There are a few things you should know before packing for Bora Bora. This picturesque destination is the definition of glamorous island life, with floating water bungalows, bushy green palm trees, and water the color of turquoise.
Mark and I had never been to the French Polynesian Islands and we were so excited to celebrate our honeymoon at Le Méridien, floating on an overwater bungalow. We packed for Bora Bora like we were going to Maui, just with a few additional items - like passports! I packed swimsuits, hats, sandals, dresses, and other beachy essentials. However, there were items we regrettably didn't bring and other items we regretted packing. Yes, you will be just fine if you show up with only one swimsuit and flip flops but there are a few additional essential items I highly recommend you consider when packing for Bora Bora.
Packing for Bora Bora
Things to Leave at Home:
- Polynesian Francs - We had no issues with our US credit cards and easily used them at the hotel, airport, and island shops. If you need to bring some kind of cash, almost everyone also accepts US dollars.
- Formal Wear - Even in the fanciest of restaurants, girls can get away with a summer dress and boys in khaki shorts and a polo. Leave your fancy dresses, heels, and dress shoes at home.
- Snorkel Gear - Each hotel is different but our hotel provided complimentary snorkel gear that you could use any time you want. They even had rentable scuba gear if you like to deep-dive and explore the gorgeous reefs.
- Beach Towels - Again, like above, every hotel is different but our hotel provided complimentary beach towels, whenever we needed them. Don't waste your precious luggage space on a towel!
Complimenting Outfit Colors & Textures:
Very casual, informal. Pack anything beachy, light weight, and tropical.
Random Travel Tip:
- When you get on the small airplane to go from the island of Tahiti to Bora Bora, it's open seating, so ask the flight attendant which side of the airplane has the best view. Be sure to have your camera ready, the views are unbelievable!
What to Pack:
- Sunscreen - Because we were minimizing liquids in our carry-on luggage, we relied on the hotel to have sunscreen in the resort shops. But the sunscreen options at the resort were limited, extremely expensive, and had a very weird texture (looked more like thick white clay than dissolvable sunscreen). I would suggest a coral reef safe and water resistant sunscreen like this brand here! Also, if you burn easily, pack aloe vera. Our resort didn't have any after sun lotions or creams, so come prepared!
- Sun Hats - I wore my floppy yellow sun hat every day the sun was beaming. It was by far my most used and favorite item I packed for the trip.
- Light Jacket - Although it was very warm in Bora Bora, I was so thankful to have brought a jean jacket. Not only did it match everything, but it was perfect for our evening boat rides when we would travel back and forth from the main island. I also loved having it for the few days it rained while we were there - I stayed nice and dry!
- Duty-Free Wine & Spirits! - We noticed many people on our flight buying duty-free bottles of wine and spirits, and we couldn't figure out why! Quickly we realized that bringing your own booze to the resort is not only popular, but practically encouraged by the hotels. The drinks at the hotel were delicious but we loved going into town and picking up a few great wine bottles at the local grocery store to bring them back to enjoy. I never buy duty-free items when I travel, but I would absolutely stock up on duty-free drinks next time we fly to Bora Bora.
- Hair Ties - The island is pretty humid, and with the wind and daily boat rides, my hair was a little unmanageable at times! I almost always wore my hair up or tucked away from the wind.
- Something to Read - This tip might seem pretty obvious but there is a lot of lounge time on the island. If your days are not full of activities, it's easy to get stir crazy. Keep yourself busy with a good book or some fun blog articles (hint, hint! check out my latest travels here).
If you are using this guide to pack for an upcoming trip to Bora Bora, I am insanely jealous! Have a Passion Rise cocktail, wiggle your toes in the soft white sand, and savor every moment of the colorful sunsets!
And more importantly, when packing for Bora Bora, leave some space in your carry-on for me! I travel light and am a ton of fun 😉