Bora Bora’s jaw-dropping landscapes, crystal clear lagoon, and epic overwater bungalows are some of the many reasons why Bora Bora tops the bucket list for many visitors from around the globe. Find out how to get to Bora Bora from SFO (the best way) and other tips for booking your flight, the cheapest time of year to fly, and how many days you need in Bora Bora.
The secluded and luxurious islands of Bora Bora may not be the easiest destination to get to, but once you have arrived, the journey is so worth it.
My husband and I recently traveled to Bora Bora for our honeymoon, and let me tell you. Bora Bora is everything you think it is and more. We loved every single moment of it! I am so excited to share all of the tips we have learned from our incredible trip.
What is The Easiest Way to Get to Bora Bora
You are probably wondering what is the fastest and easiest way to get to Bora Bora? Trust me; I get it. You are paying a lot of money for this trip, and you want to get to paradise like ASAP.
So I am going to upfront let you know the best (and quickest) way to get to Bora Bora:
- Book a nonstop flight from SFO to Papeete, Tahiti.
- A short flight from Papeete to the island of Bora Bora
- About a 30-minute water boat to your hotel
Sounds easy enough? Here are some of the details to ensure a smooth and effortless trip
How to Get to Bora Bora From SFO
When planning your trip from SFO to Bora Bora, there are a couple of options of transportation that you can consider. However, the first thing you need to know is that there is no direct flight from SFO to Bora Bora.
No matter where you are traveling from in the world, you will have to first arrive in the city of Papeete at Faa’a International Airport Tahiti.
Papeete is the capital of Tahiti and the hub of the French Polynesian Islands. This is mainly because Papeete airport is the only international airport in French Polynesia.
From Papeete, you can take a quick 50-minute flight to Bora Bora. Bora Bora’s Airport, also known as Motu Mute Airport, is on a small island. The airport is tiny but very efficient.
To get to your hotel or where you plan on staying in Bora Bora, you will need to arrange for a boat shuttle. The luxury hotels, such as St Regis, where we stayed, will set this up for you for a fee. Or, if you are staying on the main island, the Bora Bora Navettes runs a shuttle service across the Bora Bora lagoon to the village of Vaitape.
How Far is The Flight From San Francisco to Bora Bora
A nonstop flight from San Francisco to Papeete, Tahiti is approximately 8 hours and 45 minutes. Then the flight from Papeete to Bora Bora is 50 minutes.
How to Book Cheap Flights to Bora Bora
When I am looking for the best deal on international airline tickets, I like to go on Skyscanner first. It’s a quick and easy way to compare prices from other airlines and providers to find the cheapest price for your flight.
Also, I love their price alert feature. If your schedule is flexible and you want a huge money saver, you can set up a price alert for Bora Bora (for free). You can also set this up for multiple destinations at a time. And if you are looking for the cheapest time of year to fly, Skyscanner provides that too.
If you haven’t used Skyscanner before and wondering what’s the catch? Skyscanner is not a booking site but a search engine tool that pulls prices from providers for flights, hotels, and car rentals for free. Then to book, Skyscanner sends you to other websites to finish your reservation.
What Airlines Fly to Bora Bora From San Francisco
There are two airlines that offer a nonstop flight from SFO to Papeete, Tahiti. Either United Airlines or French Bee Airlines.
I haven’t flown French Bee before, but it is a low-cost airline owned by Air Caraïbes. If you are looking to spend less to get to Bora Bora, it could be a great option for you.
However, it is a long flight, and at a lower cost, you might not get the best service, food, and comfort you would get with United Airlines.
Tips for Booking Your Flight to Bora Bora
Besides price, the other difference between booking United vs. French Bee Airlines is the flight schedules. When flying with United Airlines, your flight will arrive at night, and you will need to spend the first night of your trip in Papeete. And when you plan on returning to SFO, your will flight will be scheduled at the end of the day.
Flying French Bee is the opposite. You will fly overnight and arrive in Papeete in the day. So you could fly to Bora Bora on the same day. The flight back to SFO is scheduled for early in the morning, so you would need to spend the night in Papeete before your morning departure.
Before booking your flight from SFO to Bora Bora, check prices flying from SFO to Bora Bora vs. SFO to Papeete. We decided to book the two flights separately, this option allowed for a more flexible travel schedule and a cheaper price.
