I’m so excited to FINALLY be sharing a recap of our honeymoon trip to Bora Bora. We were in Bora Bora for 11 days and had the most amazing time. I have so much to share and I’d like to keep it to one post so bare with me here! I’ll try to break it down as best as possible.
This is the first question everyone asks. How long did it take to get there? I hate to break it to you but it is not an easy trek. It’s about 4+ hours further southwest from Hawaii so add that on to however long it takes you to get to Hawaii – by plane of course.
From Chicago you have to fly through LA or Hawaii. We decided to fly through LA. It took us 4 hours to get from Chicago to LA – that was Leg #1. We stayed a few nights in LA but you don’t have to you’ll just have a layover. From LA we took an 8 hour flight to Tahiti – that was leg #2. Our flight from LA to Tahiti was in the middle of the night which is really the only way to do it. I think that is actually the only flight option but regardless you definitely want to be able to sleep through the 8 hour flight. Tahiti and Bora Bora are 5 hours behind Chicago so it was around 4 AM when we arrived in Tahiti. From Tahiti, we took a one hour flight to Bora Bora that got us in around 6 AM – that was leg #3. The airport is on it’s own little island so no matter where you’re staying, you have to take a water taxi from the airport so that was leg #4. Your hotel will most likely have a water taxi service set up and ready for you so that isn’t something you have to book but you may have to pay for it. We did this same travel path in reverse on the way home except with a 5 hour layover in Tahiti which wasn’t ideal. All in all it ends up being a solid 24 hours of travel each way. While that sounds exhausting, it is absolutely worth it!! To break it down a little more here is what it looks like
Chicago –> LA: 4 Hours
Layover: You can book any airline to LAX but from there you’ll likely fly Air Tahiti. You’ll want to leave yourself at least 2-3 hours to make the transfer. I’m not 100% sure on this but I believe that once you get to LA you have to claim your bags and then re-check them along with yourself at the Air Tahiti Kiosk so you will definitely want to leave yourself enough time!
LA –> Tahiti: 8 Hours
Layover: You will definitely need to claim your bags and re-check them in when you get to Tahiti so you’ll also want to leave some time here however, the Tahiti airport is much smaller and it doesn’t take as long to do. I think we had a 2 hour layover and had plenty of time to sit and wait.
Tahiti –> Bora Bora: 1 Hour, Don’t worry this is not a small little puddle jumper. While it is a propeller plane, it seats about 50-70 people and was not scary at all!
Water Taxi: About 20-30 minutes! This hardly feels like travel because you just arrived in an incredibly beautiful place and are just taking in all the sights!
Where We Stayed
Ryan and I stayed at the Four Seasons Bora Bora and I can’t recommend it enough. The customer service was incredible from the moment we landed at the airport to the minute they dropped us back off for our flight home. Not only did most of the staff know us by name by the third day of the trip, they also knew what excursions we had planned for the day and made sure to remind us what time to check in and what we needed for the days activities.
We stayed in an overwater bungalow that was pristine. It was a bit of a walk from the main area of the resort which we were upset about at first but we quickly realized it wasn’t a big deal at all since it was pretty much the only exercise we got during our stay. It only took us about 5-10 minutes to get to breakfast, the beach, pool etc. We opted for a mountain view which I definitely recommend. It is a little more expensive but a lot more picturesque. Our bungalow had sliding glass doors that opened up to the most beautiful view of the bluest water you’ve ever seen and the greenest mountainside. It was stunning! We also had our own little dock that we could swim off of.
The Four Seasons also did a great job of organizing activities throughout the day for guests. They had complimentary snorkeling in the lagoon, flower crown making, Pareo making other fun lessons about coconuts and Polynesian culture.
I will say that while the Four Seasons was incredible its definitely pricey – not only when it comes to room rates but the food as well (more on that below). We had been warned that things were expensive on Bora Bora in general but really had a bit of sticker shock when we got to the resort. If you’re pushing the budget with room rates I would suggest staying somewhere that’s a little less expensive. Even if the room rate is just slightly cheaper, chances are the food & drink will be a little more budget friendly as well which can really add up. I can’t speak to prices at any of the other hotels but Trip Advisor can be really helpful!
Where we Ate
So as I mentioned above, this one of the areas I feel I need to give a little warning on. If you are staying at a resort like The Four Seasons or any of the other major resorts that are not located on the main Island, it’s pretty difficult to get to the main island. There is no town you can just walk into which is great for many reasons but also something we with we had known. The Four Seasons had two shuttles a day. One that takes you to the main island at 1 PM and brings you back at 4 PM and one that takes you there at 6 PM and brings you back at 10 PM. Because of this, you will probably eat almost every meal at your resort. The Four Seasons has three restaurants that were all pretty good but everything is VERY expensive. I’m talking like $45 Cheeseburger on the beach expensive. From what I’ve heard this is pretty typical of Bora Bora in general but I’m sure there are other resorts that are just as nice that come in a little lower in price.
Arii Moana: This is the fanciest restaurant at the resort. It’s only open for dinner and serves traditional Polynesian and French food. Its very high end and pricey but very delicious. We only ate there once because everything is so laid back in Bora Bora you we didn’t really feel like going to a big fancy dinner.
