How to get to Bora Bora: Your ultimate up-to-date travel guide (2024)

Located in South Pacific getting to Bora Bora is quite a journey. This post will give you all the info on how to get to Bora Bora from the United States.

If you are looking for information on how to get to Bora Bora, you have come to the right place! Often referred to as « the most beautiful island in the world, » or even ‘the pearl of the south Pacific’ our tiny Bora Bora truly deserves its reputation.

The small volcanic island in French Polynesia, and part of Society islands in the south Pacific, is covered in thick vegetation and surrounded by clear waters. The perfect place to snorkel, hike & relax, Bora Bora is a wonderful honeymoon and holiday destination. 

Located about halfway between Australia and South America, getting to Bora Bora and the other Society islands from the United States is quite the journey. But worry not!

This post will give you all the info & little deets on how to get to Bora Bora from the United States. So, be sure to get a cup of coffee, get cozy & comfy, and get ready to discover everything you need to start your journey to Bora Bora! ;)

Table of content Show 👁️

How to get to Bora Bora from the United States in 3 easy steps

How to get to Bora Bora – Step 1: Fly to Papeete

Before you start breaking your head looking for information on how to get to Bora Bora from the United States, let me break the news: there are no direct flights to Bora Bora from the United States.

To get there, you will have to fly via Papeete (the capital of Tahiti) – Faa’a Airport (airport code PPT) for customs and immigration and that’s whether you fly with a regular airline, or you hop on a private jet.

Depending on where you live in the United States you can either catch a direct flight into Papeete, Tahiti, and from there to Bora Bora; or you will have to bear a few layovers and more hours than you may like on board of a plane or in layovers (but we promise you, it’s worth it!).

Direct flights to Papeete (PPT)

4 airline companies operate direct flights from the United States: Air Tahiti Nui, United Airlines, French Bee & Hawaiian Airlines.

Direct flights to Papeete are available from Los Angeles (operated by Air Tahiti Nui and Air France), San Francisco (operated by budget airline French Bee, and United), and Honolulu (operated by Hawaiian Airlines).

Direct flights from Los Angeles to Papeete (Tahiti)

Fly with Air Tahiti

How to get to Bora Bora : Air Tahiti Nui Plane above bora bora
Air Tahiti Nui Plane
Poerava business class - Air Tahiti Nui
Poerava business class – Air Tahiti Nui
  • Air Tahiti Nui operates three weekly international flights from Los Angeles LAX to Faa’a international airport Papeete PPT, with daily departures at 4:30 pm, landing in Papeete at 9:40 pm local time. Air Tahiti flights operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
  • They even have flights twice a day with the second flight leaving at 11:55 pm and landing at Faa’a international airport Papeete PPT at 05:05 am. Please beware this schedule is valid until October 29, 2022, and is subject to change. 
  • To ensure you have the correct info, check the Air Tahiti Nui website.

Want to get the most out of your flight to Bora Bora?

  • ⚠️ Pro tip: If you’d like to get the most out of your Air Tahiti Nui flights, join the club Tiare frequent flyer program! It costs nothing to join and Air Tahiti Nui will give you only tons of benefits once you have enough Air Tahiti points. Think – a free upgrade to their Poerava Business class with world-class cabin and service, extra baggage allowance, or special services at their selected hotels. Also, for any booking you make via their website, you’ll earn even more miles. 

Insider Tips

I love that with Air Tahiti your holiday starts already on the plane. When on board, you’ll notice the tropical touch of the cabin with mineral tones reminding you of the white sandy beaches of Polynesia. You’ll be also offered a fresh Tiare flower upon boarding. If you’re able to afford Air Tahiti Nui, you won’t regret investing in your comfort. 

Fly with Air France

  •  Air France operates three weekly flights from Los Angeles LAX to Papeete PPT, with departures on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 11:35 pm, landing in Papeete at 6:15 am local time (subject to change). 
  • Once you get to Papeete, you will have to catch a connecting domestic flight to Bora Bora.
  • The awesome thing about an international flight with Air France is that every ticket is 100% changeable! So you don’t need to worry about testing positive for Covid 19 until your flight comes up and then losing money. Instead, if that was the case, Air France reschedules you to a later date free of charge.
  • Air France also has a ‘Flying Blue For Me‘ program where you can share your miles between up to 8 family members and access the rewards for your miles faster. If you’re flying with this airline be sure to take advantage of this!

