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17 Top Bora-Bora Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

what to pack for bora bora
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Bora-Bora was finally discovered by the outside world, and by the 1960s, it had developed a reputation as the “most beautiful island in the world”. These days, all that’s needed to experience this legendary island is a passport and a plane ticket. But if you decide to travel here, you’ll want to make sure to come prepared with all of the necessary equipment, since prices here are notoriously high, and department stores are nonexistent.

Below is a packing list of essential items to bring to Bora-Bora, helpful info on the seasons and FAQs, plus info on what NOT to bring or wear.

See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for Bora-Bora - 17 Essentials

  • 1. Quick-dry Travel Towel

    One of the first things I packed on my trip to Bora-Bora was my quick-dry travel towel, which is essential for a trip to this island. On Bora-Bora, you’ll likely spend a lot of time exploring the island, and you’ll want to be ready to jump in the water any time. Keep this towel in your bag, and you’ll always be prepared for a quick dip.

    travel towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Beach Mat

    If you don’t spend a significant part of your vacation at Bora-Bora on the beach, something must be wrong. This beach mat gives you plenty of space for two people to stretch out and enjoy the rays without getting everything covered in sand. It also packs away easily for travel in the included storage bag.

    Beach Mat

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Cooling Towel

    I use this towel on day hikes or trips to the beach when my quick dry towel is in the wash or drying out. The HERO Cooling Towel is perfect for drying off after a snorkeling trip or a dip in the resort pool. It comes in a pack of two, so you can keep one in your bag and leave the other in your bungalow.

    cooling towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 4. Beach Bag

    Although Bora-Bora is a small island, you’ll still have dozens of beaches to choose from every day. Whether you decide to make new friends at a beachside bar or go exploring for your own private cove, this beach bag is perfect for staying organized by the water. There’s a pocket for everything from sunscreen, to your mask and snorkel, to your Hinano beer.

    Beach Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    The weather on Bora-Bora can be very dynamic, and it’s not uncommon to experience rain squalls each afternoon. Be prepared for rain or shine with a windproof travel umbrella, which folds away to fit in your daypack, yet does a great job of protecting you from the sun and rain.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Packing Cubes

    There is limited space for baggage on the flight to Bora-Bora, so you’ll want to pack carefully. These packing cubes have helped me enormously to organize my gear for trips to places like Bora-Bora. They come in a pack of five various sizes, plus two extra bags for dirty laundry.

    Packing Cubes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 7. Luggage Locks

    It’s important to secure your bags with luggage locks when traveling abroad. A flight to Bora Bora is a long one, and your luggage will come in contact with many other people before it makes it back to you. Keep it secure with TSA-approved luggage locks.

    luggage locks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    I like to keep all of my personal toiletry items together in one place and I’ve found this bag to be perfect for trips like this. It’s small yet functional and has just the right amount of space to fit your toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, soap, and other personal items.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Neck Wallet

    This is very important for the trip en route to Bora-Bora, but it’s also useful while on the island itself. This neck wallet is the perfect place to keep all of your most valuable belongings hidden in one place where pickpockets won’t even know it’s there. It also has an RFID-blocking lining to protect your credit cards from potential e-theft.

    Neck Wallet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Travel Insurance for Bora-Bora

    Even a trip to paradise can be ruined by a missed flight or a medical emergency. Protect yourself from any potential disasters by purchasing a solid travel insurance policy. Travelinsurance.com has some of the best coverage available for the lowest rates, and I have trusted them on trips to over 30 countries over the past ten years.

    travelinsurance.com

    Compare policies at TravelInsurance.com ➜

  • 11. Lifestraw Water Bottle

    Whenever I travel internationally, I make sure to bring at least one way to purify my drinking water. Many of the resorts on Bora-Bora offer free bottled water, but just in case, I keep a Lifestraw Water Bottle in my bag. If the water quality is ever in doubt, I know I’ll be protected from bacteria, viruses, and dirt.

