How to save money in French Polynesia


Bora Bora bungalows

For many, it has been a dream to one day vacation in French Polynesia, perhaps the famous island of Bora Bora.  And so, like us, you set a savings plan and save and save and save to be able to make this dream a reality. 

The beauty of French Polynesia is unlike anywhere else in the world, however, with its remoteness in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a vacation to Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora or one of French Polynesia’s many other islands does not come cheap.  In fact, it is the most expensive vacation we have ever taken.  Having said that, we have absolutely no regrets and would do it again in a heartbeat.  There is nothing like relaxing in your overwater bungalow while hundreds of tropical fish, stingrays and black tipped reef sharks swim below.

Moorea bungalowEven though French Polynesia is known for the $30 cup of coffee and muffin, there are still ways that you can save money when vacationing there.  Here are our best money saving tips for French Polynesia:

1. Buy alcohol at the duty free at Los Angeles Airport

For many from North America, you will have to fly to Tahiti in French Polynesia via Los Angeles Airport.  We recommend that during your layover, you visit one of the duty free shops and purchase some alcohol.  A couple of bottles of wine or liquor such as rum are probably the easiest to carry with you.  Then, as the resorts in French Polynesia are not all-inclusive of alcoholic beverages as those in the Caribbean, you will save huge amounts if you don’t have to purchase the $15-$20 drinks at your hotel. 


2. Get breakfast included in your hotel package

When booking your hotel, we recommend trying to book a package that includes breakfast.  We were fortunate at both Hilton resorts on Moorea and Bora Bora to have breakfast included in our stay.  They were full American breakfasts and gave us a great start to our day.  This was good value for us compared to paying the hotel rates listed at the hotel for the same breakfast buffet.

Hilton Bora Bora

Can’t beat this view from the breakfast location at the Hilton Bora Bora!

3. Bring some food for lunches in your suitcase

Since we had a full American buffet breakfast included, we knew that we would be pretty full afterwards.  Therefore, we thought we could probably make do with a simpler, smaller lunch.  So, we hit up our local grocery store at home and bought some crackers, small tins of tuna (no can opener required), potato chips, and granola bars.  These items will be much cheaper to purchase at home than in French Polynesia, just make sure that they don’t weigh your suitcase down too much.


Crackers and tuna brought from home.

4. Go to the grocery store when you arrive

As soon as you arrive, we suggest you ask the hotel staff to empty out your mini bar fridge.  This way, you can head to the grocery store and purchase a few items that will be far cheaper than the can of Pepsi in the mini bar fridge.  We bought some fresh fruit and cheese to go along with the items we brought from home for our lunches.  We also picked up some local fresh tropical fruit juices to mix with the alcohol we picked up at the duty free in L.A. and some cans of Pepsi/coke.

Fresh fruit in Bora Bora

Delicious local fresh fruit. YUM!

By having our mini bar fridge stocked with some food, we were able to spend more time on our bungalow patio enjoying the view and water.  We didn’t have to walk to the hotel bar every time we wanted a drink, we could just make it ourselves in our luxury bungalow.   Plus, you’ve spent a fortune on this amazing overwater bungalow; you want to be enjoying it!

5. Dine at restaurants off the resort

Dining at Rudy's on Moorea

Dinner out at Rudy’s on Moorea = DELICOUS!

We did dine at the restaurants on our resorts a few times as we had a few dinners included in our hotel package, we actually found the restaurants off the resorts to be significantly cheaper.  They still weren’t “cheap” but they were less expensive than at the hotel.  Many of these restaurants even offer transportation between their restaurant and your resort, which is a great option if you do not have a rental car.

Bloody Marys in Bora Bora

Bloody Mary’s on Bora Bora

Bloody Marys menu

Bloody Mary’s fresh meat “menu”










We hope these tips are useful as you plan your dream trip to French Polynesia.  It is an expensive trip but worth every penny!

Do you have any other money-saving tips?  Would you ever spend over $10,000 dollars on a 10-day trip to Bora Bora in French Polynesia?


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8 Responses to How to save money in French Polynesia

  1. Amazing pictures. I hope to someday visit.
    Angela recently posted..Glenveagh CastleMy Profile

    Angela November 19, 2013 at 9:17 am Reply
    • Thanks, Angela. The amazing thing is, we haven’t used photoshop on the pictures to enhance the colour of the water, etc. at all…it really is that blue!

      evan&tracy November 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm Reply
  2. I’m glad there are ways to save money there, would love to go one day but was worried it would be too expensive!

    Becky Padmore November 26, 2013 at 3:32 am Reply
    • We hope you get to visit some day, Becky! With these tips, perhaps a trip to French Polynesia is closer than you think 🙂

      evan&tracy November 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm Reply
  3. OMG. it’s my dream destination!
    The Travel Junkie recently posted..Top 12 Festivals & Events in ThailandMy Profile

    The Travel Junkie November 27, 2013 at 5:20 am Reply
    • It was ours too! Isn’t fantastic when you can make dreams into reality 🙂

      evan&tracy November 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm Reply
  4. Where can you stay for 10 days in Bora Bora on a budget of $10,000? I have been researching this dream honeymoon location for a while but think with my budget only 6 nights is feasible. Can you help prove me wrong? 😉

    Melissa July 8, 2014 at 8:32 am Reply
    • Hi Melissa,

      Thank you for your question. We understand that it is very difficult to stay under a $10000 budget, but we can give you some tips to help out. Have you considered spreading your time on multiple islands in French Polynesia. We went to Moorea for 4 nights of our vacation and LOVED it. They also have overwater bungalows, but at a much more affordable price. There are multiple islands to stay at and some are large savings compared to Bora Bora. We would recommend splitting your time between Bora Bora and another island to get the best experience. If you are set on Bora Bora, it may be difficult to stay under $10000, but to help the budget you may consider staying in a hotel room or garden bungalow for part of the time and some time in an overwater bungalow. Hotel rooms and garden bungalows are cheaper than overwater bungalows, so you can find some savings there. Add this with the tips provided above and you should be able to keep things a little more reasonable.

      We have to say that it is a lot of money, but it is well worth it! Even if you must save up a little bit longer to make it happen, you would be wise to do so!

      Good Luck with your planning!

      evan&tracy July 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm Reply

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