Hawaii vs. Bora Bora

In all honesty, to compare Hawaii and Bora Bora seems like a stretch because of their equally awe-inspiring and stunning draws. However, at some point, somebody has to decide which is which.
Hawaii vs. Bora Bora

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But then again, if none of us can decide, then the question can always go from “which and why” to “when”. However, one drawback, they are both expensive.

For a long time, Hawaii has been regarded as one of the most well-known names in the tourism business. Hawaii is always a fantastic choice, regardless of the season. It is one of, if not the most well-known tropical resorts due to its lovely surroundings and location.

Bora Bora vacations are the stuff of legends, or better yet, movies.  The Polynesian wonder has many of the world’s most fabled draws. Whether it’s natural draws, exhilarating activities, or even just the vibe, Bora Bora can offer everything.


Hawaii’s name has echoed throughout every household, and in every form of media there is all over the world. That’s how famous it is. From the iconic Lilo and Stitch, Hawaii Five-0, to its trademark Hula Dance and Lei garlands, Hawaii is on everybody’s radar.

The pacific gem is one of the most well-known destinations in the world, perhaps right next to big names such as Mexico and Italy. Hawaii has proven itself over and over again why it is still a bucket list-worthy visit.

Thanks to its interesting geography and an even sweeter climate, Hawaii plays its tourism game in top form. You can revel in the numerous natural features that make Hawaii truly a gem in the pacific.

When you visit Hawaii expect to wonder upon a spectacle of beaches, volcanoes, vibrant culture, and other curiosities. Not to mention a world-class surfing scene as well. No matter what time of year you plan to visit, rest assured you’ll always be met by the evergreen charm of the pacific’s most famous gem.

What Makes Hawaii Unique?

The Fabled Beaches of Hawaii

Hawaii’s beaches are characterized by their incredible beauty that rivals most of the world’s best. Think postcard-perfect shades of blue that meet lush, green, volcano-powered islands. Hawaii is the stuff of fabled travel stories.

Contrary to what most know, Hawaii isn’t just one, two, or three islands. But a chain of 137 islands, 8 of which are the largest and considered the main islands. With this sheer number, you can imagine how many beaches there are.

Having a plethora of islands, Hawaii sports more than a hundred stunning beaches each having its unique set of quirks. This wide array of beaches leaves much room for beach bums wanting a variety of experiences. With this abundance of beaches, there will always be something for everyone.

Some of the well-known beaches you shouldn’t miss are Waikiki Beach, located just off the capital of Honolulu. Famous for being more well-developed than others, Waikiki is probably the most famous one.

You can also visit Makapu’u Beach, with its rocky shores yet stunning nonetheless. And the historical Waimea Bay, on the big island of Oahu, is perfect for surfing.

A Volcanic Island Chain

Hawaii was born out of the volcanoes that erupted millennia ago. A series of eruptions gave birth to the islands, causing them to rise up off the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

Eventually, these volcanoes have shaped the landscape of present-day Hawaii. The eruptions have blessed Hawaii with volcanic soil known to be abundant in life that contributed to the ecology of the islands.

Today, the incredible geological history of Hawaii can still be seen and felt. When you come to Hawaii, you’ll discover that there are over six active volcanoes still spewing smoke and lava, often putting locals at risk.

Hawaii is home to two of the most active volcanoes in the world. Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano that had a history of continuously erupting from 1983 to 2018. And Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano.

However, many dormant volcanoes became tourist spots offering hiking opportunities for adventurous spirits. You can book tours via the many companies based in the major cities of Hawaii, particularly in the capital of Honolulu.

The Hula

Whether films set in Hawaii, Youtube videos, or just some plain promotional content, chances are the Hula dance is always in the background. This particularly distinct dance has become a well-loved trademark of Hawaii.

The quirky dance displays particular movements of the hips, along with strange hand gestures. These distinct movements resemble the movement of trees swaying in the wind, and waves in the ocean. Often paying tribute to phenomena in nature that helped the islanders to survive.

Hula is now mostly known for entertainment, particularly for guests to the island, and for showcasing Hawaii’s culture. The dance used to be performed in front of the tribal chieftain. The Hula was specifically done during important tribal gatherings and other celebrations.

After the colonization and series of immigration, Hula faded out and was forcibly discouraged for a time. European and American settlers also repressed several other cultural traditions. But Hula was eventually reintroduced after some pro-cultural movements in the 20th century.

Now, Hula has become a well-known tradition of Hawaii and since has become its iconic trademark. Several other cultural traditions of Hawaii have also been met with a positive reception. Thanks to the emergence of the internet and media in the 21st century.

