How to Reach Bora Bora: An Overview for Travelers

2023-02-14 02:19:56 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.
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Bora Bora's isolation is part of what makes a trip there so appealing. Located in the French Polynesian Society Islands, this island is as far away as you can get from anywhere in the world. Trying to figure out how to get there Don't bother looking any further.  

This guide will help you organize your trip to the beautiful and popular island of Bora Bora.  

Guidelines for Getting to Bora Bora

plane on the runway in tahiti

To begin, know that getting to Bora Bora is never easy, but always rewarding. We pointed out that getting to Bora Bora is more difficult and expensive than getting to other island destinations due to its remote location.  

But once you arrive, you'll be rewarded with the clearest blue water, the whitest sand, and the lushest tropical vegetation you've ever seen. You won't care about the journey anymore once you're swaying in a hammock on your own private over-water deck.

Bora Bora: How to Get There by Plane

how to fly to bora bora starts with a flight from san francisco to tahiti with united airlines

Bora Bora is not accessible by direct flight at this time. In general, this is true for the French Polynesian islands. In other words, the land masses are too small to support the runways required to land jumbo jets.  

Faa'a International Airport (PPT), located on the island of Tahiti, is the only international airport serving the Society Islands. You can take a charter plane, a helicopter, or a regularly scheduled flight to Bora Bora from there. The flight takes about 50 minutes, and there are as many as eight or nine flights per day that are bound for Bora Bora during the high season.

If you arrive in Tahiti in the late afternoon or evening, you may need to spend the night before taking the transfer to your resort on Bora Bora, as Air Tahiti's last flight leaves at 17:30.  

A direct flight to Bora Bora is not possible, but you can get to Tahiti and then take a connecting flight. You can get to Bora Bora quickly and easily by flying this route. No matter what you do, you won't be able to get to the island in fewer than two plane rides.  

Where to Fly From in the USA to Reach Bora Bora

There are a number of direct flights to Tahiti from the United States:

  • United Airlines operates direct flights out of SFO on Tues, Thu, and Sun.
  • From Los Angeles, Air Tahiti offers daily direct flights six days a week.
  • Up to four times a week, Air France offers nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Tahiti.
  • Leaving San Francisco on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, FrenchBee is a new low-cost airline that offers nonstop service to Tahiti.

Time required to fly to Tahiti from some of the world's most important cities is listed below.

  • After a trip of 22 hours from Paris, France
  • From L.A., USA, it's a mere 8-hour trip
  • Only 8 hours away from San Francisco, USA
  • Honolulu can be reached in 5 hours.
  • From Tokyo, Japan, It Takes 11 Hours
  • From Shanghai, China, it's only a 13.5-hour trip.
  • Time in hours and minutes from Hong Kong, China to the location
  • It's a mere 9 hours' flight time from Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Distance from Santiago, Chile: 11 hours
le meridien bora bora boat shuttle from the airport

After touching down, you'll take a boat ride to your lodgings. Travelers arriving on Air Tahiti can take advantage of a complimentary boat transfer to and from the airport, but most hotels and resorts will arrange for a pick-up Bora Bora airport visitors can find these boats lined up and easily identifiable by their respective hotel or resort's name.  

Affordably flying to Bora Bora is possible. Otherwise…


Reading this comprehensive guide to French Polynesia is a must before booking your flight to Bora Bora.

A Tourist's Guide to the Islands of Tahiti

The Maritime Route to Bora Bora

paul gaugin cruise in bora bora Photo by Michael R. Perry via Flickr

Bora Bora is so far away that even direct sea travel is out of the question. You can either take a cruise to Tahiti that also visits the other islands, or you can fly to Tahiti and then take a boat to the islands. The time and money spent on travel are just the beginning of the downsides to this solution.  

Cruises between Islands

Taking an inter-island cruise is a fantastic way to see all that French Polynesia has to offer. The port of Papeete in Tahiti serves as a departure point for cruises as well as flights to the islands.  

Paul Gauguin Cruises is the most opulent of those companies. This cutting-edge vessel is a favorite because it can accommodate over 300 passengers. Spacious decks, a stylish pool, and comfortable cabins are just a few of the amenities this ship offers.  

Windstar Cruises provides a more intimate and romantic way to experience the island chain than that provided by larger cruise liners. Just picture white sails and a carefree air.

Norwegian Cruise Lines also offers itineraries that depart from the West Coast of the United States and visit the Hawaiian Islands, allowing passengers to fly to Hawaii and then take a cruise to Bora Bora.  

If you have the time and money, there are many different cruises from which to choose.

Where to Catch a Plane to Bora Bora from Tahiti

with view from the sky

Now that you know you can't just hop on a plane and fly to Bora Bora from anywhere in the world, how do you even get there?

Tahiti, home to the capital city of Papeete and the airport of the same name, is the typical starting point for these journeys.

Your flight will be on Air Tahiti, to put it simply. Since they are the only inter-island carrier, booking a return trip from Tahiti (PPT) to Bora Bora (BOB) with them is your only option.

Read on if you're interested in following a similar two-week Islands of Tahiti itinerary as we did.

An Air Tahiti Ticket

There are a number of different Air Tahiti Passes available, and you should look into them if you plan to visit more than one island during your stay. Discounted admission to the Society Islands is now possible with these fantastic passes.  

With an additional extension, you can visit the distant Austral Islands and even the Marquesas.  

Both the S and Y classes of each pass allow for up to 50 lb. (23 kg. ), while the Z class allows for up to 100 lb.

In some cases, you can even rearrange the order in which the islands on your pass are visited, and in others, you're limited to seeing only one or two of the islands on your pass. A minimum of two islands must be visited, with each island being visited only once.

You should focus on the two main passes, which are:

  • The Bora Bora Pass admits its holder to the islands of Bora Bora, Maupiti, Moorea, Huahine, and Raiatea.
  • Bora-Tuamotu Pass: A gateway to the Society Islands and the stunning atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago  

Bora Bora Attractions and Activities

Don't waste your time in Bora Bora without signing up for one of these tours. These should be reserved in advance to ensure availability and secure lower rates than those offered by resorts.

  • Half a day exploring the island's famous coral reefs and lagoons will give you a taste of Bora Bora's famed beauty.
  • You prefer land-based adventures. Stunning ATV tours of the Bora Bora Mountains.
  • Indulging in some of the regional specialties is a must on any vacation. Sounds like a perfect evening for a dinner cruise at sunset to me.

F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the most affordable Bora Bora transportation options?

Flying with United Airlines or FrenchBee to Tahiti is the most cost-effective option (PPT). It's the only airline that can take you to and from Tahiti from there. Using a flight comparison website like Skyscanner is the most efficient way to find a low-cost airline.

Where do you catch a boat to the next island if you're staying in Bora Bora?

You'll be flying with Air Tahiti from Bora Bora to the other islands in your itinerary. Carefully note which islands you can reach from Tahiti. Getting to other islands may require making a return trip to Tahiti's main island, PPT.

The best time to visit Bora Bora is when:

It's true that there is no bad time to visit Bora Bora, but if you insist, the peak season is from May to October. Please take the time to read our comprehensive guide on when to visit Bora Bora.

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