If you’re looking for a tropical vacation then you may be trying to choose between Bora Bora and St Lucia.
After visiting both of these tropical paradises, I thought I’d put together this guide comparing the two.
This ultimate guide will highlight the key differences between them including things like activities, cost, location and beaches to help you decide which to visit.
Table of Contents
St Lucia vs Bora Bora – Summary
Bora Bora is known for its luxury overwater bungalows, turquoise lagoon and the epic extinct volcano, Mount Otemanu, which can be seen from all over the island.
St Lucia, on the other hand, is known for its two epic mountain peaks, lush rainforests, volcanic beaches and impressive waterfalls.
Although these two paradise islands share many similarities, there are some key differences that make them unique.
In a hurry? Here’s a quick overview of the key differences between St Lucia and Bora Bora:
- St Lucia is significantly cheaper than Bora Bora in many aspects including flights, accommodation and food.
- Bora Bora is much better if you want to stay in an overwater bungalow.
- Bora Bora is more beautiful than St Lucia. It has some of the most stunning views on the planet.
- There’s a much wider range of activities and restaurants available in St Lucia.
- Bora Bora feels more exotic and tropical.
- St Lucia is better for active people who want to head out on excursions rather than relaxing on the beach all day.
- Bora Bora is much quieter and feels more secluded and exclusive.
- The resorts in Bora Bora are much more stunning than those in St Lucia. Many of them actually sit on their own private island.
- St Lucia has a wider range of beaches available that are easier to access.
- There’s more for kids to do in St Lucia.
- St Lucia is much better for nightlife.
As a whole, St Lucia has more things to do but it isn’t quite as beautiful whereas Bora Bora is more luxurious and feels like a true tropical paradise but there’s less to do.
It really comes down to what you prefer.
I absolutely adored visiting both of these locations and I’m struggling to choose a favorite.
I guess if I had to choose, I’d probably choose Bora Bora just because the scenery was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
I also really enjoyed staying in an overwater bungalow as it’s something I’d never done before.
If you’re looking for a variety of things to do and you want to explore history and local culture then I’d recommend choosing St Lucia.
If you want to stay in some of the best overwater bungalows on the planet, be treated like a queen/king and relax in the ultimate tropical paradise then choose Bora Bora.
The rest of this post will go into more detail on each aspect to help you decide which island is right for you.
Location & Size
Overall St Lucia is much bigger than Bora Bora in terms of size.
Let’s take a look in more detail…
Bora Bora, which forms part of French Polynesia, is situated in the South Pacific Ocean, whereas, St Lucia is located in the Eastern Caribbean near to Barbados and Martinique.
Bora Bora and St Lucia are not close to each other at all. The distance between them is 10,520 km (6,537 miles).
Check out the location of the two islands in the map below:
As you can see from the map, St Lucia is much closer to the US meaning your flight will be shorter (if you’re traveling from the US).
Here’s the minimum flight times for both locations from various starting points:
I flew from London and boy was Bora Bora a long flight! It was all worth it in the end to see that tropical paradise but I must say that the St Lucia flight was way more manageable.
St Lucia is much bigger than Bora Bora in terms of size.
Bora Bora covers just 30.5km2 whereas St Lucia covers 617km2 making it over 20 times larger.
Check out the size difference on the map below:
Additionally, the population of St Lucia is 183,600 whereas Bora Bora has just 10,000 local residents.
In terms of tourist numbers, St Lucia gets over 1 million tourists each year. Compare that with Bora Bora’s 100,000 yearly tourists.
This means that, in general, St Lucia feels a bit busier than 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 St Lucia do 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 St Lucia 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.
Best Time to Visit St Lucia
The best time to visit St Lucia is during high season which runs from December to April.
This is also the dry season so you’ll get very little rain and gorgeous, blue skies most days.
During these months you can expect peak temperatures between 82ºF and 86ºF (28ºC and 30ºC).
Low seasons runs from June until November. The weather during these months is still hot but it does rain from time to time.
This also coincides with St Lucia’s hurricane season.
Peak temperatures average around 86ºF to 88ºC (30ºC to 31ºC) during low season.
Which is Cheaper: St Lucia or Bora Bora
The cost of a vacation is often one of the most important things to consider when planning a trip.
It’s no lie that neither Bora Bora or St Lucia are exactly cheap but one is definitely cheaper than the other.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how much it will cost to visit Bora Bora or St Lucia:
- Overall St Lucia is significantly cheaper than Bora Bora.
- Standard hotels are much cheaper in St Lucia.
- Flights are generally cheaper to St Lucia (if you’re flying from the US).
- Daily costs like food, transport and activities are much cheaper in St Lucia.
- Overwater bungalows are significantly cheaper in Bora Bora.
I ended up spending more than double the money on my Bora Bora trip compared to St Lucia. It was a lot of money but personally I thought it was worth it.
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 between $6,100 and $9,000 for two people.
This price assumes you stay in a regular hotel and not an overwater bungalow.
If you want to stay in an overwater bungalow then the average cost for a week-long vacation in Bora Bora is between $11,000 and $14,000 for two people.