Surfing Scene

Because of its worldwide fame, a lot of people don’t know that surfing is of Polynesian origin. The watersport is a tradition brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians. It has been practiced since their first settlement across the Pacific islands. It was in Hawaii that it was first introduced and celebrated.

Now, surfing is a well-known and well-loved sport done by many enthusiasts across the world. The Hawaiian Islands host a plethora of seasonal and annual surfing competitions, often held in Oahu.

Infamously Expensive

Constantly headlined as “the most expensive state to live in the US”, Hawaii is nothing cheap. Ranking higher than other famous states in the US such as New York and California, expect to see some dramatic costs when traveling.

This is partly due to Hawaii being remote, situated farther from the mainland. Hawaii can’t produce the necessary supplies and resources so it has to import from the mainland and its neighbors in the pacific. In turn, putting higher tariffs on products and services.

If you’ve been around many states in the US or anywhere across the Pacific and the Caribbean, expect to pay even more in Hawaii. It’s important to look up in advance rates and prices around Hawaii to give you an overview of what and how much to prepare during your visit.

But don’t sweat too much about the possible costs of your visits. If you have a rough estimate of your trip, it’s more than enough to prepare you. A smart and experienced traveler can always find ways to go around skyrocketing prices. Vacationing in Hawaii won’t break the bank.

Unlike the Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos, known for being expensive places to travel to, Hawaii can be cheaper.  You can find plenty of accommodations that offer cheaper deals in Hawaii. Plus, there are even more affordable purchases there as well.

Polynesian Culture

Hawaii is usually depicted on the media as a tropical holiday paradise full of all the classic features. From gorgeous beaches, high-end resorts, and plenty of good fun, the island was fashioned to seem like a premier destination. But Hawaii is much more than the typical touristy highs.

Most people often forget that the islands have a rich and unique culture. Hawaii’s history dates back before the colonization and the series of immigrations by the first settlers. Polynesians first arrived in Hawaii and thrived, living off the volcanic chain’s natural gifts.

Quirky bits of the charming Polynesian culture will already welcome you upon your arrival on the islands. You will be met with the Lei garland hung on your neck and the fascinating Hula dances in the hotel lobby. Hawaii’s Polynesian culture will feel like a warm welcoming embrace.

Hawaii has kept much of its Polynesian traditions despite the changes brought by time. The island chain’s cultural wealth is already a mix of a diverse set of influences from different cultures. This rich mix came from the various ethnicities across the Pacific.

Thanks to a series of immigrants from the mainland US, and the influences of globalization, Hawaii is now an even more vibrant place to be. Hawaii has a staggering 1.4 million inhabitants all coming from different cultures. You can expect the island chain to be more than just another beach destination.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is synonymous with the fabled beauty of French Polynesia, famously shown in travel magazines, and movies. Globally known for its extraordinary, often outlandish natural sceneries. Bora Bora is the stuff of mythic travels for both the well-heeled and the seasoned globetrotters.

Located in the South Pacific Ocean Bora Bora is yet another Polynesian treasure. Bora Bora is rich in aquatic sceneries, such as clear waters and lagoons. It even has thriving vegetation, over-water bungalows, and breathtaking mountain views.

With all of Bora Bora’s draws the question isn’t a matter of whether or not the destination is a worthy visit, but it is a matter of when. A vacation in Bora Bora is one for the books, or better yet, the movies.

Whether you wish to explore the world’s most gorgeous lagoon, go outdoors, or have a romantic stay in a private setting, Bora Bora will provide. Or you can simply enjoy the proverbial high all year, this stunning island in French Polynesia has it all.

What Makes Bora Bora Unique?

Romance Island

It is a favorite destination for couples and honeymooners because of its breathtaking beauty. Plus, 19 kilometers (11.8 mi) north of Bora Bora, you can take a helicopter or boat ride to Tupai (also known as Motu It), a heart-shaped coral reef formation! This wonderful piece of nature spans 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) and is just stunning.

Bora Bora’s beaches and shoreline are also teeming with romantic dining establishments. Famous chefs, luxurious hotels, and yacht clubs all operate top-of-the-line restaurants. You’ll have plenty of places that provide the ultimate romantic fine dining experience.

You can choose from a diverse menu that will entice even the most discerning palate. Because there are so many choices, you’ll be able to pick your favorite restaurant based on its ambiance or food.

Diving Scene

Sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and other marine species call Bora Bora home. The heart-shaped island of Tupai, which is only accessible to a few divers, is also located on this beautiful island.

