Can you do travel to Bora Bora on a very tight budget, even with a family? Bora Bora brings up images of over the water bungalows, clear water of every delectable shade of blue, a perfect paradise ...and four figures a night hotel charges. Yes, Bora Bora can be outrageously expensive, but we travel the world on just 23 dollars a day per person, so recently learned the secrets to cheap travel in Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea and all of French Polynesia.
We thought we had a hotel to host us for our stay in French Polynesia, so we booked almost two weeks for it on our current round-the-world ticket, but at the last minute that fell through because the hotels were overbooked. Yikes, pretty scary thought for budget travelers to have so much time scheduled for such an expensive place and due to chaos going on during our stay in Santa Cruz (due to serious illness and hospitalization with a close family member), we had no time to plan or reroute. Flexibility and adaptability is the big key for family travel, especially long term family travel.
We had been wanting to try couch surfing for a while and I was amazed at the opportunities in French Polynesia, so soon had two great places to stay in both Moorea and Bora Bora. BEST decision we ever made because not only did we get awesome lodging for free, but we met some absolutely amazing people and our experience was like a local and far superiour to a hotel stay there.We met friends for life who we will see again and stay in touch with. Our couch surfing friend in Bora Bora is a Vet, so she let Mozart also help feed baby kittens and play with new puppies which she loved. She also connected us with a couchsurfer in Tahiti when we left who picked us up at the airport, fed us a great meal with great conversation and took us to the airport in the morning! Wow, so much gratitude for the Couch Surfers we met so far!
Yes, we had most of the benefits of the fancy hotels as we saw dolphins for free at the Intercontinental and paid 45 dollars for 2 Mai Tais and 1 vigin Mai Tai at the Sofitel as we watched a Polynesian dance show, and both couchsurfing places we stayed at were lovely with spectacular views with a bed big enough for the three of us, but we also experienced the islands like a native and had the best possible "insider" guides who took care of us like family.
Couch surfing is not the only cheap option, there are lots of low cost, budget pensions , mid range places and rental houses are available. You will save a lot of money if you eat like a local and avoid the imported food. You will not believe how little we spent in Bora Bora for three of us for almost a week ( about $350.00 total, not including flight), yet we took our host out to dinner in a great place, did a lagoon tour that included swimming with sharks, manta rays, sting rays & tropical fish, learned a little bit of Polynesian dance, music and culture, watched sunset from the most expensive hotel on the island, swam regularly at the world's best beach and more.
We're in Sydney now, just left New Zealand and headed towards Singapore this weekend, so no time for all the details now, but I've got many more stories to tell and the secrets to doing Bora Bora on a miniscule budget while having a luxuriously, relaxing time. Yes, Bora Bora can be VERY expensive, but it does not have to be.