Deciding between Bora Bora and Maldives for your honeymoon?
Featuring turquoise waters, romantic overwater bungalows, white sand beaches, vivid coral reefs, and delicious seafood, both destinations offer an unmissable and luxurious honeymoon experience.
Using our local knowledge of these bucket list destinations, we’ve created a comparative guide that will help you figure out if Bora Bora or Maldives is your perfect match.
Read on to learn about the things to do, costs, places to stay, the best times to visit, and what to expect!
Places To Stay in Maldives
Located to the Southwest of Sri Lanka and India, Maldives is an island nation set in the Indian Ocean. There are over 1200 islands or atolls in Maldives, ranging from tiny sandbars to massive pieces of land housing busy cities.
Most of the islands are flat with a scattering of palms, dense tropical growth, or only pure white sand.
There are far more accommodation options in Maldives than there are in Bora Bora. This means it is easier to find a resort in your price range with the amenities, dining, excursions, and facilities you desire.
South Malé Atoll
Located 30 minutes by speedboat from the main international airport, South Malé Atoll is less developed than the nearby islands. However, the underwater scenery is amazing. This is a great choice for couples who want to get away from the busy streets of Malé City and relax in a mid-range resort, but don’t want to trek too far.
This Velassaru Maldives resort features beachfront and overwater accommodations with a contemporary meets islander aesthetic. Offering great value for money, there are many room types to choose from. Prices start from $330 per night for 2 people.
Often considered one of the most beautiful places in Maldives, this atoll includes over 80 coral islands covered in palms, lush greenery, and pristine sands. There are 23 world-famous dive sites where visitors can see whale sharks all year long (August to September is the peak viewing season) as well as hammerhead sharks, vibrant sea fans, and healthy coral.
Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru
This Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru resort is located 25 minutes from Malé by seaplane (the views of the resort’s architecture when you fly in are incredible). Located on a private island, the overwater and oceanfront bungalows are beach chic and laid back. Prices start from $550 per night for 2 people.
Home to some of the most opulent resorts in Maldives, Noonu Atoll has become a hotspot for honeymooners with a big budget. This is a great choice if you plan to spend most of the time at your resort and enjoy a handful of curated excursions.
Movenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives
This ultra-luxurious Movenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives is 45 minutes from Malé by seaplane but feels a world away. The overwater pool lagoon villas include a private infinity pool, a soaking tub with sunset views, and a complimentary, daily chocolate hour. Prices start from $900 per night for 2 people.
If your dream is to snorkel or dive with manta rays, this is the honeymoon destination for you. Due to the plankton-rich waters, hundreds of manta rays flock to Hanifaru Bay to feed from June to November.
The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort
Located in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that draws visitors to Baa Atoll, this elegant The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort incorporates natural materials to maximize the area’s beauty. Guests can choose from 8 room types and enjoy Japanese dishes at The Pearl. Prices start from $1,700 per night for 2 people.
A One Island One Resort Destination
One of the most amazing things you can do in Maldives is book a stay at a resort that has its own private island with overwater bungalows. This resort concept has been replicated in other countries, but Maldives is famous for a reason.
Six Senses Laamu
Offering a cozy, luxurious atmosphere, this Six Senses Laamu resort has overwater bungalows featuring outdoor movie screens, sunken glass bathtubs, private pools, and unbeatable sea views. Guests can enjoy a picnic on a deserted island, a lobster barbeque on the beach, and the chance to witness turtles hatching. Prices start from about $1000 per night.
Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa
If you are seeking an all-inclusive stay, Emerald Maldives will make your dreams come true. The private island features contemporary, overwater bungalows built with natural materials such as stone and bamboo. Guests can enjoy private Jacuzzis and pools with breathtaking views of the blue waters. Prices start from $700 per night for 2 people.
Featuring 45 thatched-roof bungalows, this resort describes itself as the best of “barefoot luxury”. Think Robinson Crusoe meets laidback sophistication. Guests can watch eagle rays cruise the shallows from their sunbeds, learn how to make Maldivian Fish Curry, go deep-water fishing, or watch dolphins. Prices start from $1,500 per night for 2 people.
Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences
Located on a lush island with over 2,500 coconut trees, Amilla is the best wellness honeymoon destination in Maldives. The premier accommodations are the overwater, reef-side pool villas, and the treetop pool villas that will make you feel like a jungle king or queen. Prices start from $923 per night for 2 people.
Places To Stay In Bora Bora
Bora Bora is a small, volcanic island in the South Pacific Ocean that is part of French Polynesia and Tahiti’s neighbor. Compared to Maldives, Bora Bora has a far more mountainous landscape with viewpoints at 800 feet above sea level.
When you travel to Bora Bora, you have the option of staying on the main island or on a small, neighboring motu (island). All the islands are close together, so you won’t be stuck in one place. However, the price of multiple boat taxis adds up unless it is included in the cost of your stay.
