Bora Bora, the Pearl of the Pacific.
Ah, Bora Bora. Where is your mind transported to when you first hear those words? If you thought of a tropical island getaway home to sparkling turquoise waters, postcard-worthy sandy beaches, emerald-green volcanic craters and secluded overwater bungalows, you’d be spot on. What you also probably thought of was the hefty price tag that usually accompanies this sort of luxury.
Why stay in Bora Bora on a mid range budget?
Guests who frequent the overwater bungalows are mainly celebrities who use them as picture-perfect backdrops for their Instagram photos or to feature on their reality TV shows. It’s also a dream destination for couples on their honeymoon.
I’m no celebrity, but I can assure you I discovered a little trick in this slice of paradise that allows you to enjoy an overwater bungalow for half the price you’d think, which means you can stay longer for your money. Yes, it’s possible!
Don’t believe me? This was the view from my bungalow:
There’s something so seductive about Bora Bora’s position – you feel miles away from your day-to-day life back home because, well, you actually are.
First, here’s a bit of background into this magnificent island getaway. Bora Bora is a semi-autonomous territory of France in the South Pacific Ocean with Pacific Francs (XPF) as its currency. Prior to colonisation by France it is thought natives inhabited the island around the 4th century. The island is so stunning because the lagoon was formed over millions of years by an extinct volcano at the centre with the crater’s highest point being 727 metres above sea level.
In 2011, I was fortunate enough to enjoy Bora Bora for 7 nights on my honeymoon. It really is such a wonderfully unique experience that I’d recommend everyone do at least once in their lifetime. Being our honeymoon we expected to have to splash out a little more on accommodation, but when researching overwater bungalows I was delighted to find one was AUD 265 per night at the time. Great location, 4 star luxury…
Was this for real?? What was the catch?
How you can stay in Bora Bora like a celebrity, too
Five years on, I’ve done a little research into how much overwater bungalows would cost in today’s money. Obviously, the prices have risen with time and you need to remember that Bora Bora is more expensive than its South-East Asian or Mediterranean counterparts due to its isolated location. But there’s something so seductive about Bora Bora’s position – you feel miles away from your day-to-day life back home because, well, you actually are.
Anyway, I digress! During our stay, I noticed most guests who booked the overwater bungalows only stayed for around 3 days. I felt bad for them because 3 days is only a small taste of this little piece of heaven! So, these are my findings for 7 nights in a king-bed overwater bungalow for travel in November (the same time of year when I travelled, which is not peak season):
And now for the silver bullet: Sofitel Marara Beach Resort:
Why are these overwater bungalows affordable? The secret!
Sofitel Marara Beach Resort is one of the very few resort chains in Bora Bora that boast a unique feature: A small handful of bungalows were built ¾ over the water with the rear of the bungalow partially on the land but the room itself and deck are over the water.
This is what I booked.
It feels like you’re completely over the water anyway as you hear the water softly lapping beneath the floor and you gaze outside at the incredible lagoon. You’re free to dive right off your deck and enjoy the same perks the neighbouring over-water guests enjoy, but you’re only paying about half the price of the similar Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort. Doing it this way also means you’ve saved around 75% of what guests pay for their overwater bungalows at the Four Seasons so you can stay for longer! Talk about getting the most bang-for-your-buck.
Bonus tip: In 2011, guests of the Sofitel Marara Beach resort also had the privilege to use the facilities at the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island – a short boat trip across the lagoon. Be sure to enquire.
After reading a few recent reviews on TripAdvisor, some people did mention that the resort is starting to look a little tired. I don’t know about you but who needs more than 100sqm of space and is going to stare at the walls when they have water like that just outside their door? You won’t want to spend long inside the bungalow, that’s for sure!
Did you know there’s no “B” in the Tahitian language? Before European settlers arrived the island was named Pora Pora by the native Polynesians, which translates to “first born”. The Europeans misheard this as Bora Bora, and the name actually stuck.
Do you dream of visiting this slice of paradise someday? Yes, the water really is that colour 😍 If you liked this tip, please let me know in the comments if you plan on using it! I have more tips and tricks for French Polynesia where that came from 😉 You can also follow me on Instagram for more, don’t forget to share it on Facebook or save it to Pinterest 📌
Until next time,
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