This can easily be thousands higher if you choose one of the more premium overwater bungalows like the ones at the Four Seasons.
Bora Bora actually has some of the most expensive resorts in the whole world.
Here’s an overview of what you’ll spend in Bora Bora:
- Standard hotels in Bora Bora cost between $200 and $600 per night.
- An overwater bungalow costs between $750 and $2,500 per night.
- You’ll spend between $150 and $300 per person each day on food, transport and activities.
- Flights from the US cost, on average, between $1,300 and $2,500 per person.
All prices are in USD.
Bora Bora is a super pricey location. It’s got an international reputation for being super exclusive so naturally it has prices that match.
There are definitely some ways you can save some money like avoiding overwater bungalows and dining in budget restaurants.
You could stay in a local guest house like Villa Yrondi. It’s stunning and reasonably priced.
Cost of a Vacation in St Lucia
St Lucia is cheaper than Bora Bora with an average vacation costing between $3,000 and $5,500 for 2 people for a week-long vacation.
This assumes you’re not staying in an overwater bungalow.
Here’s an overview of what you’ll spend in St Lucia:
- Standard hotels in St Lucia cost between $150 and $300 per night.
- 5-star resorts cost between $450 and $850 per night.
- An overwater bungalow costs between $3,500 and $9,000 per night (all-inclusive).
- You’ll spend between $40 and $75 per person each day on food, transport and activities.
- Flights from the US cost, on average, between $500 and $750 per person.
All prices are in USD.
In St Lucia, there’s a wide range of hotels available at different budgets and you can get a 4 or 5-star hotel for a fairly reasonable price.
If you have your heart set on an overwater bungalow then you’ll likely prefer Bora Bora as St Lucia only has one resort with overwater bungalows and they charge a lot.
The Sandals Grande St Lucian charges between $3,500 and $9,000 per night for their overwater bungalows. This is an all inclusive resort so you do get a ton of extras but it’s still a lot of money.
You can definitely do St Lucia on the cheap though if your budget is a bit tighter.
By staying in a local guesthouse and dining in local restaurants, you’ll probably spend less on the whole trip than you would spend on one night in an overwater bungalow!
Flights to St Lucia are expensive especially when you consider the distance isn’t that far from the US.
St Lucia vs Bora Bora – 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 St Lucia and Bora Bora:
- Overall there’s a wider range of activities to choose from in St Lucia.
- The hiking trails are better in St Lucia as they are more varied.
- Bora Bora is better for beach-based activities and water sports.
- Snorkeling is much better in Bora Bora than in St Lucia.
- Nightlife is better in St Lucia. It’s virtually non-existent in Bora Bora.
- St Lucia is better for exploring local culture and history.
- Bora Bora feels a lot more exotic and tropical.
Things to Do in Bora Bora
Some people think that Bora Bora is boring and has little to do other than lounging around on the beach or in your overwater bungalow.
This isn’t entirely true and there are plenty of things to keep you occupied.
The majority of activities in Bora Bora are water-based and 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.
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 like a pearl necklace from a small shop in Vaitape (the main town) 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 even explore some vibrant coral reefs.
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.
Try out a relaxing couples massage or take a romantic stroll on the beach.
To be completely honest, families with children will probably prefer St Lucia as there’s not a ton for kids to do here although there is a super fun kids club at the Four Seasons Bora Bora.
Things to Do in St Lucia
St Lucia has a wide variety of activities available for every type of traveler from water-based, beach fun to glorious hiking trails and mesmerizing waterfalls.
There’s also tons of interesting history and culture to explore, from battles from times gone by to secret pirate hideouts.
St Lucia’s most iconic site is the twin volcanic peaks of the Piton mountains. These green mountains are absolutely stunning and, if you’re up for it, you can actually hike them.
If you make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the land and sea. Totally worth it in my opinion.
St Lucia has many small fishing villages that are super fun to explore and give you a chance to experience local culture and actually see how the locals live.
My favorite one is Gros Islet where you’ll find rum shops and fishing shacks lining the streets.
Another must do activity is Pigeon Island which was actually used by pirates to raid passing ships in the 16th century. The island was artificially joined to St Lucia in the 1970s.
This small island is filled with lush, green foliage and tons of interesting historical clues which give a glimpse into how life used to be there including several forts which were used to spy on passing ships.
One of the best places to relax is Marigot Bay which has lots of beautiful beaches to explore.
It’s incredibly beautiful, so much so that it’s actually been used as the backdrop for several movies including Dr. Doolittle and Fire Power.
I definitely found that St Lucia had a wider variety of things to do compared to Bora Bora.
Bora Bora or St Lucia – Accommodation
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.
Bora Bora was easily my favorite because I got the chance to stay in an overwater bungalow for the first time.
Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect from hotels in Bora Bora and St Lucia:
- There’s a wider variety of places to stay in St Lucia.
- There’s more cheaper, budget-friendly options in St Lucia.
- Bora Bora is better for overwater bungalows as St Lucia only has one resort with overwater bungalows.
- Overwater bungalows are more expensive in St Lucia.
- Most of Bora Bora’s best resorts sit on their own private island.
Accommodation 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 a few ways you can save money though like 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!