We booked our flights from SFO to Tahiti and then booked a separate flight from Papeete to Bora Bora. If you decide to do this as well, Air Tahiti is the only airline that flies to Bora Bora and the other islands in French Polynesia.
The seats are first come first serve. If you are one of the fortunate ones to board first, pick a seat on the left side of the plane. You will see a picturesque aerial view of Bora Bora as you descend into the airport.
Tip with Air Tahiti: If you would like to do some island hopping, Air Tahiti offers multi-island passes of the French Polynesian Islands. The pass helps you travel to more islands at a discounted rate.
Is There a Ferry From Tahiti to Bora Bora
Traveling by plane is the fastest option to get to Bora Bora. However, for the more scenic option, you can arrive by boat. Apetahi Express offers a ferry from Papeete to Bora Bora, with stops along the way to the other islands.
It is about a 9-hour journey from Papeete to Bora Bora, but it can be a great form of transportation if you plan on visiting multiple French Polynesian Islands. For Apethai Express schedule and booking information, you can go here. Their website isn’t the most user-friendly, but it also provides an email and number you can use to book as well.
Layover in Papeete, Tahiti
Because of the length of the flights and time change, one way or another, you will most likely need to spend at least one night in Papeete. Papeete is very different than Bora Bora. It’s a bustling city and the heart of Tahiti. Make the most out of your time in Tahiti and plan an unforgettable layover in Papeete.
We spent two nights in Papeete, one at the beginning of the trip and one the night before our departure. If you are only planning on spending one night in Papeete, I highly recommend the B&B Faire Suisse.
Fare Suisse is owned and run by a couple who you can tell put a lot of hard work and love into their business. They offer a free and private shuttle to and from the airport or ferry dock. Breakfast is available every morning for a small fee. Faire Suisse provides free baggage storage and a bathroom with a shower is offered for free for guests who have a late flight out.
The owners, Thérèse and Beni were extremely accommodating and informative, which made for a great stay and layover in Papeete, Tahiti.
✅ Book your stay in Tahiti at this adorable B&B here
What is the Cheapest Month To Go To Bora Bora
Planning a trip to Bora Bora is such an incredible and one of a kind experience. However, it does come with a hefty price tag. I found flights to not be too bad in comparison to other international locations, but the price for accommodations, food, and other travel necessities quickly added up.
One of the ways to save a little bit of money when traveling to Bora Bora is planning to visit during shoulder season. The cheapest months to travel to Bora Bora are between the months of November to March (not including New Year or Christmas). This is considered Bora Bora’s low season because it is their rainy season.
Before you let the thought of rain ruin your plans to gorgeous Bora Bora, we traveled during this time of year, and I would absolutely do it again.
We got an incredible deal at St Regis Bora Bora that included a meal package, which is a huge perk and money saver. And we had fabulous weather. There was one day our excursion plans got canceled because of the rain, but the company happily rescheduled us for the next day.
How Many Days Do You Need in Bora Bora
A big question we had when planning our vacation to the French Polynesian Islands is how many days do you need in Bora Bora? If this is your first time traveling to Bora Bora, I think five days is the perfect amount of days you will need to fully experience Bora Bora. And if you want to be in full relaxation mode, a week is also doable. Any more than that, personally I would get bored, and it would get too expensive.
If you are visiting any other islands, such as Moorea, I recommend at least three days in Bora Bora. That way you would get at least a full day of relaxing on the beach or your over-water-bungalow, which you have to splurge for by the way. It is 100% worth it!
How To Get To Bora Bora From SFO
Bora Bora is one of those magical places that you feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to visit. It is one of those pinch me, I am dreaming locations. I hope now that you know how to get to Bora Bora from SFO you are ready to start planning this vacation of a lifetime.
For more tips for planning your Bora Bora itinerary, you can find my blog post here. Trying to decide where to stay while you’re in Bora Bora?
Two of the top resorts are St Regis Bora Bora Resort & Four Seasons Bora Bora. Which one should you book? Here you can find the differences between these two luxurious hotels: St Regis vs Four Seasons Bora Bora: Which One is Better
And don’t forget about Papeete, Tahiti! Find out the top things to do during your layover in Papeete.