If you've found yourself here, you're planning a trip to Bora Bora soon and you are now wondering what to bring in Bora Bora. You're not alone - many people in my Facebook group are in the same boat, this is one of the most question asked every week!
To help you out, I've created the ultimate Bora Bora packing list. It includes all the essential items you may need for your beach vacation, some of which you may not have even considered bringing to Bora Bora.
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Table of Contents
Bora Bora packing list
Before I start the packing list, I think it's important to remind you of a few things. Bora Bora is a very small island and is not a great destination for shopping, so it's better to come prepared.
This will also save you a lot of money, as everything is imported and the prices are a lot more expensive than in the States.
While you will find small boutiques in resorts, any items will come with a hefty price tag.
To ensure that you don't forget anything for your special trip to Bora Bora, I've created the ultimate packing list with essentials to bring. If you're in a hurry here is the list of :
What to pack for Bora Bora
- Suncreen and after sun care (Aloe Vera)
- Rash Guard
- Mosquito repellent
- Floaties + rope
- Snorkeling gear
- Water shoes
- Underwater camera
- Swimwear + cover ups
- Sun hat
- Flip flops
- Beach bag
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Power adapter
- Dry bag
- Bluetooth Tripod
- Reusable water bottle
- Appropriate beauty routine products
- Hydration pills
For the complete post & best references keep reading! ⬇️
Things to bring to Bora Bora
Sunscreen and aloe vera
Yes, this comes in the number one position because a nasty sunburn on the first day can literally ruin your trip.
The sun in Bora Bora is bad, even when it's cloudy, especially when you're in the water. And it’s sneaky, you won't feel the effects until the end of the day… when it’s too late.
And don’t even get me started on sun damage, cancers, wrinkles etc… Sunscreen should be top priority when you pack for Bora Bora.
Here are 4 things to consider when choosing the right sunscreen to pack for Bora Bora:
- Make sure it's waterproof. You're going to spend a lot of time in the water and probably don't want to reapply every 5 minutes.
- Make sure it has a strong SPF index, at least 50, especially if you are not used to the sun.
- Make sure it's reef-safe. Sunscreen is one of the top things that damages coral around the world, so please make sure it's reef-safe.
- Pack enough sunscreen. You will find sunscreen in Bora Bora in case you run out but expect to pay triple.
Also, pack SPF chapsticks. Sunburnt lips are painful, and you don't want to experience it.
Also, bring some after-sun care in case the worst happens. Aloe vera is my go-to, but some Lidocaine lotion can also be a good idea, just in case.
Insider Tip : Keep your aloe vera gel in your mini-fridge. It will feel so good when applying if you are sunburnt.
A rash guard
To avoid any nasty sunburn, I recommend packing a rash guard. It's perfect for activities like jet skiing, boat rides, snorkeling, and all water activities. Just put it on and you're good to go, without having to worry about getting sunburned or having to reapply sunscreen every minute.
Mosquito repellent & Insect repellent
Bora Bora is a tropical island, and as such, you are likely to encounter mosquitoes (including nonos, mosquitoes so small you can barely see them) at some point.
If you are staying at one of the top resorts, you may not need to worry as they often treat against mosquitoes. However, some garden villas can still be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
If you plan to leave the resort for activities or dinner outside, it's best to have mosquito repellent with DEET, which is the most effective. Natural repellents are not very effective against the aggressive tropical mosquitoes.
Floaties + rope
If you've booked an overwater bungalow during your stay (which I highly recommend), you'll be glad you packed an inflatable float!
I suggest bringing two types of floats: one for taking Instagram-worthy pictures, like a giant flamingo or a maxi inflatable wedding ring, and one that's smaller but more comfortable for floating around all day with a drink in hand.
If you're wondering how to inflate them, know that your butler or the beach boys at your resort will be happy to help.
Insider tip : Bring a bit of rope so you can tie your floats to the bungalow and relax without worrying about drifting too far away.
You can also join the Facebook group where many travelers offer their floats for free to the next guests at the end of their stay.
A snorkeling gear.
Snorkeling is the most popular activity in Bora Bora, so you'll need a snorkeling set.
Although snorkeling equipment is available for free at most resorts and water activities, it's safe to say that they are not always of high quality. Some have been in use for years and are not perfectly cleaned after each guest, which also involves sharing mouthpieces with others .
If you are uncomfortable with this idea (I am), it is recommended that you bring your own equipment.
By doing so, you can be confident in its quality and cleanliness, and also have it with you at all times, ready to go on a snorkeling adventure anywhere.
If you're new to snorkeling, I recommend starting with a full-face mask that allows you to breathe normally through both your mouth and nose. If you're confident enough to free dive, a regular mask is preferable (you won't be able to go underwater with a full face mask).