There are not as many accommodation options in Bora Bora as there are in Maldives, so it is important that you book well in advance.
Resorts on the Main Island
Oa Oa Lodge
For couples on a budget seeking overwater bungalows, this resort is the best option. Although these rooms are not luxurious and don’t offer private pools or bathtubs, they provide incredible views of the ocean and a relaxed vibe. Prices start from $200 per night for 2 people.
InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort
Located near stunning Matira Beach, this resort offers beachfront and overwater accommodations. The resort also provides Romance Packages for guests staying at least 2 nights. Price start from $1,500 per night for 2 people.
Resorts not on the Main Island
The St Regis Bora Bora Resort
This is the most luxurious (and priciest) resort in Bora Bora, with the largest overwater bungalows in French Polynesia. Guests can use the services of a personal butler while enjoying the secluded beaches and infinity pools. Prices start from $3,500 per night for 2 people.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui
Tucked away in a private cove, this resort offers thatched-roof overwater villas and chic bungalows nestled in the hills. Guests can lounge in hammocks over the water, relax at the spa or swim in the blue lagoon. Prices start from $1,300 per night for 2 people.
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Providing views of Mount Otemanu, this resort offers private villas and water bungalows with plunge pools, multiple rooms, and 24-hour service. Guests can also enjoy farm-to-table dining, sunset catamaran cruises, and couples’ spa treatments. Price start from $2,300 per night for 2 people.
Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resort
Featuring lush, tropical gardens and white sand beaches, this resort is the quintessential Bora Bora escape. Garden private pool villas start from $2,000 and overwater bungalows start from $3,040 per night for 2 people.
Things To Do in Maldives
If you and your spouse are passionate about scuba diving, Maldives is a better destination than Bora Bora. However, there are many other activities available both in and out of the water.
Go Island Hopping – Take a dhoni (a traditional Maldivian boat) to explore the many atolls and hidden beaches. You can also arrange a picnic or barbeque on the beach through your tour provider or resort.
Visit the Glowing Beach on Vaadhoo Island – Witness the bioluminescent plankton light up the waves with an ethereal, blue glow. The best time to see this natural phenomenon is during the new moon from July to February.
Dine in an Underwater Restaurant – There are several underwater restaurants in Maldives, but Ithaa Undersea Restaurants is the best. While sitting 15 feet below the surface, 16 guests at a time can admire marine life. If you don’t want to commit to a full dinner, reserve a Cocktail Hour timeslot, which costs about $85 per person.
Stay in an Overwater Bungalow – This is the quintessential Maldivian experience for a reason. Imagine waking up to a gentle breeze, walking out onto your private balcony, and taking a morning swim in the aquamarine waters.
Enjoy a Candlelit Dinner on a Private Sandbar – You arrive at a white sand beach decorated with roses and flickering candles, where you watch the sunset over a glass of prosecco with your love.
Take a Helicopter Tour – View the shallow seas dotted with islands and the stunning architecture of some of the world’s premier overwater resorts.
Explore the Underwater World – Maldives is home to a remarkable variety of marine life, including whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, sting rays, hammerhead sharks, spinner dolphins, and coral reefs. Whether you are a PADI-certified diver or prefer to snorkel from the beach, you will be amazed by the creatures in these azure waters.
Partake in Water Activities – Honeymooners can enjoy a variety of water sports, including jet skiing, deep sea fishing, flyboarding, waterskiing, banana boat riding, kitesurfing, kayaking in a clear plastic kayak, surfing, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Indulge in Spa Services – After a full day snorkeling off a catamaran, book a coconut oil massage in an open-air bungalow overlooking the idyllic waters.
Things To Do in Bora Bora
Bora Bora is a much smaller place than Maldives so there are fewer things do to, but we promise you will never be bored. Specifically, Bora Bora is better for hiking and exploring on foot than Maldives.
Stay in an Overwater Bungalow – On Bora Bora, there are a variety of overwater bungalows and luxury resorts that offer pristine waters, infinity pools, slides, water hammocks, whirlpool tubs and glass floors.
Take a Jeep Tour – Pack into a 4×4 safari Jeep and spend the day exploring the island with a knowledgeable guide. Although the ride will get a little bumpy, it is part of the fun and you will experience 360-degree views of the ocean, volcanic mountains and towns.
Snorkel with Lemon Sharks and Stingrays – Visitors have the opportunity to experience Bora Bora’s Lagoonarium, a naturally occurring, sheltered lagoon that is a great place for beginner snorkelers.
Hike Mt. Pahia – If you are an experienced hiker and prepared for muddy, steep conditions, hiking Mt. Pahia will be a highlight of your trip. Keep in mind that it takes 5-6 hours to complete the hike, and you should also pack enough water for your journey.
Experience Heiva – This annual festival is a celebration of Polynesian cultural heritage, featuring traditional dress, song and dance, ceremonial performances, and sporting events. This festival usually takes place in July.
