and marinated in coconut milk, lemon juice, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic and spring onion.

With such a big Chinese-Polynesian population, there is a wonderful fusion of cuisines on French Polynesia.

For example, Chao men (fried noodles with vegetables, meat and shrimp), chicken with lemon sauce, chao chap (roasted duck), and mapo tofu are all popular dishes on the islands. Raw fish is also very prominent in Chinese cooking on French Polynesia.

A notable French influence in Bora Bora also shines through in sweet treats such as firi firi (Tahitian doughnuts) and banana crepes. A favorite breakfast food is coconut bread!

Related: Our Favorite Restaurants In Bora Bora

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (13)

Maldives: The Food

As the first settlers to the Maldives came from India and Sri Lanka, a lot of the food has an Indian twist.

Curry is therefore one of the most popular dishes. We recommend trying Mas Riha. Made with freshly caught tuna, coconut, and a good number of chilies, this is a truly unique and delicious Maldivian dish.

Seafood is also popular and traditional dishes include Garudhiya (a type of fish soup) and Kulhi boakiba, which is a fish cake made from smoked tuna, coconut, ginger and rice.

As for what to drink, resorts in the Maldives have countless number of cocktails to try. However the coconut water in the Maldives is delicious and refreshing – especially when enjoyed direct with a straw.

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (14)

Bora Bora Or Maldives: Which Is The Better Choice?

The Maldives is all about relaxation and the sea.

So if you want to spend as much time as possible on a resort beach and in the water then the Maldives would be a better choice. The scenery isn’t as breathtaking as Bora Bora, but the beaches and snorkeling are world-class.

Bora Bora is perfect for tourists who wish to relax in stunning surroundings, but also want to do some exploring or island hopping.

As the resorts in Bora Bora are more integrated into the community than the Maldives, it’s also possible to eat out at different restaurants, or go on a variety of excursions.

Recommended For Your Trip To Bora Bora Or Maldives

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (15)Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (16)

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (17)Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (18)

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (19)Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (20)

*This article may contain affiliate links which allows Wandering our World to make a small commission on any sales made – and keep the coffee flowing! It involves no extra cost to yourself. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases, but only recommend products we believe in.

  • Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (21)

    Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.

    View all posts

Related

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Based on the information provided, I can provide insights and information related to the concepts mentioned in the article. Let's dive into each section:

A Quick Overview & Comparison

The article provides a quick overview and comparison between the Maldives and Bora Bora. It mentions that both destinations offer great beaches, sparkling lagoons, and overwater villas. However, Bora Bora is considered more beautiful in terms of landscape, with its volcanic island and rainforest-clad mountains. On the other hand, the Maldives is known for its breathtaking sea and exceptional beaches [[1]].

How Do The Beaches & Landscape Compare?

The article compares the beaches and landscapes of Bora Bora and the Maldives. Bora Bora is described as having sparkling blue lagoons, picturesque palm trees, and white sandy beaches. It is known for its iconic overwater bungalows and offers opportunities for activities like kayaking, snorkeling, diving, and trekking. Bora Bora's highest peak, Mt Otemanu, provides stunning views [[2]].

The Maldives, on the other hand, is known for relaxation, calmness, and isolation. It offers some of the world's best beaches with soft powder-like white sand. The Maldives is also renowned for its snorkeling opportunities, with exceptional shore snorkeling and a colorful underwater life. The privacy and seclusion provided by the resorts on private islands in the Maldives contribute to its appeal [[3]].

Explore The Sights & Experience The Culture

The article mentions that both Bora Bora and the Maldives focus on upmarket resort-based holidays, limiting interaction with the local community and culture. However, Bora Bora offers more opportunities to experience the local culture, with options like spearfishing, traditional dance performances, and trying local cuisine outside of the resort. Bora Bora's main town, Vaitape, provides a chance to explore community life and try local dishes [[4]].

In the Maldives, the resorts tend to be more isolated, making it harder to interact with the local community. However, the Maldives has a vibrant culture worth discovering. Traditional rhythmic dance performances called Bodu Beru are a highlight, and the Maldives National Museum in Malé offers insights into the history and artifacts of the region [[5]].

Where To Stay According To Your Budget

The article provides accommodation options for different budgets in both Bora Bora and the Maldives. In Bora Bora, Oa Oa Lodge is recommended for a budget-friendly option, offering beachside accommodation and private garden villas. For luxury stays, the InterContinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa is highlighted for its overwater bungalows and exceptional service [[6]].

In the Maldives, the Reethi Resort on Fonimagoodhoo Island is mentioned as a more affordable option, offering private villas and a white sand beach. For luxury stays, Amilla Maldives is recommended, providing overwater villas with private pools and breathtaking sea views [[7]].

A Taste Of Island Life: How Does The Cuisine Compare?

The article briefly mentions the cuisine in both Bora Bora and the Maldives. In Bora Bora, the food is mainly seafood-based, with dishes like raw fish with coconut milk, Chao men (fried noodles), and traditional French treats like firi firi (Tahitian doughnuts) and banana crepes. The Chinese-Polynesian influence in the region also adds a fusion of cuisines [[8]].

In the Maldives, the cuisine has an Indian twist due to the influence of the first settlers from India and Sri Lanka. Curry is popular, with dishes like Mas Riha (tuna curry) and Kulhi boakiba (smoked tuna fish cake). Seafood is also prominent, and coconut water is a refreshing drink option [[9]].

Which Is The Better Choice?

The article concludes that the choice between Bora Bora and the Maldives depends on personal preferences. The Maldives is recommended for those seeking relaxation, spending time on resort beaches, and enjoying exceptional snorkeling. Bora Bora, on the other hand, is suggested for tourists who want to relax in stunning surroundings while also exploring, island hopping, and experiencing the local community [[10]].

I hope this information provides a comprehensive overview of the concepts mentioned in the article. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

Bora Bora Or Maldives: The Honest Comparison [2023] You Need! (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Duane Harber

Last Updated:

Views: 5901

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Duane Harber

Birthday: 1999-10-17

Address: Apt. 404 9899 Magnolia Roads, Port Royceville, ID 78186

Phone: +186911129794335

Job: Human Hospitality Planner

Hobby: Listening to music, Orienteering, Knapping, Dance, Mountain biking, Fishing, Pottery

Introduction: My name is Duane Harber, I am a modern, clever, handsome, fair, agreeable, inexpensive, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.