A couple weeks ago a lot of us shelled out $100 to watch what was pegged as the fight of the century (Maywether V Mcgregor). What we ended up getting was a half way decent brawl that was fueled by a heavyweight style marketing campaign which involved a world wide dissing tour that stopped just short of “yo mama” jokes.
When it comes to travel, there is no place that gets talked about more than these two powerhouses; Bora Bora and The Maldives. Like Mayweather V Mcgregor there is a massive size marketing campaign behind these dream destinations designed to lure travelers that are ready to part with their money in exchange of a dreamy experience. So, do they fit the bill? or is it all marketing fluff just designed to get into your wallets and pocket books?
I can happily report back after visiting these two islands within a 6 month period of each other that both destinations deliver exactly what they promise. In a world that marketing will have you believe that an energy drink will make you grow a pair…of wings, Bora Bora and The Maldives both look better in person than any social media vlog, postcard, or cheesy hotel promo video can encapsulate and disseminate. But then the begging question is if you were to choose one Island, which one would it be? Let the bout begin…
Round 1: Getting There (from the US)
Both destinations are incredibly tough to get to and require long flights. In general Bora Bora is easier to get to from the west coast and The Maldives is easier from the east but easy is a relative term in this case.
To get to The Maldives you will need to fly to Male (MLE) the capital city of The Maldives which means that you will need to have at least 1 connecting flight (most probably 2 or more) as there are no direct flights from the US to Male. From there you will need to either take a seaplane or a speedboat to get to your resort. Most resorts in the Maldives will arrange the seaplane or speedboat transfer for you (for a fee)so no need to make other bookings on your own besides your international flight. Because of the difficulty in getting to The Maldives you can expect your travel time to be no less than 20 hours and in some cases much longer.
For Bora Bora you will need to fly to Papeete (PPT) and then take a domestic flight to Bora Bora (BOB). The only nonstop flights to PPT from US mainland are through LA so if you live in the LA area your trip to Bora Bora is much easier. For everyone else, you will need to connect at LAX before going onto PPT. The PPT to BOB route is serviced by Air Tahiti and you will need to make the booking yourself as the resorts don’t arrange this for you like in The Maldives. Once in Bora Bora you will need to take either a ferry to the main island Vaitape if your resort is on the main island or a speedboat to your resort.
All being said, both islands are remote and tough to get to but Bora Bora will be a bit less troublesome than The Maldives for US travelers. Bora Bora
Bora Bora 1/ Maldives 0
Round 2: The Resorts
When it comes to fancy luxury resorts it doesn’t get any better than in these two destinations. Bora Bora has some fine resorts with big names like St. Regis, Four Seasons, and The Conrad to name a few however some of these properties are a bit dated when comparing to resorts found in The Maldives. At the time of this post Bora Bora has approximately 30 internationally rated hotels whereas The Maldives has 3-4 times that many resorts. That translates into having a wide range of options for everyone and it also means that the resorts in The Maldives tend to be more luxurious and newer than that of Bora Bora.
In fact this is an example of when a positive thing can be too good for it’s own good. There are so many amazing resorts in The Maldives that you’ll likely go numb trying to select a resort to book. For that reason this is one of the destinations that I would recommend using a Travel Agent to book your accommodations unless you are willing and prepared to spend countless hours researching different properties. There is no questions that the Maldives is an amazing place but a bad resort can ruin even a dreamy destination so make sure to select a resort that meets all of your needs. That being said, you’ll have plenty of great options. The Maldives
Bora Bora 1/ Maldives 1
Round 3: The Islands
Both have incredibly gorgeous islands so this will depend entirely on personal preference. Bora Bora is a gorgeous mountainous island surrounded by impeccable views of greenery and mountains that will leave nature lovers in awe. The Maldives is a group of over 1,000 coral islands grouped in 26 Atolls. There is less nature in The Maldives but where it lacks in nature it makes up with it’s crystal clear waters and spectacular reefs.