Bike the Main Island of Bora Bora – You can explore the 20 miles of coastline surrounding the main island by bicycle or motorbike. During your trip, you will have the chance to witness local life, take in stunning vistas, shop in local boutiques and sample everyday cuisine.
Enjoy Water Sports – Many of the water activities available in Maldives are also on offer in Bora Bora, such as jet skiing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming.
Visit the Coral Gardens – Located off the north coast of the main island, the Coral Gardens can only be accessed by boat and are home to an incredibly vibrant coral reef. Keep in mind that the water is about 9 feet deep so you must be careful not to touch or kick the coral as you snorkel.
Go Whale Watching – Observe humpback whales in the warm waters as they migrate past this beautiful island between July and November.
Comparison: When Is the Best Time to Visit Bora Bora and Maldives?
Maldives – January, February, and March are the best months to visit Maldives to enjoy idyllic weather. However, it is a very busy time as February brings Chinese New Year tourists and many Europeans escape the cold winter weather in January. Make sure to book your accommodations and seaplane transfers months in advance.
Between May and August is the best time to visit if you are looking for lower prices. Although it will likely rain a couple of times during your stay, it is still a good time to visit because the weather is favorable year-round in Maldives.
Bora Bora – Mid-June, July, and August are the best times to visit Bora Bora if you are seeking clear, sunny skies and dry weather. This is also the most popular time to visit so prices are higher and there are more people.
Between November and March is the best time to travel to Bora Bora if you are on a budget and don’t mind a few days of rain or higher humidity. During these rainy season months, many resorts offer discounts and there aren’t as many guests.
Cost Comparison: Bora Bora vs. Maldives
Accommodation – Both Bora Bora and Maldives are luxury destinations with price tags that match the incredible experiences on offer. However, you can get better value in Maldives for mid-range resorts. Comparatively, there are few mid-range resorts in Bora Bora so you must choose budget or ultra-luxury. You can get a good room for 2 people in Maldives for $300, but it is difficult to do that in Bora Bora.
Food – The cost of meals at honeymoon resorts is similar, but local food is cheaper in Maldives.
Transportation – Flights to Bora Bora are generally more expensive than flights to Maldives, but once you arrive, transportation costs will be lower in Bora Bora. An added expense in Maldives is the seaplane transfer to your resort. According to Atoll Transfer, roundtrip seaplane transfers to your resort cost between $290 and $700 per person. Once at your resort, you likely will not leave again except for day excursions.
Excursions and Tours – Snorkeling or catamaran day trips are generally cheaper in Maldives, but it depends on which provider you choose.
Bora Bora vs. Maldives: Food Comparison
Both cuisines utilize fresh seafood, coconut, and seasonal fruits; however, chefs prepare them in different manners. Specifically, Maldivian food has more of an Indian influence, while Bora Bora’s cuisine incorporates French flavors and vanilla.
Coconut, starches (sweet potato, breadfruit, rice, and cassava) and seafood (specifically tuna) are the primary ingredients in Maldivian cuisine. You can sample dishes such as Guhla (a dumpling like pastry filled with spiced tuna, onions, coconut, and chilis), Steamed Lobster, Mas Riha (a fragrant fish curry served over rice), Kulhi Boakibaa (a savory fish cake prepared with ginger, smoked tuna and coconut), Boshi Mashuni (a banana flower salad prepared with lime, spices, and fresh seafood) and Gulab Jamun (a dessert with cardamon and sugar syrup that originates in India).
While chefs incorporate tuna in Bora Bora’s cuisine as well, they often prepare it raw using a lemon marinade. If you like Ceviche, you will love these dishes – particularly Poisson Cru. Other dishes you should add to your food bucket list include Chevreffes (a light shrimp curry prepared with local vanilla and coconut milk), Rotisserie Pork, Poulet Fafa (a coconut-spiced chicken dish wrapped in taro leaves and cooked underground), and Casse-croute (a sandwich made on a French baguette with roasted pork or tuna).
Transportation Comparison: Bora Bora vs. Maldives
Airfare – An inexpensive roundtrip flight from New York to Maldives will cost about $1,200 per person, while a cheap roundtrip ticket from New York to Bora Bora will likely cost over $2,000 per person.
Island Travel at Maldives – If you want to travel Maldives on the cheap, you can take the local ferries, which cost between $4 and $35 and will take you to all the inhabited islands. However, it is your honeymoon and you probably don’t want to deal with unreliable timelines and would like to enjoy your beautiful accommodations as soon as possible.
For this reason, it is best to contact your resort for private or semi-private transfers by speedboat or seaplane.
Island Travel at Bora Bora – Once you arrive at the main airport in Bora Bora, you can take a free boat transfer to Vaitape, the largest city on Bora Bora. However, most of the big resorts include transport in the cost of the stay.
If you are staying on one of the smaller islands, you should expect to pay about $25 for a boat taxi, but the large resorts have their own complimentary shuttles.
Riding a bike, walking, or taking a taxi are easy ways to get around the main island.