Tahiti vs Moorea vs Bora Bora in French Polynesia – Where Should You Go?

Looking for that perfect tropical French Polynesia vacation but not sure where to go? Not sure whether you should visit Tahiti, Moorea, or Bora Bora? 

If so, this guide can help. In this post, we’ll break down the differences and advantages of each island. In doing so, we’ll see what makes some islands better than others and determine which island is the best for your upcoming vacation. Of course, each of these islands are on our list of best islands in the world so it’s really hard to decide on the “best” as they are all great. 

Many first-time travelers miss out on their perfect vacation simply by choosing the wrong island or spending too much time on one instead of the other. For this reason, paying attention to this guide can help you choose your perfect destination the first time around—saving you money and giving you the most out of your experience.

With that being said, let’s dive into the meat of the issue. 

What’s the Difference?

Before we start, let’s make an important clarification. If you’ve been searching around, you may have noticed that some websites use the three islands nearly interchangeably. Understandably, this can make it difficult to find the island that is right for you.

That’s why we’d to clear up some common misconceptions before going any further. Namely, what’s the difference between the three islands, and can they be considered one in the same?

Specifically, the three islands of Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora make up three separate land masses of French Polynesia. Each island has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages that you must consider when planning your vacation. 

French Polynesia

Unfortunately, many travel sites may make this tough by referring to all three regions as simply “Tahiti” or including Moorea and Bora Bora packages under their Tahiti label. For this reason, it’s important to understand that, while some websites may refer to the three islands collectively, they are all actually distinct from one another.

Keeping this in mind can help you find the island destination that’s right for you. For this reason, let’s take a look at some of the perks of choosing each island. For reader ease, we’ll break these perks down by category so you can find the island that most aligns with your travel plans.  

Best Shopping

If your primary purpose of visiting French Polynesia is to get some shopping done (or if this priority is high on your bucket list), there’s only one option for you to choose. Simply put, Tahiti blows away the competition when it comes to shopping.

This is especially true in the capital city of Papeete. In fact, some tourists remark that the area is so developed that it hardly feels like a tropical getaway at all. While this may be a turnoff for some travelers who are looking for a more remote experience, this is perfect for those tourists who want to bring back amazing souvenirs and do some excellent international shopping. 

In general, both Moorea and Bora Bora are less urban and don’t offer the same degree of cosmopolitan shopping. For this reason, it’s better to consider these islands as quiet getaways and scenic, romantic destinations.

Best Resorts

So Tahiti wins when it comes to shopping, but does it still take the cake when it comes to resorts?

Actually, no. While the island is easily the most developed of the three, it doesn’t offer the same tranquility or the same blend of luxury and exclusivity that either of the other two islands bring to the table.

Bora Bora

This begs the question of which of the two islands offers better resort options: Moorea or Bora Bora. While the answer ultimately depends on you and what you are looking for in your vacation, the fact of the matter is that Bora Bora is a hotter destination spot. 

This means that it generally has more resorts and a greater upscale feel. For this reason, those looking for the ultimate in tropical paradise should consider choosing Bora Bora as their primary option. By doing so, you can enjoy all the amenities of a luxury resort while benefiting from the serenity of an exclusive tropical island. 

Best for Families

With this in mind, it’s time to answer a more important question: which of the three islands is the best for families?

This question is a bit harder to answer, so let’s look at it in detail. The truth of the matter is that which island is best for your family really depends on the purpose of your trip. Still, if we’re assuming that you are going to the islands as a summer getaway, it’s probably best to knock Tahiti off the list. Simply put, Tahiti boasts too much urban development to be considered a prime tropical vacation spot.

This leaves us, again, with Moorea and Bora Bora. Of the two popular options, which one’s better for you and your family? With more extensive and comprehensive resorts, it’s no secret that Bora Bora offers better amenities and a wider array of kid-oriented activities than Moorea. In this regard, Bora Bora could be considered as the top option for vacationing families.

Tahiti vs Moorea vs Bora Bora

Despite this, many families prefer Moorea for its easier access to quality hiking spots and off-resort activities. If you and your family plan to have most of your fun away from your resort, then you may benefit from making Moorea your island of choice. 

In a nutshell, it’s important to consider the specifics of each island before making your final plans. In doing so, you’ll want to identify which island best identifies with both your vacationing purposes and your family’s specific needs. 


So which of the three islands should you choose?

The answer is that it really depends on you. Each of the three French Polynesian islands offers distinct advantages over the others, meaning it’s not so simple to choose the right one for your upcoming vacation.

Still, by following the information contained in this guide, you can take the next step to securing that perfect summer trip. Whatever option you choose, you’re sure to have a great time living it up at one of these three amazing tropical islands.

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