Fare Hoa Beach Bar and Grill: This is the beach bar that is open for lunch. You can eat at the restaurant or have food brought to your pool or beach chairs. Everything we had for lunch was pretty good but as I mentioned pricy! For dinner they feature rotating theme nights with a set menu/buffet. This helped to make it feel like you have more dinner options. We went for BBQ night and Polynesian night which included traditional Polynesian dancers and flame throwers. It was nice to get a little show with dinner!
Sunset Restaurant and Bar: This is an Asian inspired restaurant with sushi, noodles and other entree’s. It’s right on the water which is really nice. If we didn’t eat here for dinner we usually stopped by for a drink before or after dinner. This was our favorite spot on the resort with the best food/price.
We at at Sunset Restaurant & Bar two or three times, Fare Hoa Beach Bar and Grill two times for dinner and lunch every day, Arii Moana one time and ordered room service one night. We went off the Island for dinner one night and ate at Bloody Mary’s which is super touristy but it was just a fun experience and atmosphere. We also had a private dinner organized by the Resort another night which was such a special night. You can read a little bit more about it in this post. I would say if you want to splurge on dinner one night its worth it to do the private sunset cruise and dinner instead of going to Arii Moana. There are a few other places that are supposed to be good to eat on the main Island but I honestly didn’t feel like it wasn’t going to be worth the trek.
One of the great food and beverage perks at the Four Seasons is that a complimentary brunch buffet is included with your room rate. Although you’re definitely paying for it, the buffet was AMAZING I still miss it to this day! We usually didn’t get to breakfast until around 10 AM so we were never that hungry for a big lunch which helped. They had everything from salmon and lox and omelets to crepes and smoothies plus tons of yummy fresh juices!
One piece of advice that I received but didn’t listen to was to bring a bottle of your own alcohol on the trip. You can buy it in the duty free shop in LAX. Not only were drinks incredibly expensive ($25 for a margarita) but we just wanted some stuff in our room to be able to make drinks and sit on our balcony and there is no way to get to a connivence store to get alcohol or snacks so you’ll want to get that before you leave the states. We ended up buying a small fifth of Absolute vodka through room service which was $80. A bottle of Grey Goose was $200.
What We Did
We wanted a good combination of relaxation and adventure and we definitely got that! I have to give major props to Ryan who researched and booked all of our amazing excursions. What I loved about the excursions is that they were lead by the locals who were all so passionate about their culture so we got to learn so much from them about French Polynesia, the Islands and their history. The two big excursions we did were snorkeling with sharks and stingrays and deep sea fishing. We also did a Spa day!
Snorkeling with Sharks & Stingrays: I was absolutely terrified for this but it turned out to be one of the coolest experiences ever. The Sharks we swam with were lemon sharks which are just big enough to feel a little scary but they’re not going to rip your arm off. They got as close as 5 feet and as long as we didn’t provoke them they just ignored us. They weren’t even bothering with the fish swimming around us. The stingrays actually had their stingers taken out so they were also safe. Our guide was literally picking them up and hugging them! If you can only do one excursion on your trip I highly suggest this one!
Deep Sea Fishing: If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that we caught a 60lb Mahi Mahi. This was during our deep sea fishing trip. It was SO cool. Ryan absolutely loved it and despite the fact that I got pretty sea sick I thought it was an incredible experience. You can go deep sea fishing anywhere but doing it in Bora Bora is next level. you don’t have to go far off the coast to be in deep water with huge fish.
Spa Day: The Four Seasons spa was amazing. We had a massage, scrub and facial. The room faced the ocean so we just listened to the waves crashing while we had our treatments done. If you don’t want to pay for a treatment, the spa facilities are still open to everyone at the resort. There is a relaxation room, two gorgeous decks one that looks out to the mountain and one that looks out to the ocean and yummy complimentary drinks. bring your own face mask and hang out there for a DIY spa afternoon if it’s rainy!
When weren’t out exploring we were just hanging out on the beach relaxing. The water was so warm in the Lagoon so it was nice to be able to jump in for a dip when we got too hot. We also rented Jet Skis right at the resort which was such a gorgeous way to see the Island!
Overall Thoughts On Bora Bora
Bora Bora has such a special place in my heart for obvious reasons – it’s where I spend my first days with my husband as his wife. But, Bora Bora has impacted me in more ways than I ever thought it would. Not only is it beautiful beyond belief, it is so untouched, un-westernized and organic. The people live simply and they are the nicest people I have ever met. We didn’t meet a single person who came off as negative, mean or rude person even for one second. It was truly eye opening and so refreshing to see people who were so happy and filled with so much joy living such simple lives. It took unplugging to a whole new level and what I learned from the people in Bora Bora is something I hope to try to instill in myself and my life back here in the states. It was honestly exactly what I needed (and I think Ryan too) after the a year and a half of wedding planning. I plan to write a separate post with more detail on this topic soon because something about our trip that really impacted me.
All in all, while Bora Bora is expensive and tough to get to, it is so worth it. If it’s something that is attainable for you then add it to your list! Whether you want to take a solo trip to do some soul searching or are looking for a honeymoon or anniversary trip destination, it’s one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been to. You literally feel like you’re staring at a computer screen saver its so beautiful it doesn’t even look real!