Hmm…how to choose between two idyllic island destinations in French Polynesia? (Spoiler alert: don’t fret; it’s a win-win.)
Before I continue, I will say with confidence that where we stay has a huge impact on our opinion of a place. That being said, we were fortunate enough to stay in two absolutely fabulous properties during our time in Bora Bora and Moorea. Using points, we stayed at the Intercontinental Thalasso Bora Bora as well as the Intercontinental Moorea. Since we stayed at relatively similar properties (within the same brand), I think it’s fair to compare our experiences on both islands. Without further ado, here are the pros and cons of both Bora Bora and Moorea in French Polynesia.
You’ve all heard of it. This incredibly beautiful island is famous for a reason. I’ve never seen a more picturesque place in my life.
Staggering Beauty. It’s seriously jaw-dropping. Everywhere you look is like a postcard.
Remote. It’s definitely not as easy to get to. You have to take a pretty expensive flight to the island. Once there, you will need to jump on a ferry (or boat) to get to your destination.
Expensive. Probably a factor of its remoteness, everything is pricey on Bora Bora. Especially the food. Sure, you can budget as much as possible like we did, but it’s still not exactly reasonable.
Not much to do. We tried really hard to be people who could just sit and enjoy the sun. We did well for about 2 days…then we got antsy, so we booked a boat tour. While our day of snorkeling was incredibly fun (we saw mantas!), it was just about the only activity available (besides the activities that both resorts have, like kayaking and playing with stingrays).
Activities. We were in Moorea for three days and we left with so many activities still on our to-do list!
Vibes. I know this isn’t a tangible asset, but the vibes in Moorea were undeniably different (and I’d argue better) than in Bora Bora. We felt like we had to be quiet and well-behaved in Bora Bora, whereas Moorea was definitely more laid-back and casual. The manager at the Intercontinental Moorea agreed with this sentiment, explaining that Moorea “has a soul.”
More of a local feel. Okay so technically this could go in the “vibes” category, but I think it deserves its own mention. People actually live on Moorea – it’s not just for tourism.
More options for food. You’re not stuck eating at the hotel restaurant, or buying all your food from the grocery store. There are plenty of restaurants near the hotels in Moorea.
Easier to get to. It’s just a quick (and pretty cheap) ferry ride from Tahiti.
Slightly less “status.” Look, I get it. If you want to go somewhere that everyone will recognize and be jealous of, Bora Bora is the place for you. Moorea doesn’t have quite the same ring or reputation.
More family friendly. If you’re looking for a quiet, adults-only retreat, I think you should stick to Bora Bora. Of course, this would be a pro if you want to go with your family 🙂
Even if you just skimmed this article, it’s not hard to tell which island I felt a stronger affinity towards. I’ve truly never been to a place as stunningly beautiful as Bora Bora. However, if I had to choose which one to return to, I’d go with Moorea for the wider range of restaurants, activities, and the convenience.
Do you agree with my assessment?