If you’re looking for a tropical vacation then you may be trying to choose between Bora Bora and the Bahamas.
Both destinations are uniquely different and offer a fantastic vacation that you’ll remember for life.
This ultimate guide will highlight the key differences between Bora Bora and the Bahamas to help you decide which to visit.
Bora Bora vs Bahamas – Summary
Bora Bora is known for its luxury overwater bungalows, turquoise lagoon and epic extinct volcano, Mount Otemanu, which can be seen from all over the island.
People visit Bora Bora to relax and unwind, experience world-class snorkeling and for the breathtaking views.
The Bahamas is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear water and lively nightlife. The Bahamas also has a bustling capital city, Nassau, which is fun to explore.
It’s the only place in the world where you can swim with pigs and it offers vibrant coral reefs with lots of marine life.
In a hurry? Here’s a quick overview of the key differences between Bora Bora and the Bahamas:
- The Bahamas is much busier compared with Bora Bora. Fewer people visit Bora Bora every year so you’ll easily be able to find some peace and quiet.
- Bora Bora feels a lot more exotic and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in local culture.
- A vacation in Bora Bora will cost a lot more than a vacation in the Bahamas (about double).
- In Bora Bora, you have the chance to stay in an overwater bungalow. There are no overwater bungalows in the Bahamas.
- It will take you much longer to get to Bora Bora compared with the Bahamas if you live in the US or Europe.
- Bora Bora is tailored to couples so feels very romantic and is the ideal honeymoon destination. The Bahamas is great for both couples and families.
- The best time to visit Bora Bora is between May and October however the best time to visit the Bahamas is between December and April.
- You’ll find a wider range of activities, restaurants and shops in the Bahamas compared with Bora Bora.
In the rest of this post, I’ll go into more detail on each of the above.
I’ve compared a range of different aspects including hotels, cost, things to do, location and so much more to help you decide between Bora Bora and the Bahamas.
Bora Bora vs Bahamas – Location
Bora Bora is a small island in French Polynesia that is located in the South Pacific Ocean.
The Bahamas is a group of over 700 islands located in the Caribbean, just off the coast of Florida.
Check out the map below to see the location of Bora Bora and the Bahamas:
As you can see, Bora Bora is much further from the USA than the Bahamas. In fact, it will probably take you at least double the time to get to Bora Bora.
Here’s the average travel time from the US to each location:
- A flight from Los Angeles to the Bahamas takes around 7 & a half hours.
- A flight from Los Angeles to Bora Bora takes at least 14 hours (sometimes over 24 hours).
- A flight from New York to the Bahamas takes around 3 hours.
- A flight from New York to Bora Bora takes at least 21 hours (often much more).
Due to its location, traveling to Bora Bora from the US or Europe will take much longer than traveling to the Bahamas.
Tip: If you happen to live in Australia or New Zealand then Bora Bora will be much closer to you than the Bahamas.
Bahamas vs Bora Bora – Best Time To Visit
If having the absolute best weather possible is important to you then it’s worth knowing the best months to travel to each location.
Bora Bora and the Bahamas have completely different high seasons.
Note: High season is usually the best time to travel as the weather is dry. You can save some money by traveling during low season but you may experience some bad weather.
The best time to visit Bora Bora is between May and October however the best time to visit the Bahamas is between December and April.
Best Time to Visit Bora Bora
The best time to visit Bora Bora is during high season which runs from May to October.
The weather during this time is hot and dry which is why so many tourists choose to visit during these months.
You can expect peak temperatures between 78ºF and 80ºF (26ºC to 27ºC).
Low seasons runs from December to March when the weather is more wet. It’s still hot during these months and many tourists choose to visit during this time to save some money.
You can expect temperatures around 82ºF (28ºC) but be prepared for the occasional rain shower.
Find out about hurricane season in Bora Bora.
Best Time to Visit the Bahamas
The best time to visit the Bahamas is during high season which runs from mid-December to mid-April.
This is also the dry season so you’ll get very little rain and gorgeous, blue skies.
During these months you can expect peak temperatures between 78ºF and 82ºF (26ºC and 28ºC).
Low seasons runs from June until November. The weather during these months is still hot but it does rain often.
Peak temperatures average around 82ºF to 89ºC (28ºC to 32ºC) during low season.
Bora Bora or Bahamas – Things To Do
There are lots of things to do in both locations however you may find that one suits you more than the other.