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 12. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    On Bora-Bora, you’ll want to protect your phone from the elements with a waterproof case. I used this phone case on my last trip to French Polynesia, and I was able to take my phone to the beach and even out swimming without any issues. I’ve since used it on numerous other trips, and it’s held up perfectly.

    Universa Waterproof

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 13. Rugged Luggage

    Your luggage is one of the most important items on this list since that’s where you’ll keep all of your gear safe. I like the Rockland Melbourne Hardside luggage because it’s affordable, lightweight, and durable. This set comes in two different sizes so that you can take the smaller case on short trips and the larger one on longer adventures.

    Rugged Luggage

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 14. Floating Wrist Strap

    Many of the resorts on Bora-Bora are only accessible via high-speed boat transfer from the airport. If the wind is up or the seas are choppy, it’s easy to drop something overboard. You can protect your most important handheld items from sinking to the bottom with this Floating Wrist Strap, which will keep the item afloat until you can turn around and scoop it back up.

    Floating Wrist Strap

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    I only recently started paying for a VPN service while traveling, but it’s made certain aspects of travel much safer. This service changes the location on your phone or computer, so you can log into online accounts as if you were in another country and enjoy safe untraceable internet browsing. It also protects you from tracking, ads, and malware and helps with password protection.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    View NordVPN.com Options ➜

  • 16. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    On Bora-Bora, time doesn’t exist in the way that it does in the fast-paced “real world,” and it’s all too easy to see the day pass in the blink of an eye. Don’t get caught out with a dead cell phone battery. If you keep one or two of these portable chargers in your bag, you’ll always know you have an emergency charge available.

    charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 17. Packable Daypack

    I like to bring a daypack with me on every vacation, but it’s often impractical to take a whole extra piece of baggage. You can solve that problem by bringing a collapsible daypack that folds away into its own pocket. This daypack is so small that you’ll forget you even packed it until you need it for an adventure.

    Packable Daypack

    View on Amazon.com ➜

What to Wear in Bora-Bora


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On Bora-Bora there are three main activities to dress for – beach/water recreation, hiking, biking or exploring around the island, and social functions like going out to a nice dinner or a party with friends. For the first two activities, you’ll need to dress for the weather, make sure to use plenty of skin protection from the sun, as well as wear clothes that will keep you cool and comfortable no matter the temperature. For social functions, which often are planned around the evening or night when temperatures are more moderate, you can dress up a bit – but not too much, remember, this is Polynesia.

What Women Should Wear in Bora-Bora- (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list.(All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Women on Bora-Bora should wear what they want. After all, it takes a lot of money and effort to get to the most beautiful island in the world! Bring different sets of clothing for the beach, boating or surfing, exploring the island, and for formal occasions. My wife likes to organize outfits for each day prior to departure so that while on vacation, no time is wasted worrying about clothes.

What Men Should Wear in Bora-Bora- (Click to expand)

Below is a sample men’s clothing list.(All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

When I’m in Polynesia, I usually wear as little clothing as possible, which in Bora-Bora usually means swimming trunks paired with no shirt or a t-shirt. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t use my sunscreen, wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. I often wore a button-up shirt while eating out at restaurants, and I put on a long pair of slacks and proper shoes while meeting customs officials.

Dressing for the Seasons in Bora Bora

DRY SEASON – April, May, June, July, August, September, October

The weather in Bora-Bora is hot almost all the time. But there are two distinct seasons – the dry season between April and October and the wet season from November to March. The temperatures are a little bit cooler on average during the dry season, although there is more sun and less humidity. Between April and October, you’ll be fine wearing shorts and a t-shirt most of the time.

Of course, you’ll need to cover up with sunscreen and use a sunhat and glasses to protect your face. That said, the weather can change with very little warning, and you’ll always want to be ready for sudden rain with a rain jacket or poncho. In the dry season, you can expect daily high temperatures in the low 80’s and lows in the high 60’s.