Insider Tip : Remember to bring anti-fog spray to keep the fog out of your mask. Snorkeling with a foggy mask can be very frustrating.
This may not be obvious, so let me explain. In Bora Bora, you'll encounter a lot of coral. Coral is sharp and may cut your feet if you step on it. Therefore, it's a good idea to bring water shoes to protect your feet. They may not be super sexy, but they will do the job.
An underwater camera
Bora Bora's snorkeling is some of the best in the world, so make sure to capture some footage to show your friends and family. These are a lot of fun to look back on. You want that shark selfie, don't you?
Bring a good underwater camera with you. GoPro never disappoints when it comes to underwater or action cameras.
I've been using their products for years and they're fantastic and reliable. They also come with an app that handles video editing for you, which is extremely convenient.
DJI is another excellent, more affordable option. In any case make sure to buy a floating handle so it does not end up at the bottom of the Pacific ocean (like maaaaaany GoPro before) if you drop it.
Insider tip : Want to know how to get that amazing over/under effect? The trick is to use a dome accessory. This will assist you in capturing that stunning shot. Also, if you plan to go scuba diving, you will need an extra case for your GoPro. The buttons on the GoPro will get stuck after reaching a depth of 10-12 meters due to the pressure (but will work fine back to the surface, no worries).
Swimwear (a lot of it)
Here's an important tip: don't overpack clothes.
You'll be spending most of your South Pacific dream vacation at the beach in your swimwear. I recommend bringing multiple swimsuits (at least 3), and also packing some nice cover-ups to walk around.
Well, this one is obvious... but let's make it cute! Check out this adorable sun hat. If you're on your honeymoon, it could be fun to get a personalized sun hat.
Pretty obvious too but in hot weather, closed-toed shoes may not be comfortable and decks can become too hot to walk barefoot during the day. Flip flops can be a useful alternative in these situations.
Some fancy resorts will give you a beach bag (like St Regis and Conrad), but it's better to bring your own. Toss all your stuff in and hit the beach!
If you plan to hike or book a land activity like an ATV tour, make sure to bring hiking shoes.
Waterproof rain jacket
Whether you're traveling during the summer months /rainy season (November to March) or the dry season, French Polynesia tropical climate is always unpredictable, year round.
This means you may encounter tropical showers at some point, so it's a good idea to include a compact rain jacket when you pack for Bora Bora.
The socket type in French Polynesia differs from that in the United States, so you will need an adapter. While some resorts can lend you one, it's more convenient to travel with your own. I recommend buying a universal adapter so you can use it in other countries for your next trip.
💡 Pro tip: Make sure to also pack a compact power strip so you can charge all your devices at once.
Insider tip : If you plan to use a high-power hair styling tool (like a curling iron), it may not work due to the different power supply. The problem is not with your appliance, but rather the limited power supply. In this case, you will need to borrow a converter from the resort.
A waterproof dry bag
Chances are you'll be spending a lot of time around water and on boats during your trip. Bringing a dry bag is a good idea to keep your room key and personal items safe and dry at all times, especially during activities.
You can even take it into the water with you (ideal for kayaking or paddle boarding) and it will float, which is convenient if you drop it.
A waterproof phone pouch
A waterproof phone pouch can keep your phone - and the precious memories stored within - safe and dry.
While it's possible to take pictures underwater with a pouch like this, ⚠️⚠️⚠️ I would recommend being extra cautious with this practice. I have read about bad experiences from travelers in the Off to Bora Bora Facebook group.
An underwater camera is definitely a safer option for capturing underwater photos and keep your phone safe.
A Bluetooth Waterproof Speaker
Some resorts (like the Conrad) have awesome Bluetooth sound systems on rooms and overwater bungalows, but unfortunately, not all of them do. If you want to relax on you the deck of your overwater bungalow or watch the sunset with music to set the mood, consider bringing a portable Bluetooth speaker when you pack for Bora Bora. Make sure it's waterproof, as you'll likely be around water a lot. You can even go paddle boarding in music with it!
A bluetooth tripod (with a remote)
As a photographer who has worked in Bora Bora for five years, I highly recommend doing a photoshoot while there to capture memories that will last a lifetime.
However, if you don't want to spend money on a photoshoot, consider investing in a Bluetooth tripod with a remote. This may not seem obvious, but it's actually one of the top recommendations from previous travelers in the Facebook group.
This will allow you to take pictures with both of you in the frame (I'm talking to you, Instagram husbands who are never in the pictures 😜) against beautiful Bora Bora landscapes.
A reusable water bottle
This item can save you a lot of money (and help the environment at the same time). Bottled water in Bora Bora is expensive, and since it's hot, you will likely drink a lot, which can add up quickly.