Here’s a quick comparison of the things to do in both Bora Bora and the Bahamas:
- Overall there is a wider range of activities available in the Bahamas compared with Bora Bora.
- Activities in Bora Bora mainly revolve around the lagoon so you can expect snorkeling, swimming and boat tours.
- You can do all of these activities in the Bahamas too but you can also go shopping, visit a waterpark, get street food, visit historical sites and so much more.
- Shopping is much better in the Bahamas compared with Bora Bora. You’ll find almost zero shopping opportunities in Bora Bora.
- You can go snorkeling in both locations, however snorkeling is slightly better in Bora Bora.
- In the Bahamas, you can swim with pigs as they have a beach which has a population of pigs living on it. There are no pigs in Bora Bora.
- There is very little nightlife in Bora Bora however you’ll find a vibrant nightlife scene in the Bahamas (especially Nassau).
Things To Do in Bora Bora
Pretty much all activities in Bora Bora revolve around the turquoise lagoon with the towering green volcano, Mt Otemanu, sitting in the middle.
It’s truly breathtaking and you’ll not be able to get enough of it.
Top Activities in Bora Bora:
- Snorkeling in the lagoon (there’s a lot of marine life)
- Boat tour around the lagoon
- Relaxing on the beach (or on the deck of your overwater bungalow)
- Head to the spa for a massage
There is very little nightlife in Bora Bora so you’ll find that there is little to do in the evenings. I did write a guide on the best things to do in Bora Bora at night for some inspiration.
There’s also basically no shopping opportunities in Bora Bora. If anything you’ll be able to buy a few local craft items from a stall but you’ll certainly find no shopping malls or large stores here.
What you can do though is jump into the lagoon for a swim with some fish, rays and even reef sharks (don’t worry, the sharks are friendly).
You can also hike up Mount Otemanu. At the top, you’ll find an ancient cave and panoramic views of the island.
Bora Bora is largely tailored towards couples, especially those on a honeymoon. It’s super romantic and you’ll find that the peace and quiet is just what you need.
Families with children will likely prefer the Bahamas although they do have a really fun kids club at the Four Seasons in Bora Bora.
Things To Do in the Bahamas
The Bahamas offers a huge range of activities from snorkeling and scuba diving to shopping and waterparks.
Top Activities in the Bahamas:
- Scuba diving around Andros Barrier Reef
- Have a fun day out at Paradise Island Water Park
- Search for hidden coves and beaches in Eleuthera
- Visit Thunderball Grotto (where they filmed the 1965 James Bond movie)
- Swim with dolphins
- Explore downtown Nassau
- Try some street food at Fish Fry in Arawak Cay
The Bahamas is a great location for avid scuba divers as the Andros Barrier Reef is the 3rd largest barrier reef in the whole world (it’s 190 miles long!).
If you’re looking for a picture-perfect beach then the Bahamas has everything you need and more. Long white sandy stretches of beach? Check!
If you love exploring cities, you can wander the streets of downtown Nassau. It’s filled with tons of pretty pastel colored buildings that make for the perfect Instagram photo.
In Nassau, you can visit rum distilleries, markets, Fort Fincastle and the Queen’s Staircase, art galleries and so much more.
Bahamas vs Bora Bora – Cost
The cost of a vacation is often one of the most important things to consider when planning a trip.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how much it will cost to visit Bora Bora or the Bahamas:
- A vacation in Bora Bora will be much more expensive than a vacation in the Bahamas.
- On average, you’ll spend half as much money if you visit the Bahamas instead of Bora Bora (if you’re traveling from the US or Europe).
Cost of a Vacation in Bora Bora
For more detailed information, check out my complete guide on how much a trip to Bora Bora costs (it includes a full cost breakdown).
The average cost for a week-long vacation in Bora Bora is around $11,000 for two people.
The above price includes a stay in an overwater bungalow.
If you stay in a regular hotel instead then the average cost drops to around $7,900 for two people.
These estimates also assume that you’re traveling from the US (it will be much cheaper if you’re in Australia/New Zealand and a bit more expensive if you’re in Europe).
The average nightly price for an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora is between $750 and $2500.
You can significantly reduce this cost if you stay in a more basic hotel and don’t stay in an overwater bungalow.
For many people the cost is worth it as it’s a once in a lifetime kinda vacation.
Most people spend around $200 per day on activities, around $150 on food and around $50 on transportation. These estimates are per person.