WET SEASON – November, December, January, February, March

Far fewer people brave Bora-Bora during the wet season, but those who do will find the island pleasantly empty. The trade-off is hotter, more humid weather, lots of rain, and the chance of encountering a tropical storm. The hottest month of the year on Bora-Bora is March, with average high temps in the mid 80’s. To be prepared for the heat and humidity, you’ll want to dress in clothing that helps keep you cool throughout the day.

You’ll also want to keep your raincoat, umbrella, and poncho close by. Lows in the wet season are in the low 70’s, so you’ll likely only need a sweater on windy days when the combination of the windchill and wetness can make it feel deceptively cold

Dressing appropriately for the activity– (Click to expand)

Beach walking and Snorkeling: There are few better places in the world to enjoy the beach than Bora-Bora. Come prepared with a swimsuit, towel, long-sleeved shirt, sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat. I like to go barefoot on the beach but if that isn’t your thing, sandals or flip-flops should work fine. Don’t forget your mask and snorkel!

Trekking: If you decide to have a go at one of Bora-Bora’s scenic trails, you’ll want to dress entirely in activewear, which will help keep you cool and won’t soak up as much sweat as cotton clothing. Wear shorts or hiking pants and a t-shirt, as well as walking shoes and sun protection. Don’t forget your daypack with your raincoat, trekking poles, and other necessities.

Boating: What better way to experience Bora-Bora than the way the Polynesians first arrived – via the deck of a boat? While boating around the island, wear surf shorts and a t-shirt, as well as a lifejacket and sunhat. Keep your foul weather gear handy in case the weather gets rough.

Dinner With Friends: This is the reason you brought your fancy clothes to a tropical island. Bora-Bora attracts the world’s rich and famous, and it’s ok to dress like them if that’s your thing. Formal pants and shoes, along with a button-down shirt and blazer or a dinner dress, should work for even the fanciest resorts on the island.

What NOT to Bring to Bora-Bora

  • 1.DON’T Bring an Expensive Yacht

    Bora-Bora is usually brimming with rich boat owners who come in massive yachts and treat those they encounter as hired assistants. I had found myself much more warmly welcomed when I arrived on a small vessel than on a large yacht. The Polynesians can relate to those who brave the seas on a small boat but not to those who turn their noses up at other people.

  • 2.DON’T Bring Invasive Animals and Plants

    Most isolated islands fight a silent war against the invasion of non-native species that would kill off the indigenous plant and animal life. Don’t accelerate the process by bringing pets or (plant or animal) hitchhikers who could put the natural balance of the island at risk.

  • 3.DON’T Bring Too Much Makeup

    In Bora-Bora, people tend to naturally look their best. They soak up the sun and the salt, and stress melts away quickly in paradise. Here, there is little need for makeup and cosmetics, which would quickly wash away in the heat and water anyway.

  • 4.DON’T Bring a Strict Schedule

    Don’t forget to set your clock to island time when you come to Bora-Bora. Here, people move at their own pace, and meetings set for “in an hour” often get delayed until the next day. Leave your strict schedule behind when you travel to Bora-Bora or you are likely to get frustrated.

  • 5.DON’T Bring Too Much Food

    Some visitors to Bora-Bora will be tempted to save on food costs by bringing provisions from home, but you will likely still pay for it in excessive baggage fees. French Polynesia has an abundance of excellent French, Chinese, and Polynesian restaurants, which would be a shame to miss on your dream vacation.

  • 6.DON’T Bring an Empty Wallet

    Bora-Bora is not a cheap place to visit, and visitors are often amazed at how quickly carefully managed funds disappear. Make sure to bring more money than you expect to need, and keep emergency cash at hand in case you run out before the end of your vacation.

What NOT to Wear on Bora-Bora – (Click to expand)

While coconut bras have long been associated with Bora-Bora, the early Polynesian women who lived here actually chose to go topless, and the coconut bra was introduced later to entertain westerners. Try a traditional pareo instead. While you may choose to wear formal clothing to a party or dinner date on the island, leave your dress shoes and high heels at home. On Bora-Bora, there is too much sand and water for such footwear to be practical.