Most dive sites allow you to swim alongside large Napoleon fish, triggerfish, and humpback whales in the clear seas. You may also go on a manta ray dive here, where you can witness multicolored reefs and several manta rays that come to meet and greet guests.

Bora Bora is known for its snorkeling and scuba diving. While out exploring the calm, blue seas near Bora Bora, you can see hundreds of different aquatic creatures. There are a variety of reef fish, sea turtles, starfish, manta rays, and even sharks.

Here are some of the best spots for diving:

Miri Miri

Perfectly suitable for beginners to advanced-level divers, Miri Miri has a depth that can be anywhere around 15 to 45 meters (49 to 148 ft). However, that depends on both your experience and certification level. The stunning reefs below are home to an abundance of Blacktip Reef Sharks and Napoleon Wrasse.

The site is noticeably teeming with Montipora almost entirely covering the reefs resembling a garden of roses. Miri is a go-to spot that is almost considered a Bora Bora rite of passage – a classic for all intents and purposes.


Suitable for intermediate divers, and sports a depth of 10 to 30 meters (32 to 99 ft). However, going to the site can also take a while compared to others so only a few divers are willing to brave the way.

Eager divers will surely be rewarded with a huge reef filled with caves, passages, and overhangs. They are open for everyone experienced enough to explore. Tupitipiti however isn’t rich in marine life, but it still has a great number of reef sharks, turtles, and a small variety of fish.

Other features include distinct green and orange sponges, as well as red and blue branching corals, which can be seen around the reef.


With a maximum depth of 30 meters (99 ft), Haapiti is suitable for all divers of varying levels. The dive site sports several tunnels and canyons to explore for the more experienced, along with a rich and diverse native marine life.

Haapiti also features a moderate slope with spectacular coral and rock structures. You can encounter three types of sharks common to the area like the Black Tip Reef Sharks, Lemon Sharks, Grey Sharks. Apart from sharks, you can also spot smaller fish like the Trigger Fish, and Napoleon Wrasse.

Resort Extravaganza

When we think of Bora Bora, we think of posh hotels with well-appointed villas perched on stilts over the lagoon. The island is well-known throughout the world for its luxurious resorts and superb service.

If you opt to stay at one of these quietly magnificent resorts, you will have access to a plethora of amenities. You can enjoy the spa, private pool, good food, Polynesian dance displays, spectacular beaches, and more.

It is, however, feasible to experience Bora Bora’s riches without breaking your bank account. Accommodations, airlines, and activities have increased in recent years, so it’s easier to get here.

Another famous feature among the many accommodations you can find in the Bora Bora is the iconic overwater bungalows. These quirky huts are speckled across the lagoons of Bora Bora. They stand over crystal clear, blue waters with a view of the stunning endless horizon.

These cottages are a valuable icon of Bora Bora because they were designed in French Polynesia. Huts of all sizes and budgets are available at every resort and hotel in the area, making the experience accessible to all tourists. Relax on a floating bungalow while enjoying a tropical vacation by the beach.

Landscape and Aquatic Sceneries

If the lagoon is still Bora Bora’s crown jewel, don’t miss a trip to the interior of the island, where wild and intriguing wildlife thrives. Take a bike or a scooter on the single road that encircles the island.

Those who enjoy postcard views with volcanic reliefs, beautiful beaches, and lush greenery will be ecstatic. Bora Bora is known for its vibrant hues and natural beauty, as well as a spectacular view of the lagoon from its cliffs.

Take a walk along the Matira beach in the evening to enjoy the sight of the waves diminishing on the coast. This is the most exotic location you will ever visit.

Bora Bora is not overrun by tourists, as one might anticipate from such a sought-after island. The control of visitor flows is a priority for Polynesian tourism actors, so the island is far from overcrowded.

Bora Bora is an untouched paradise with pure waters and immaculate beaches since there are no hordes of people. So you’ll always be able to find a secluded location to sunbathe, even during peak season.

Also, spend some time on the main island; if you venture off the beaten path, you will see that there are few people outside of the hotels. Bora Bora is unparalleled in terms of authenticity, whether on land or in the lagoon.

Bora Bora’s most stunning assets are its lagoon and wildlife, therefore outdoor activities are a “must-do” not to be missed. And you can choose from a variety of activities that will provide you with adventure, thrills, or enjoyment.

Water activities, are, of course, not to be missed, as the lagoon and its underwater environment are breathtaking. Excursions by jet ski, paddleboard, boat, catamaran, kitesurf, sailboat, or kayak can be added to your Bora Bora vacation.

The lagoon is also one of the world’s most spectacular snorkeling places; open your eyes wide and depart with memories that will last a lifetime.

What Is Better – Bora Bora or Hawaii?