Both destinations have spectacular sea-life but I would have to give the nod to The Maldives here for having a better diversity of sea-life in high numbers. Keep in mind that some resorts have better house reefs than others so if sea-life is important to you, you should research the house reef before booking your desired resort.
As noted above, it will depend on personal preference as to which set of islands is better than the other. My personal opinion is that The Maldives is simply a more picturesque set of islands with crystal clear waters, white sands and gorgeous lagoons that look better in person than they do even in the photoshoped post cards. The Maldives
Bora Bora 1/ Maldives 2
Round 4: Activities
I’m the kind of guy that could lay around in both of these destinations and wither away in paradise all day for several consecutive months 🙂 but if you’re different and need to be moving around doing stuff they both have a good amount of water sports. You’ll find the usual suspects; snorkeling, diving, jet skiing, parasailing, fishing, etc however you will find much more land based activities in Bora Bora than you would in The Maldives. On a side note, I would advice anyone going to Bora Bora to stay a couple of days in close-by island Moorea (it’s spectacular) and do all desired land based activities in Moorea and spend most of your time in and around the water in the gorgeous lagoons of Bora Bora. The lagoons that surround Bora Bora are so beautiful that you should spend as much time as possible enjoying it and do all land based activities in Moorea which is a better island for land based activities.
Because you are likely to spend most of your time on your resort island in The Maldives you are limited in the arena of activities so Bora Bora takes the crown for activity junkies! Bora Bora
Bora Bora 2/ Maldives 2
Round 5: Dining
I don’t doubt that most of us won’t have any trouble gaining the vacation pounds at both of these destinations but if quality of food is important to you than it’s going to really depend on the resort of your choosing. Bora Bora is a french controlled territory so you should already know that the food all over the island is going to be pretty darn good but if you care to venture to the main island to sample food at a variance of local options it’s fairly easy to do so. The same can’t be said about The Maldives as it’s not as easy to get to Male from your resort and could be costly. Another thing to keep in mind is that The Maldives is a strict Muslim nation therefore foreigners should be careful about their attire while in the capital and show little to no signs of PDA. For that reason I think Bora Bora wins out here since you will likely have more options instead of being restricted only to resort dining. Bora Bora
Bora Bora 3/ Maldives 2
Round 6: The Over-water Bungalows
Lets face it, what makes these two places jaw dropping are the over water bungalows. Sure, the water is crystal clear and the sand is as white as snow but there are beaches in the Caribbean that could boast the same. If you travel through the numerous connecting flights, seaplanes and speedboats to get to either Bora Bora or The Maldives, you had better spend at least one night in an over water bungalow if you can’t do it throughout your stay.
The Maldives is the clear winner here. The sheer abundance of resorts that have over water bungalows has driven the prices down to reasonable rates. Depending on the season you can usually expect to pay over $1,000 per night to get an over water bungalow at a 5 star resort in Bora Bora however in the Maldives you can get the same in the $600 per night range. It’s also intensified the war for your business which has culminated into gorgeous new and renovated bungalows such as the recently opened Soneva Jani that has over the top bungalows complete with your own private water slide that runs into the ocean.
The over water bungalows in Bora Bora are gorgeous and luxurious but when compared to the ones in The Maldives they tend to be older and are a notch below. The Maldives
Bora Bora 3/ Maldives 3…We have a tie.
OK, you probably didn’t want to read through all the above to come to a tie but the truth is that both Bora Bora and The Maldives are two amazing destinations so I would recommend traveling to both if you can. If you must select one than you should ask yourself what is more important to you. If luxury 5 star accommodations is what’s important than you would probably prefer The Maldives as I do. If nature and activities rank up pretty high on your list of priorities than Bora Bora might be more to your liking. Which ever destination you decide on there is one thing that is for sure, you’re gonna have an amazing vacation. Safe travels!
Not enough info in this post to make up your mind? Check out our Vlogs from both Bora Bora & The Maldives below
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