FAQs about Visiting Bora-Bora

  • 1. How Big is Bora-Bora?

    How Big is Bora-Bora?

    For all of its fame, Bora-Bora is actually quite a small island. Including the surrounding reefs, the island is less than ten miles long from north to south and about six miles wide. The road which circles the main island can easily be circumnavigated by bicycle or scooter in a leisurely afternoon. That said, the irregular shape of the land makes for innumerable hidden coves and beaches. You could easily explore Bora-Bora for many months and not get bored.

  • 2. How Can I Get to Bora-Bora?

    Most people travel to Bora-Bora either via the short daily Tahiti Nui flight from Papeete or via private vessel. A smaller number of people come via cruise ship or by paying for space on a cargo ship.

  • 3. Are There Other Accommodations Available Aside From the Resorts?

    Are There Other Accommodations Available Aside From the Resorts?

    Bora-Bora is famous for its postcard-perfect over-the-water honeymoon bungalows, which are as expensive as they are wonderful. A single night at many of the resorts on the island can put you back well over $1,000. Fortunately, there are much cheaper options available, with rooms available at more modest lodges for $120. Of course, you can always bring your camping gear or find a spot on one of the many visiting boats.

  • 4. Can I Rent a Boat on Bora-Bora?

    Since the roads on Bora-Bora only cover a small portion of the island, many of the beaches and islets are only accessible via the water. One of the best ways to experience the island is by cruising around on your own boat. There are a variety of charter companies based out of the neighboring island Raiatea – only a few hour’s sail away. Or if you are brave, you can hit up the yacht club and ask around for any vessels that need crew.

  • 5. What are the Dangers on Bora-Bora?

    What are the Dangers on Bora-Bora?

    Bora-Bora is generally known to be a safe destination for travelers, but there are some risks that should be taken seriously. Like any island destination, there is always a chance of falling into trouble with the water. You’ll want to play it safe to avoid the risk of drowning and keep an eye out for dangerous marine animals. If you are worried about dangerous weather, make sure to visit Bora-Bora in the dry season.

  • 6. How Much Should I Budget for a Trip to Bora-Bora?

    Unfortunately, Bora-Bora is not known as a cheap destination. The average cost for a one-week stay on the island is $3,100 for a solo traveler, $5,700 for a couple, and $10,700 for a family of four. Fortunately, there are cheaper ways to experience Bora-Bora for adventurous travelers.

  • 7. Can I Hike to the Top of Bora-Bora?

    Can I Hike to the Top of Bora-Bora?

    Many trekking enthusiasts who visit Bora-Bora set themselves the goal of hiking to the top of the island. The summit of Bora-Bora’s highest peak is called Otemanu and reaches 2,385 feet above sea level. Unfortunately, the summit requires technical climbing skills and should only be attempted by experienced climbers, but casual trekkers can climb up the shoulder of the peak without any issues.

  • 8. When is the Best Time to Visit Bora-Bora?

    Most people choose to travel to Bora-Bora during the dry season between the months of April and October. The busiest month is often July, around the time of the Bastille Day celebrations, which are celebrated all over French Polynesia. If you want to visit Bora-Bora when the weather is nice, but there are fewer crowds, you can aim for April or November.

  • 9. Are all the Beaches on Bora-Bora Open to Tourists?

    Are all the Beaches on Bora-Bora Open to Tourists?

    In French Polynesia, pretty much every bit of land is an ancestral family plot, so it’s important to obtain permission before setting foot somewhere that you aren’t sure about. You can ask the manager at your hotel to point out the best beaches that are open to the public on a map. If you are interested in exploring a particular area, find the nearest house and ask politely. You are more likely to make new friends than to get chased away if you are polite.

  • 10. How Long Can I Stay on Bora-Bora?

    Most tourists are allowed to stay in French Polynesia for 90 days every six months without a visa. If you plan to stay longer, or your reason for visiting is not solely tourism, you may be required to obtain a visa for your stay.