Of course, you can spend much less if you choose to do less activities and dine in budget restaurants.
Cost of a Vacation in the Bahamas
The average cost for a week-long vacation in the Bahamas is around $5,850 for two people.
Most people spend around $200 per day on activities, around $45 on food and around $30 on transportation. These estimates are per person.
The average price for a hotel in the Bahamas is $200 per night. Prices can go up to over $1,000 per night for super fancy hotels like Grand Hyatt Baha Mar or The Atlantis.
There are lots of budget friendly places to stay too.
Bora Bora vs Bahamas – Beaches
If you are picking between these two locations then I’m guessing you love beaches. Who doesn’t, right!?
Here’s what you can expect from the beaches in Bora Bora and the Bahamas:
- You’ll find more peace and quiet in Bora Bora as the beaches are more quiet than the Bahamas.
- The sand is much softer in the Bahamas. On some beaches in Bora Bora, you may need to wear water shoes to protect your feet from the sharp coral.
- There are more beaches in the Bahamas compared with Bora Bora. You’ll also find much longer stretches of beaches in the Bahamas.
- The water clarity is outstanding in Bora Bora, it’s probably the clearest water you’ll ever see. The water is still pretty clear in the Bahamas but not quite as good as Bora Bora.
- The Bahamas has pink sand beaches as well as white sand beaches. Bora Bora only has white sand beaches.
Bora Bora Beaches
Bora Bora does have some very beautiful beaches but they are limited and often fairly small.
Bora Bora pretty much revolves around the vibrant blue lagoon with Mount Otemanu standing tall in the center. There are some beaches that look out into the lagoon but not a huge amount.
Most of Bora Bora’s luxury resorts are set on private islands which come with their own secluded beach.
This means, even if the resort is fully booked, there will always be space on the beach and inviting sun loungers will be waiting for you.
Bora Bora also has a few public beaches with the most famous one being Matira Beach which is often rated as the most beautiful beach in the world.
In Bora Bora, you’ll be able to relax and find some much needed peace and quiet.
You won’t find any annoying people on the beach trying to sell you stuff whilst you’re trying to relax.
The Bahamas Beaches
One thing is for sure, the Bahamas doesn’t have a shortage of beautiful beaches.
All of the beaches come with soft, white sand and crystal clear waters. They look like something straight from a travel brochure.
The Bahamas has some wonderful beaches but one thing to note is that they do often get very crowded. As the Bahamas is a super popular destination, it can be hard to find a quiet beach.
You may also find that, from time to time, you will be approached by sellers trying to sell you various things. This can be a little annoying if you’re just trying to relax on the beach.
One of my favorite beaches in the Bahamas is Cabbage Beach which is located on Paradise Island near Nassau. I’ve literally never seen water so blue!!!
It’s absolutely worth visiting the Bahamas just for this beach.
You can take part in a range of fun water sports on the beaches in the Bahamas including parasailing, jet skiing, windsurfing and more.
Something else you can’t miss are the pink sand beaches on the island of Eleuthera. Yep, you read that right – these beaches have pink sand!
Bora Bora vs Bahamas – Hotels
Another key thing to consider when planning a trip is where you’re going to stay as this can really make or break your vacation.
Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect from hotels in Bora Bora and the Bahamas:
- In Bora Bora, you can stay in an overwater bungalow. There are no overwater bungalows in the Bahamas.
- In general, hotels are much more expensive in Bora Bora compared with the Bahamas.
- Bora Bora hotels showcase more local culture than the Bahamas.
- There are no all inclusive resorts in Bora Bora however you will find some all inclusive resorts in the Bahamas.
- There is a wider range of hotels at all levels to choose from in the Bahamas. There is a very limited range of options in Bora Bora.
- You’ll need to book more in advance for Bora Bora however you can easily book last minute for the Bahamas.
Hotels in Bora Bora
There is limited choice when it comes to hotels due to the small size of Bora Bora. Most of the hotels are luxury, 5 star hotels that come with a hefty price tag.
There are a few budget friendly places to stay and you can save money by avoiding overwater bungalows or staying in a guest house like Villa Yrondi.
You’ll find that many of the hotels work hard to showcase traditional Polynesian culture in a variety of ways.
This ranges from traditional Polynesian decor and furnishings to tasty Tahitian food and even flower crown making classes.