Whilst these overwater bungalows certainly are breathtaking and the stuff of dreams, they are also very expensive.
On average, one night in an overwater bungalow will cost $1,000+ (often more than $2,000 per night, especially during high season).
Also, the majority of the resorts in Bora Bora are located on private islands so you’ll have to factor in boat transfers to get to and from the island.
Accommodation in St Lucia
There’s a wide variety of accommodation options in St Lucia to suit all budgets.
For example, you can stay in a local guest house for as little as $80 per night, a mid-range hotel for $200 to $350 per night or a fancy resort for $450 to $850.
St Lucia has its fair share of luxurious, 5-star hotels but they can be very expensive (not as expensive as Bora Bora though).
Without a doubt, the best resort in St Lucia is the Sandals Grande St Lucian which is an all-inclusive resort located on its own peninsula.
On one side, you’ll find the picturesque Rodney Bay and on the other, the expansive Atlantic Ocean.
Sandals Grande St Lucian is also the only resort in the whole of St Lucia that features overwater bungalows.
They are eye-wateringly expensive though, costing way more than most overwater villas in Bora Bora.
One night in an overwater bungalow in St Lucia will cost you between $3,500 and $9,000. This does also include tons of extras like food and drinks though as Sandals is an all inclusive resort.
Sandals do have much cheaper options though if your budget doesn’t stretch that far. You can stay in one of their standard rooms for around $400 per night.
Also don’t overlook some of the smaller guest houses as they usually showcase the local culture more than the fancy resorts.
Another bonus is that, by booking your stay at a guesthouse, you’re investing in the local community as they’re often run by locals.
St Lucia vs Bora Bora – Beaches
If you are picking between these two locations then I’m guessing you love beaches. Who doesn’t, right!?
Well, you’re in luck because both Bora Bora and St Lucia have some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world.
I’m talking soft white sand, crystal clear waters, swaying palm trees and unbelievably blue water.
Here’s what you can expect from the beaches in St Lucia and Bora Bora:
- St Lucia has more beaches to choose from than Bora Bora.
- Both locations have beautiful beaches with epic mountain backdrops however Bora Bora’s are slightly more beautiful.
- It’s easier to access the beaches on St Lucia. Most of Bora Bora’s beaches are private and only accessible to people staying at the resorts.
- The water is clearer and bluer in Bora Bora.
Bora Bora Beaches
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. The waves are super clean and very calm so they’re the ideal place to relax.
The water here is unbelievably clear and blue. It will make you wonder how the water is so clear in Bora Bora.
St Lucia Beaches
St Lucia also has its fair share of pristine beaches that come in all shapes and sizes. You’ll probably never run out of new beaches to explore in St Lucia.
One of my favorite things about the beaches in St Lucia is that, due to the mountainous landscape, most beaches have an epic backdrop of breathtaking scenery.
Hands down, the best beach in St Lucia is Jalousie Beach, also commonly known as Sugar Beach which is a great snorkeling spot.
This powdery white beach sits at the base of the colossal Piton mountains and comes complete with crystal clear turquoise waters that certainly give Bora Bora a run for its money.
This beach is my absolute favorite because as well as being unbelievably beautiful, it is also a fantastic snorkeling location.
Both snorkelers and divers can jump into the water to meet an array of tropical fish including butterflyfish, parrotfish, eels and even barracudas.
If you’re looking for something a bit more secluded that few people know about then check out Grande Anse Beach.
This Atlantic beach is much more unspoiled and virtually untouched. It feels more wild and rugged compared with other beaches in St Lucia.
Bora Bora vs St Lucia – Food
Who doesn’t love food?
I personally really preferred the food in St Lucia over Bora Bora as I’m not a huge fan of fancy fine dining restaurants.
Here’s what you can expect from restaurants in both Bora Bora and St Lucia:
- St Lucia is much better for vegans and vegetarians.
- St Lucia has a wider range of restaurants and cuisines to choose from.
- Restaurants in St Lucia are much cheaper than in Bora Bora.
- You can try out traditional, local food easily in both locations.
Here’s a bit more information…
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.
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 St Lucia
St Lucian food is very unique but it does have some distinct British and French influences as well as influences from the Amerindians who were the original inhabitants of the island from centuries ago.
With 274 restaurants to keep you satisfied on the island, you’ll find no shortage of tasty things to eat.
Vegans and vegetarians will have no problems finding delicious meals. You should definitely try out one of the local rastafarian cafes (as rastafarians usually eat a vegetarian diet).
My favorite restaurant in St Lucia is Jade Mountain Club because they have epic views of the Piton mountains. This fusion restaurant serves a range of traditional Caribbean classics with new twists.
If there’s one thing you should try in St Lucia then it definitely has to be bouyon. Bouyon is traditionally served at large gatherings or celebrations and is a delicious soup made from local ingredients.
Bouyon is based on sweet potato or pumpkin with ham or pork all stewed together in a large pot.
Food in St Lucia is much cheaper than in Bora Bora with an average restaurant meal costing around $20 to $30 per person.
And that’s it!
Thanks for reading this post which compares St Lucia vs Bora Bora 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.
Still unsure of where to visit?