You could spend up to $10 four times a day for seven days per person. I'll let you do the math, but imagine all the fun things (like a shared snorkeling tour) you could do with that money. 😏
You can safely drink tap water in Bora Bora. If you're not 100% comfortable with that, bring a Lifestraw bottle that filters the water for you, removing any dirt or bacteria.
You can also refill your bottle for free at the resort's gym.
If you travel with your water bottle in your carry on remember to empty it before going through security.
You probably already know, but it's always good to remember: food is expensive in Bora Bora. Like, really expensive.
Grocery stores on the main island are not easily accessible if you're staying in a motu resort and a small pack of peanuts in your mini bar will cost you $5 to $10. If you want to save money, it's a good idea to bring your own snacks.
I also recommend buying a meal plan that includes breakfast and dinner. You'll likely skip lunch and want to have some snacks on hand. Dried fruit, cereal bars, nuts, and jerky are great options. Just avoid chips, as they might explode in your luggage.
Speaking of saving money, if food is expensive, wait until you see the prices for alcoholic beverages. Expect to pay around $25 to $30 for a cocktail in a resort. But here's some good news: there's an easy way to cut costs on alcohol - just bring your own!
Every traveler to Bora Bora is allowed to bring 2 liters of wine or 2 liters of spirits, so make sure to take advantage of it (in checked luggage, not carry on). You'll just need to buy some mixers at a local grocery store (or order through room service), mix it in a nice tumbler, and voila! You just saved hundreds of dollars 🤑. There are ice machines throughout the resorts if you need ice.
You can also buy some alcohol at duty-free upon arrival. This tip may sound cheap, but I promise that the resorts are okay with it and no one will give you looks.
Also read :
Appropriate beauty routine products
With the heat and humidity, chances are your usual beauty routine just won't do. You also probably won't wear as much makeup as you do at home. I've spent 5 years in Bora Bora working all day under sun, in the heat, and here are my go-to products for your tropical beauty routine to inspire you when you pack for bora bora.
- SPF Face Cream: I always apply this to my skin first. You don't want to mess with the Bora Bora sun.
- Tinted moisturizer: If you are like me, chances are you won't be able to stand heavy foundation on your skin under the sun. A tinted moisturizing cream is a good alternative.
- Waterproof mascara: This one is great and won't budge, even if you spend a day in the water.
- Chapstick with SPF: Yes, your lips can burn too. I've experienced it firsthand and would not recommend it. Make sure to protect your lips.
- Tangle Teezer: I have super long hair and nothing untangles it better than a Tangle Teezer, even after a day (or two) of sea and sun. Once you try it, you won't go back.
- Hair care: Sun and salt can harm your hair pretty badly. Make sure to pack some hair care products to keep that mermaid hair look on point.
Pack your beauty products in a nice hanging toiletry bag. This is a helpful way to save time when packing and unpacking, as well as keeping everything organized.
Here's my secret weapon 🤫: I ALWAYS travel with hydration pills. Between the long flight hours, the heat, and the high cost of water bottles ($10!), you can quickly become dehydrated. This can lead to headaches, irritability (not ideal for a honeymoon 😏), and a general feeling of sluggishness. These guys are lifesavers, so make sure to pack some before you go to stay alive and kicking at all time!
Bora Bora Packing Tips
When packing for your trip to Bora Bora, be careful not to exceed the weight limit for your luggage. Both companies for inter island flights (Air Tahiti & Air Moana) have very strict baggage allowance. Your luggage will be weighed (both checked luggage and carry-on), and you'll need to pay extra fees if you exceed the limit.
The weight allowance is the same for both inter island flights companies (Air Tahiti & Air Moana):
- 1 hand baggage and 1 accessory (like a laptop) per passenger – maximum combined weight 5kg (11lb).
- Hold luggage with a standard ticket – maximum weight 23kg (50lb).
- Hold luggage with a special ticket with additional weight allowance – maximum weight 46kg (100lb).
Make sure the info are still up to date by checking with the companies : Air Tahiti / Air Moana.
Things not to to pack for Bora Bora
Here’s complete list of a few things that you can leave at home:
- Hairdryer: All resorts will provide one.
- Flashlight: Just use your phone.
- Expensive jewelry: You would be surprised at the treasures that can be found at the bottom of the ocean in Bora Bora. Don't risk it - leave your expensive fine jewelry at home. A silicone band ring is a good alternative for your trip.
- Too many clothes: You'll spend most of your time in swimwear and swim cover ups, so don't overpack with clothes.
- High heels: You will never wear them.
And... voilà! I hope this very complete packing list for Bora Bora will be helpful :D