Bora Bora is super famous for its overwater bungalows that sit within the lagoon. They usually have outdoor decks with a ladder that leads straight into the lagoon.
At certain resorts, you’ll be able to see lots of fish and other marine life right from your bungalow!
Check out my guide on the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora to decide which one is perfect for you. My personal favorite is the Four Seasons Resort.
Whilst these overwater bungalows certainly are breathtaking and the stuff of dreams, they are also eye-wateringly expensive.
On average, one night in an overwater bungalow will cost $1,000+ (often more than $2,000 per night, especially during high season).
As there are not many hotels in Bora Bora, they book up quickly so you’ll need to book well in advance to get a satisfactory room.
Hotels in the Bahamas
Overall you’ll find that the Bahamas has a wide range of hotels that suit all budgets.
From basic guesthouses to mid-range hotels and 5-star hotels too. You’ll have plenty of choices even if you’re booking pretty last minute.
You’ll be glad to know that the Bahamas has its fair share of luxurious hotels. The Atlantis on Paradise Island is breathtaking and should definitely be on your bucket list.
The whole resort is built around a waterpark and has 11 pools, several waterfalls and a few lagoons.
They actually have an aquarium tunnel on-site too where you’ll see fish swimming above you!
The Atlantis also has 40 on-site restaurants, an open-air marine habitat where you can swim with dolphins, an 18-hole golf course, bars and a casino. It’s ridiculously impressive!
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar hotel is another great one as it’s super luxurious and they have a resident population of flamingos that just wander around the resort and greet guests.
Whilst many of the hotels do try to showcase Bahamian culture here and there, it’s largely been lost and isn’t super prominent.
Bora Bora vs Bahamas – Food
Who doesn’t love food?
Here’s what you can expect from restaurants in both Bora Bora and the Bahamas:
- Food is much more limited in Bora Bora compared with the Bahamas.
- There are less restaurants to choose from in Bora Bora.
- Food in Bora Bora is also generally more expensive than the equivalent in the Bahamas.
Bora Bora Food
Food options are extremely limited in Bora Bora. This is mainly due to the size of the island, it’s super small so there’s not a lot of room for tons of international restaurants.
Most food in Bora Bora is either French or Polynesian cuisine. You can also sometimes find some Asian cuisine and the odd burger but that’s about it.
There are also very few restaurants overall in Bora Bora. Trip advisor shows just 49 restaurants in Bora Bora total (Nassau alone has over 300).
Bora Bora is pretty poor for anyone with special dietary requirements. For example, vegan/vegetarian food is hard to come by as is halal food in Bora Bora.
One other difficulty is that if you choose to stay in one of the luxury resorts in Bora Bora, like St Regis or the Four Seasons, then you’ll find eating out extremely difficult.
This is because many of Bora Bora’s luxury resorts sit on their own private islet.
This means you can eat at the resort restaurants easily but if you want to go anywhere else then you’ll need to take a boat ride to the main island.
This can be annoying, long and often expensive so you may prefer to get a hotel located on the main island if this could be an issue (InterContinental Le Moana is a great choice).
Most of the luxury resorts do have 3 to 4 on-site restaurants though.
Food is also extremely pricey in Bora Bora. I have an entire post on food & restaurant prices in Bora Bora but on average you’re looking at $100 to $150 per person for dinner.
Food in the Bahamas
You can get a wide range of cuisines in the Bahamas but seafood is by far the most common thing you’ll see on menus (likely due to the fact that the Bahamas is surrounded by ocean).
Top cuisines include Caribbean, French and Creole. Don’t worry if this isn’t your thing though as you can easily get things like pizza, pasta, burgers, chicken (and pretty much anything else you can think of).
If you’re looking for some authentic, Bahamian dishes then make sure you head over to the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau.
A fish fry is essentially just a gathering spot where tons of street vendors set up shop. This is where you’ll find the most authentic (and delicious) cuisine in the whole of the Bahamas.
The one at Arawak Cay is the best as it starts with many traditional sit-down restaurants and then leads to the beach where you’ll find lots of beach shacks which bring a whole different vibe.
And that’s it!
Thanks for reading this post which compares Bora Bora vs the Bahamas to help you decide where to visit on your next vacation.
Both locations have so much to offer and you’re bound to have an amazing time no matter which you choose.
One funny but common misconception is that Bora Bora is in the Bahamas (of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth).
Also trying to choose between Bora Bora vs Hawaii?