Estimated prices for a flight to Papeete from Los Angeles

As I’m writing these lines (2022) flights from Los Angeles to Papeete can be as cheap as USD 731 roundtrip if you opt for the lowest fare, which includes checked baggage, meals on board, and inflight entertainment, but no refunds for cancellation and having to pay a fee for any schedule change. To that, you will have to add the price of the roundtrip ticket to Bora Bora.

When flying to Bora Bora from Los Angeles, you have two options:

Buy one ticket to Bora Bora, with a layover in Papeete – that will cost around USD 1415 roundtrip for the cheapest fare on Air Tahiti Nui.

Money Saving Tips

Buy two separate tickets – one from Los Angeles to Papeete on either Air Tahiti Nui or Air France (around $730), and one from Papeete to Bora Bora on Air Tahiti – around $400. The overall cost will be $1130. Potential savings: ~ 300$

Direct flights from San Francisco to Papeete (Tahiti)

Fly with French Bee

French Bee plane
French Bee Plane

This low-cost french long haul airline has made a lot of changes in the air travel industry. The main goal of French bee airlines is to make travel more accessible for everyone, regardless of their budget. The company offers flights with low prices but also with high-quality standards. They have managed to reduce the cost for the travel from the states to Tahiti making the destination more accessible to small-budget travelers.

Fewer services are included in your ticket and the comfort is not as good as Air Tahiti Nui or Air France but if you’re planning a trip to Tahiti, French Bee Airlines is a great way to save money on your transportation costs.

French Bee operates one weekly flight on Wednesdays from San Francisco SFO to Papeete PPT – and one weekly flight from Papeete PPT to San Francisco SFO on Fridays. Flights depart at 10:40 pm and land in Papeete PPT at 5:15 am local time. You will be able to catch your flight to Bora Bora on the same day.

Fly with United Airlines
Polaris Business Class - United Airlines
Polaris Business Class – United Airlines

Good news, United Airlines recently started flying to Tahiti from San Francisco. A good way to redeem your points & miles and indulge in a flight in their excellent Polaris Business Class.

United Airlines operates three weekly flights from San Francisco SFO to Papeete PPT, departing on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 1:15 pm and landing in Papeete PPT at 7:50 pm local time. 

Estimated prices for a flight to Papeete from San Francisco

Flights from San Francisco to Papeete can be as cheap as $560 USD roundtrip if you opt for the basic fare on French Bee, which means no checked baggage, no meal on board, and no refundable ticket. To that, you will have to add the price of the roundtrip ticket to and from Bora Bora. United Airlines flights, on the other hand, are in the range of $750 USD. 

✨ PRO TIP: If you’d rather fly with United, keep in mind you can buy a flight to Bora Bora (with a long layover in Papeete) for around $1040 USD roundtrip. 

Direct flights from Honolulu to Tahiti (PPT)

  • Hawaiian Airlines operates one weekly flight from Honolulu HNL to Papeete PPT on Saturdays. Also, there’s one weekly flight back from Papeete PPT to Honolulu, on Saturdays as well.
  • Flights depart at 3:35 pm and land in Papeete PPT at 9:30 pm local time. You will have to spend the night in Papeete and catch your flight to Bora Bora’s main island the day after.
  • Pro tip: Just like with Air Tahiti, don’t forget to use or apply for your travel miles to make the most out of your Hawaiian Airlines flight! With these guys, you earn miles on how far you fly and not how much you spend (unlike the other airlines). And the best? They never expire! So, even if you don’t plan to fly with them in the near future, your miles will still be there waiting for you.

ESTIMATED PRICE: Flights from Honolulu to Papeete have a starting price of $900 USD roundtrip.
GOOD TO KNOW: You will have to buy your flight to Bora Bora separately.

Indirect flights from the States to French Polynesia

If you are looking for information on how to get to Bora Bora from the US from places that aren’t Honolulu, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, be prepared: as we said before, it is a journey that involves multiple flights and layovers.

Chances are that no matter where you are flying from in the US, you will have to go via Los Angeles and San Francisco anyway. Inevitably, flights will end up being more expensive. The following are just a few examples.

From New York: You will have to first fly into San Francisco, then to Papeete, and from there to Bora Bora. United has flights starting from $1300 USD round trip. 

From Chicago : You will have to first fly into Los Angeles (or SF), then to Papeete, and from there to Bora Bora. You will have to buy three separate tickets.

From Miami : You will have to first fly into San Francisco; from there an international flight to Papeete and finally to Bora Bora. United has flights starting from $1590 USD. 

