People consider the island of Bora Bora to be the most beautiful spot on planet earth. Part of the appeal is its remoteness and solitude, both of which you'll definitely appreciate once you arrive, especially for a honeymoon trip. The downside to the remoteness part is that Bora Bora is not a place that you can reach quickly or cheaply, unless you are already in French Polynesia.

The good news is that it's straightforward so there aren't a lot of agonizing choices to ponder over. Those who want to experience the Bora Bora overwater bungalow resorts, which are arguably the finest in the entire world, are only a few clicks away from booking their hotel and flights as well.

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Getting to Bora Bora Island

As mentioned above, this is simple because there is really only one practical way of doing it. First off you’ll need to get to Tahiti. This process is explained in the article linked above, but the short version is that you’ll almost certainly be flying from Los Angeles to Tahiti, and it’ll probably be on Air Tahiti Nui or possibly Air France. Unless you are coming from Australia or Asia, you’ll be flying through Los Angeles, and this includes those starting from Europe.

 

You can book your entire journey on any travel-booking website. The best and most popular flights from Los Angeles to Tahiti leave around 11:40pm and arrive in Tahiti around 5am in the morning, taking a bit over 8 hours including the time zone change. Flights from Tahiti to Bora Bora (and all the other islands in French Polynesia) start going out around 6:45am, so this is a pretty short layover.


The flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora

You’ll probably be flying into Tahiti on Air Tahiti Nui, which is an international airline that flies huge and comfortable jumbo jets, but then you’ll change planes to board Air Tahiti, which is the domestic airline of turbo-prop jets, and is not affiliated with the international one. Obviously, they work together with their schedules, so if the long-haul flight is a bit late the island planes will wait for them, but still you’ll need to get your luggage and go through Customs and Immigration in Tahiti anyway.

 

There are about 7 flights per day from Tahiti to Bora Bora, starting at 6:45am and the last one going out at 5:10pm. Most go nonstop to Bora Bora, but a few of them stop off at another island for 15 minutes to drop off and pick up passengers. A nonstop flight will take about 45 minutes, and one that stops will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes altogether.

 

Again, you can book your entire journey for one fare, and that will choose the most efficient connecting flight for you, or perhaps give you options of connecting flights, with longer layovers usually saving you a bit of money.

 

You can also book the Air Tahiti flights in person once you arrive. The prices are actually the same either way, so you can book separately on the Air Tahiti website as well. These inter-island services all over the world usually operate like buses or ferries in that locals use them frequently for a variety of things, so there’s almost always a few seats available at the last minute, and even if this one is full then the next one an hour later will have seats.


A multi-island vacation?

An especially popular thing for honeymoon couples to do is to stay at 2 or more different resorts on different islands over the course of 7 to 14 days. This obviously gives couples a chance to experience the beauty of one island and then a different set of features at another. Unlike the Maldives, the islands and resorts in the South Pacific are quite different from one another. So for the small extra cost of an extra Air Tahiti flight or two, people can get a lot more out of their trip.

 

There are actually two resorts with overwater bungalows on Tahiti itself, so that’s an option, but honestly the best choices on other islands are on Moorea, which is very close to Tahiti and reachable by a 30-minute ferry ride, or the overwater bungalows elsewhere in the South Pacific. All of them are easy to reach with an Air Tahiti flight.

 

Photo by scalleja on Flickr


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30 thoughts on "6 Tips to save money booking an overwater bungalow"

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    1. The tips are in the article and overwater bungalows mostly start at US$300 per night in the absolute cheapest places, but US$600 per night is more realistic in the more desirable places. -Roger

    1. Pam,

      We keep a full list of all overwater bungalows in the Caribbean, and each one is describe in pretty great detail. I have no reason to think that the ones in Panama aren’t safe, although I haven’t been myself. They tend to attract scuba divers and they are very popular from what I can see. There are also overwater bungalows at the Disney Resort on a lake, so that’s another one to look into. Sorry I’m not of more help. -Roger

  1. Hi there. We’re a family of 6 (mum, dad, and four boys 16, 15, 13 and 8) who primarily surf, but also want to enjoy time snorkelling etc. We’d love to stay nearest to decent surf (doesn’t have to be massive though! Just really fun waves-especially as the 8 year old needs to be involved and me (mum) doesn’t really surf bigger than 2-3 foot either these days :)). We desperately want to stay in a water villa but are so happy to do it on the cheap (thats we how we travel-always on a massive budget, so as long as rooms are clean that’s all we care about). Can you recommend anywhere/a few cheap water villas for us? Thanks so much! We’re coming April 13th-April 20th.

    1. Samantha,

      Your main challenge will be that most overwater resorts only allow 3 guests per bungalow and a few allow 4 guests per bungalow, but none of them allow 6. You’d have to get two overwater villas for six people and that would start at around US$700 per night at even the cheapest place. A few of the Maldives water villa resorts have surfing beaches, and the cheapest way to pull that off would be to get one water villa and one island villa and take turns in the water villa. Sorry the news isn’t any better. -Roger

  2. Hi
    I wish to combine a trip to Tahiti with a trip to Easter Island next year. Do you have suggestions for somewhere in Tahiti that is an over water option? Also do you know if it is correct that Tahiti and Easter Island are only connected on a Tuesday by air? Do you have any recommendations for how to combine the two? We are flying from NZ.

