Tipping in Bora Bora : Everything you need to know + How much to tip

Do you tip in Bora Bora? If so, how much to tip? Read the complete guide on tipping in Bora Bora (when to tip + how much to tip in each situation).

If you’re planning a trip or honeymoon to Bora Bora soon, you may have some questions about tipping in mind, such as: Do you tip in Bora Bora? If so, how much should you tip? No worries, you are not alone; this is one of the most frequently asked questions on the Facebook group.

To help you out, I’ve created this comprehensive guide on tipping in Bora Bora (and tipping in French Polynesia in general), which includes information on when to tip and how much to tip in each situation.

Tipping in French Polynesia: Is it mandatory?

Let’s get straight to the point: tipping is not mandatory in French Polynesia. If you choose not to tip, you will not offend anyone or receive any looks. Unlike American workers, service staff in French Polynesia receive full salaries and do not rely on tips.

That’s the theory, now let’s get down to business.

Tipping in French Polynesia Myth : Is tipping offending?

To start, I’d like to debunk a myth. You may have read on the internet or in obscure forums that locals in French Polynesia might be offended if you tip them. This is simply not true. People in French Polynesia don’t make a lot of money, and living on the islands is very expensive. You won’t find anyone who will turn down money. They will gratefully accept your tip as a nice bonus for them.

Tipping in French Polynesia : So, should you tip?

Whether or not to tip depends on the service you receive. There is no need to tip if you believe the person did nothing more than their job. However, leaving a tip is a nice gesture if you receive excellent service from a nice, caring person. It is a way to express gratitude for excellent service and to recognize hard work. If you feel that the staff have gone above and beyond to make your tour or dinner memorable, consider tipping them.

How much to tip in Bora Bora?

There is no standard tip amount in Bora Bora. You can tip whatever you feel is appropriate based on the service you receive, similar to how it works in Europe. Continue reading this guide to find out what is generally considered a good tip for each type of service.

XPF bank notes

Tipping in resorts – Tipping in Bora Bora

In a resort, you do not need to tip the staff because you are already (kinda) doing so by paying the service charge. The service charge is a percentage that is added to each bill (usually between 5% and 10%). It is shared between all resort employees at the beginning of each year and can represent several months’ pay in good years.

However, you may tip a specific person if you were very pleased with their service. But only do it hand to hand and in cash, not on bills or at the checkout. You will see a space for a tip on every ticket when paying for something in the resort. If you tip on this bill, be aware that the tip will be split among everyone in the service, and the resort will take a (significant) cut before it reaches the employees.

Tipping your butler in Bora Bora

Butler team at the St Regis Bora Bora
St Regis butler team

In some resorts in Bora Bora, such as the St. Regis, you will be assigned a designated butler. The butler service is included in the price of your room, so tipping is not expected, but it is greatly appreciated.

Instead of carrying small bills and tipping after each service, such as a ride, clothes pick-up, or restaurant booking, it is more convenient to tip your butler at the end of your stay if you feel they went above and beyond what was expected.

Please keep in mind that excellent service is always expected for butlers (that is literally the point of their job), so tipping early will not improve the service you’ll receive.

Tipping in restaurants in Bora Bora

Tipping is appropriate if you have a wonderful time at a restaurant that is not located in a resort. When dining out at a restaurant, a tip of between $5 and $10 is already considered to be quite generous. The money is typically stored in a jar before being divided up among all the staff.

Tipping after an activity / tour in Bora Bora

Once again, not expected but will be greatly appreciated if you received a great service and had an amazing time.

$20 and up for shared tour or $50 and up for a private activity is considered a good tip.

Girl swimming with sharks in Bora Bora

There are other simple ways to ensure that your service provider is being compensated fairly :

The easier option is to avoid booking your activities through the resort. The commission for activities in Bora Bora ranges from 22 to 25%. You will pay more for your activities, and the money will not go to the provider’s pocket, but to the resort’s. By booking directly or through a service like Viator, you can help ensure that your service provider is being paid fairly for their hard work.


Also avoid leaving tips for your activities provider at the reception desk. Most of the time, the activity provider won’t hear about it unfortunately.

Tipping taxi in Bora Bora.

Do not tip taxis. Also note that taxis in Bora Bora do not have meter. You need to agree on the price before your hop on to avoid bad surprises.

I want to tip in Bora Bora, is US dollars ok?

tipping in Bora Bora

If you decide to tip people in Bora Bora, you can do so using either XPF (preferred) or US dollars. It is easy for locals on the island to exchange US dollars for the local currency.

And voilà! 😊
Thanks for reading this post all about Bora Bora tipping and how much to tip in Bora Bora.

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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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