From Dallas: You will have to first fly into San Francisco; from there to Papeete and finally to Bora Bora. You will need to buy three separate tickets. Expect prices to start from $1300 USD.

How to get to Bora Bora – Step 2: Layover in Papeete, Tahiti

Some direct flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco land in Papeete very early in the morning (around 5:00 am) so you will be able to catch one of the Air Tahiti domestic flights to Bora Bora on the same day. 

If your international flight lands at Papeete Faa’a Airport any time after 4:00 pm, you will have to spend the night in Papeete. The runway at this and other airports in French Polynesia is rather short, and they’re often are strong winds, so Air Tahiti doesn’t generally fly at night.

Find all the best hotels near Tahiti’s Faa’a international airport.

How to get to Bora Bora – Step 3: Choose one of the domestic flights and fly to Bora Bora’s main island 

Bora Bora - Plane view
Plane view – Bora Bora

Depending on the day of the week, there are several direct flights (and several more with a layover on another island in French Polynesia) operated by Air Tahiti departing from Papeete Terminal 1 to Bora Bora. Flights last around 45 to 50 minutes and offer breathtaking views over the archipelago.

Insider Tip

For the best views of the island make sure to sit on the LEFT SIDE of the plane when boarding in Tahiti (and on the RIGHT SIDE when leaving Bora Bora).

Since you already spent several hours on board of a plane and/or multiple layovers the last thing you need is an extra layover to reach Bora Bora.

For the latest, up-to-date flight schedule, I invite you to check this link:  ⚠️

ESTIMATED PRICE: Ticket prices start at $402 USD for a roundtrip – I can hear you from here: Yes, that is expensive for an hour flight but Air Tahiti is the only company that flies inter-island in French Polynesia.

How to get to Bora Bora – Last step: Getting to your resort in Bora Bora (your final destination)

Bora Bora Airport
Bora Bora Airport – View from the tarmac

You are almost there, all ready to sip your first Pina Colada on your overwater bungalow deck! However, there is one last step to reach your resort. Bora Bora Airport is located on a small islet called Motu Mute, which is northwest of the main island. Yes, this is the view you get from the tarmac!

Once you land, you will have to catch a boat ride to get to the main island and from there to your accommodation. 

Good to know

Most resorts in Bora Bora that are located on a Motu (ex : The Four Seasons Bora Bora) have their private boat to take you directly from the airport to the resort.

Boats waiting for guests at Bora Bora Airport
Boats waiting for guests at Bora Bora Airport

However, depending on the resort you are staying in it can be pricey $$$. Ask your resort and include the extra cost in your budget to avoid this first-minute bad surprise.

So, here’s a quick recap on how to get to Bora Bora From the United States:

  1. Take one of the international flights from one of the US cities to Papeete, Tahiti 
  2. Change flights in Papeete to fly to Bora Bora
  3. Make sure you sit on the left side of the plane for the most stunning views (on the way there)
  4. Land in Bora Bora and wait for your boat taxi to take you to the main island or to your resort

How to Get to Bora Bora on a Budget

Flights to Bora Bora aren’t nearly as expensive as you’d think, especially if you know where to look. In general, there isn’t much variation in the prices, but if you monitor online travel websites you may be able to find cheap flights to get to Bora Bora. 

  • Book directly with French Bee, France’s first low-cost, long-haul airline: Your best option to get to Bora Bora on a budget is flying with French Bee. As I’m writing these lines they beat all the other airlines regarding prices. We love the value & excellent service they offer for bargain prices! With this airline, you’ll find nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Papeete, Tahiti (PPT) two or three times per week.

Don’t forget: Use your airline miles or points! Do you have a credit card with membership in any of the following? 

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Points
  • Capital One Rewards
  • Brex
  • Marriott Bonvoy 
  • Bilt Rewards

All of these awesome memberships can either contribute to a cheaper ticket to Bora Bora (maybe even help you get it for free!!) or pay for your business class upgrade. If you’ve been using one of these credit cards for your everyday purchases, look if you can claim your reward now for your trip.

Just keep in mind not all of these companies partner with all the airlines. So. Before you get too excited, check if these card companies partner with your desired airline.

If yes, great! Start writing your bucket list. ;) 

If not, make sure to contact the airline you’ll be using and ask them what it takes for you to at least start earning miles for your next Bora Bora visit. Maybe you can already earn some with that one flight.

But for such a trip,we recommend booking directly with the airline or via a (physical) travel agent. 

It’s enormously easier to deal with them directly (or, in case you book via an agency, have them deal with the airline via their preferred channels) rather than with third-party booking sites, should that ever be necessary (ie for changes, refunds, etc).