We can all admit that it’s one tough battle between two of the Pacific’s best. Bora Bora and Hawaii evidently have it all. You have natural beauty, outdoor thrills, cultural quirks, and outlandish sceneries to enjoy in both. These draws give them enduring names and a constant presence in vacation hotlists.

If we’re talking about sheer beauty, Bora Bora no doubt takes the throne over the majority of vacation destinations all over the world. The French Polynesian pride has cemented its position in many of the world’s lists of the most beautiful beach destinations.

Bora Bora has gorgeous white, sandy stretches of coastlines and crystal clear, warm water. Perhaps the island’s best selling point is its many lagoons that have calmer waves and shallow waters perfectly safe for swimming.

Hawaii’s enduring household name has given it a leg-up when it comes to fame and demand. When you ask around, you can easily get an answer about Hawaii, without them having been to the actual islands.

Well, for the most part, Hawaii is known for the fun and thrill its culture and natural features offer to everyone. That’s thanks to Hawaii’s famous cultural traditions that have made their way to mainstream media for years. Visiting Hawaii is not a question of “why” but rather “when”.


Is Bora Bora or Hawaii More Expensive?

Bora Bora might be one of the few destinations in the world that can best Hawaii when it comes to costs and prices. However, both destinations are known as two of the most expensive places to visit in the tropics. Hawaii is one of the most expensive states to live in the USA.

When you look up prices you can easily see the disparity of costs between Hawaii and Bora Bora. This is evident in certain purchases and services such as food, accommodation, and entertainment.

In Hawaii, on average you can expect to spend at least around 205 USD a day. You can break this cost down into different parts. Split them for 136 USD per night in accommodation, 40 USD on food, and around 13 to 15 USD for entertainment, the rest can be on alcohol among many other things.

Meanwhile, in Bora Bora, costs can set you back around 245 USD a day. Break them down into 136 USD per night in accommodation, 55 USD on food, and around 27 to 30 USD on entertainment, while the rest on many other things.

Hawaii is also big on accommodations. From affordable stays, all-inclusive resorts, and luxury accommodations, there’s something for everyone. You can have a lot of options as they are abundant and are easy to access. Bora Bora, on the other hand, most of its accommodations lean on the pricey side and they are not as numerous as Hawaii.

Bora Bora or Hawaii for Honeymoon?

Let’s face it, when it comes to romance painted alongside the beauty of nature, Hawaii and Bora Bora can have a draw. With ridiculous views, quality accommodations, and thrilling local scenes, honeymooning is best here. You can be sure to experience that most-anticipated post-wedding intimate celebration.

Bora Bora and Hawaii – Cruise

It is best to see Bora Bora on a cruise. Going to Bora Bora on a cruise is much cheaper than staying on land, where you’ll be met with high prices and a limited number of accommodations.

Hawaii on the other hand is meant to be explored by staying ashore. Accommodations are many, and prices aren’t as high as Bora Bora but still expensive nonetheless.

Where Is Bora Bora Compared to Hawaii?

Bora Bora and Hawaii are both prized jewels of Polynesia. Meaning they are both found in the region in the Pacific where the Polynesian people group explored. These islands are also where they ended up settling and eventually thrived. Hawaii is located north of Bora Bora, they are located some 4,208 kilometers or 2,615 miles from each other, directly.

Is Bora Bora Near Hawaii?

With an approximate distance of 4,208 kilometers or 2,615 miles between them, Bora Bora sits far south of Hawaii. The most cost- and time-effective way to travel is to fly.

Is Bora Bora in Hawaii?

Bora Bora is located far south of Hawaii and is completely separate from the US state.

How Many Hours Is Bora Bora From Hawaii?

If you travel directly by plane, it can take around 5 hours and more.

Can You Get to Bora Bora From Hawaii?

You can travel from Hawaii to Bora Bora by flying via Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, or the Kahului Airport in Kahului. The receiving airport in Bora Bora is the Motu Mute Airport.

Can You Fly to Bora Bora From Hawaii?

Flying is the only mode of transport in getting to Bora Bora from Hawaii. You can fly via either the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu or the Kahului Airport in Kahului. You can fly among many airlines to fly between them. You can check flights from Hawaiian Airlines, Air Tahiti, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Air France.

Can You Fly Direct From Hawaii to Bora Bora?

You can fly direct from Hawaii’s Honolulu or Kahului to Bora Bora. Book flights with Hawaiian Airlines, Air Tahiti, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Air France, and many others. Direct flights usually take around 5 hours.

How Long Is a Flight From Hawaii to Bora Bora?

The average flight time when flying directly is around 5 hours.