  3. I am currently planning a birthday and graduation get away, two weeks, two islands, over the water and beach front looking at next April any suggestions on how to save $? I know if we do the over the water on Moorea vs Bora Bora will save some $. Anything else would be much appreciated.

    1. Rosary,

      I’d say your best strategy for (hopefully) saving some money, or rather getting a free upgrade, is to book only two nights are so in each overwater bungalow and the rest in a beach room. You will have a much better chance of a room upgrade compared to anyone who is only booked in a beach room, so you should be at the top of the list. You might end up 4 or 5 nights in an overwater bungalow that way while only paying for two and the rest in a beach room. It’s a bit risky if you REALLY want to spend most of the week overwater, but it could work.

      Honestly, the overwater experience is amazing for a few days but the novelty wears off a bit after that because you always have to walk much farther to get anywhere compared to the beach rooms. April is one of the slowest months in the South Pacific, so you should be getting pretty good rates as it is. Sorry I don’t have more advice for you. -Roger

  4. You mentioned eco-style resorts in the Caribbean that are fairly affordable. Do you have a list of these? We would love to stay in an affordable over the water bungalow but don’t want to have to fly all the way to Tahiti.

  5. Soleena,
    for the future
    I hope you don’t mind me sharing 🙂
    It is considered rude to use capital letters when chatting. It is considered to be shouting. You did not sound like you were cross so I thought you’d like to know. Cheers Audrey

  6. FIRST AND FOREMOST, I MUST COMMEND YOU ON YOUR ATTENTIVE, RESPONSIVE DEDICATION TO ASSISTING THOSE THAT SEEK GUIDANCE AND OR SOME SENSE OF DIRECTION ON THE ENDLESS PLETHORA OF VACATION DESTINATIONS AND THE POTENTIAL DISCOUNTED RATES AND TRAVEL PACKAGES. VERY ADMIRABLE, I HAVE TO ADMIT!

    AND AS FAR AS MY CONCERNS GO, DO YOU KNOW OF A RELIABLE AND LEGIT, YET DECENTLY/AFFORDABLY- PRICED WATER BUNGALOW RESORT/HOTEL/ETC., THAT I COULD BOOK IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS FOR A POTENTIAL 4-7 NIGHTS STAY- DURING THE END OF TIS MONTH THRU THE END OF SEPTEMBER? Thanks so much sweetheart!

    1. Soleena,

      Thank you for the kind words, and sorry for the delayed response. We actually do an annual list of the cheapest overwater bungalow resorts in the world on our sister site. You’ve probably seen it, but you may not have realized that it’s the same data. There are no secret places that aren’t on the list, at least if you are looking for a "honeymoon-style" overwater bungalow. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll try to help, and more quickly this time. -Roger

    1. Jacki,

      There is a new resort opening next year in Panama with honeymoon-style overwater bungalows. We don’t know the rates yet, but they should be far more affordable than the new Sandals resorts in Jamaica. If you are okay with the eco-style resorts, there are many in the Caribbean that are fairly affordable. -Roger

  7. hello there
    this will be our first time traveling to the maldives ,
    my wife and me want a nice romantic place with a private pool in our overwater bungallow and a beautiful view ,,this will be our second honey moon ,,, wich island or resort do you recomend

    thank you so much .

    1. Agustin,

      Actually, we have a list of the best Maldives water villa resorts with private pools. The first one on the list is amazing and it’s also the best of the all-inclusives, though it’s quite expensive. If you are looking for one that is more modestly priced you’ll want to focus on the bottom one on the list, the Irufushi Beach and Spa Resort. The water villas there are huge and all have private pools. Have a great trip and let me know if I can help further. -Roger

  8. Is there a number to call to tell an advisor what exactly we want / expect out of our trip so they can recommend the best resort thay would fit our needs. Also which part of maldives is the best to stay as far as entertainment brar by etc.

    1. Kira,

      We are primarily an online guide to water villa resorts and we don’t do bookings or consultations, although I try to offer advice when I can. As far as which part of the Maldives, each resort there (by law) is on a private island, and each one is different. If you are looking for a place with nightlife and entertainment then you’ll want to book at one of the larger places like Meeru Island, as they have multiple bars and night time activities. Some of the smaller resorts have nothing beyond the dinner service and a small bar. Best of luck with this. -Roger

  9. I am dreaming and want to plan a trip for a ann. next year. a couple different places so I see all the beauty in Tahiti or where ever I can afford. please send me more info and updated rates. THANKS for the tips.

  10. I really want to stay in a over water bungalow at some point in time. So can you get an all-inclusive with 2 or 3 day in the bungalow and then move to an island room?

    1. Dee,

      Yes, you can definitely stay in an overwater bungalow for only part of a stay at a resort. In fact, it’s mentioned above that this is a pretty good strategy to possibly get an upgrade for additional days or perhaps your whole stay. Best of luck with this. -Roger

    1. Katherine,

      They are good deals if you enjoy drinking more than one or two alcoholic drinks each day. Generally, pretty much all the activities are included at all overwater resorts, so it’s pretty much food and drinks that are part of all-inclusive. And it’s not surprising that alcohol tends to be quite expensive (as does food) at these resorts, so all-inclusive is best for drinkers. Otherwise, you are subsidizing big drinkers if you don’t consume much alcohol.

      It’s also worth noting that nearly all the all-inclusive overwater resorts in the world are in the Maldives. There are none like that in or near Bora Bora. -Roger

    1. Alino,

      There is a link to the cheapest online booking site for each resort on each page. Just look for the link that says "Check for online specials…"