Insider Tips

Make sure to add travel insurance to your flights to Bora Bora. This will protect you in case of cancellation, lost baggage, long delays, etc…

How to get around Bora Bora

If you’d like to move freely around Bora Bora you can either use boat taxis or rent your own car. Here are the most popular car rentals companies: Expect the prices to move around $90/day and $680 per week.

Also read ⬇️

How to get from Bora Bora to the other islands

Are you curious to also explore the other pacific islands?

Awesome! The easiest will be to visit the rest of the popular Society islands which are: Tahiti, Moorea, and Raiatea. This way you can have a multiple islands holiday! To each of these, you can either fly or take a long boat ride. Here’s how to get to each of them.

Society island map
Society Islands map

Bora Bora to Tahiti

If you’d like to visit Tahiti, we recommend doing it at the beginning of your trip – you’ll need to take one of your connecting flights here so it just makes sense. To fly to Tahiti, prepare for your domestic flight to take around 1H (if no layovers) and cost $180 – $450. For a cheaper option, you can take a ferry operated by Apetahi Express. The journey takes 8h 30 mins and costs less than $100.

Bora Bora to Moorea

To get to Moorea, you can as well either take a direct domestic flight or a ferry. Keep in mind the prices depend on the season (high season – higher prices), the airline, and whether it’s one way or a round trip flight. For one-way flights, the cost ranges around $220 – $550 and takes 45 mins.

One of the more budget options is…you guessed it – a ferry. Just take a ferry operated by Aremiti to Papeete, Tahiti (8,30 h) and change for a short ferry ride to Moorea (only half an hour). The total cost will be $140 – $150.

Bora Bora to Raiatea

To get to Raiatea, you can fly or take a boat with no big difference in price or time. Both flying and taking a ferry will cost you around $83 – $183 and take around 2 hours.

Bonus: Bora Bora to Tikehau (the island of pink beaches)

If you have the time and want to explore French Polynesia, you can also fly to Tikehau, a part of the Tuamotu archipelago. The flight takes around 4 hours and costs $220 – $550.

What about the Cook Islands?

Many people also ask if they can visit the Cook islands coming from Bora bora.

While they’re also in the Pacific, they’re pretty far. So, you surely can but you’ll have to take an 11-hour long international flight that costs anywhere from $650 to $1600. Also, don’t forget about obtaining new visas (as they’re a different country) and other entry requirements.

Vaccines, visa & entry requirements for Bora Bora island (from the States)

Passport image

Alright, now that you know all the travel deets for Bora Bora, the best times to get in, and the best ways to organize your trip, let’s bring on the boring yet important stuff. The entry requirements and safety advice.

What vaccines do I need/ should have for French Polynesia?

While none of these are the absolute must-have, the WHO recommends having the following vaccinations for Bora Bora: 

  • hepatitis A, 
  • hepatitis B,
  • yellow fever (only for people coming from a high-risk country)
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • COVID-19 vaccination 

Insider Tips

Just like in most tropical countries, be careful of the dengue fever. There’s no vaccination for this mosquito-borne infection yet. The best and only way to protect yourself is to use mosquito sprays and mosquito nets. Most of the resorts are treated against mosquitoes so this applies especially if you stay in any of the rural areas. 

Visa requirements for US citizens : Do you need a visa to Bora Bora?

As a US citizen, you’re free to enter Bora Bora for up 90 days without a visa every six months. Just make sure your passport is still valid for three months ahead and that you have proof of onward travel as well. 

Is Bora Bora a safe place to travel to?

Yes, Bora Bora is very very safe and the crime levels here are low. Just avoid leaving any valuable items unattended. Theft does occur sometimes. For peace of mind, stick to common sense – don’t leave anything unattended and avoid carrying your valuables around, leave them locked at your hotel.

Good to know

While there’s no U.S embassy in Bora Bora, anytime you have a problem, want to report a crime, or lose your passport, feel free to reach out to the contact below : 

U.S Consul handy:
Centre Tamanu Iti, 1er etage98718 Punaauia
Telephone:+(689) 426-535

Hopefully, by now, you know your way to Bora Bora, what to expect, and what to prepare for a stress-free rejuvenating vacay. If you have any more questions about your trip, don’t hesitate to ask in our FREE ‘Off to Bora Bora’ FB group and someone will surely respond. 

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I’m Billie. With my intimate knowledge of Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora I'm your expert guide to crafting the ultimate vacation in French Polynesia.

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