Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Dreamy places like Bora Bora

Paradise-on-earth vacation destinations — beyond French Polynesia.

Updated

Fact checked
View of several overwater bungalows in Bora Bora with gorgeous sea and sky

Simply because a luxe escape to Bora Bora may be out of reach — a one-way plane ticket can cost you $1,500 — doesn’t mean you can’t have that bucket-list beach vacation. There are plenty of other romantic islands and sparkling shorelines with overwater bungalows that are as equally postcard-worthy — but cheaper to get to.

Here are our top picks for lust-worthy and budget-friendly places similar to Bora Bora.

Bora Bora travel overview

  • Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Motu Mute): 11 hours and 35 minutes
  • Average flight price from the US (Los Angeles to Motu Mute): From $1,549 with one stop in Tahiti
  • Accommodation (3-star): From $74 for a beachfront lodge on the main island
  • Domestic beer: About $8.20
  • Three-course meal for two (mid-range restaurant): About $50
  • Package vacations: From $2,074 for a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from LAX.

Places like Bora Bora

seychelles

1. Seychelles

Surrounded by the clear, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean off Africa’s eastern coast, the Seychelles is home to 115 islands. Each little bit of paradise hosts soft-sand beaches, lush tropical forests and unique plant and animal life — including jellyfish trees, latanier palms and coco de mer fruit.

  • Flight time from the US (New York City to Mahé island): 20 hours and 25 minutes
  • Average flight price from the US (New York City to Mahé island): From $1,142 with one stop in Dubai
  • Accommodation (3-star): From $84 for a jungle lodge on Mahé island
  • Domestic beer: About $5.20
  • Three-course meal for two (mid-range restaurant): About $78
  • Package vacations: From $1,410 for a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from NYC
Find flightsFind hotels
maldives

2. Maldives

In the warm waters of the Indian Ocean southwest of Sri Lanka, this chain of more than 1,000 islands consists of 26 coral atolls. Spot dolphins and whales in its perfect blue lagoons from your overwater bungalow.

  • Flight time from the US (New York City to Malé): 18 to 23 hours, depending on the flight
  • Average flight price from the US (New York City to Malé): From $497 with one stop in Moscow
  • Accommodation (3-star): From $44 for a beach hotel in Maafushi of Kaafu Atoll
  • Domestic beer: About $3
  • Three-course meal for two (mid-range restaurant): About $30
  • Package vacations: From $1,056 for a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from NYC
Find flightsFind hotels
Cook Islands

3. Cook Islands

With its similar French Polynesian heritage, turquoise waters and white beaches, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the difference between the Cook Islands and Bora Bora. A main draw here is the easy travel — Air New Zealand offers nonstop flights from L.A. that are barely longer than a day at the office.

  • Flight time from US (Los Angeles): 9 hours and 30 minutes
  • Average flight price from US (Los Angeles): From $446 nonstop from LAX with New Zealand Air
  • Accommodation (3-star): From $142 for a beach hotel on Rarotonga island
  • Domestic beer: About $6
  • Three-course meal for two: About $40
  • Package vacations: From $1,399 for a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from NYC
Find flightsFind hotels
indonesia

4. Indonesia

From its enviable beaches and relaxed vibe to rich history and exotic appeal, Indonesia is a gorgeous place to channel your inner beach bum. Choose Bali for its breathtaking waterfalls, majestic volcanoes and island-in-the-sun vibe.

  • Flight time from the US (San Francisco to Bali — Denpasar): 20 hours and 55 minutes
  • Average flight price from US (San Francisco to Bali — Denpasar ): From $702 with one stop in Taiwan
  • Accommodation (3-star): From $43 for a hotel and spa in Bali
  • Domestic beer: About $2.50
  • Three-course meal for two: About $25.50
  • Package vacations: From $723 for a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from San Fran
Find flightsFind hotels
panama

5. Panama

Perched on the edge of the Caribbean Sea, Panama is a veritable tropical paradise where mañana is the unofficial catch phrase: aka — we’ll do it tomorrow. Today is for relaxing on the beach.

You’ll find cheaper overwater bungalows here than in Bora Bora, plus bumpin’ nightlife and fewer American tourists overall.

  • Flight time from the US (Orlando Tocumen Int’l Airport in Panama City): 3 hours and 25 minutes.
  • Average flight price from the US (Orlando to Tocumen Int’l Airport in Panama City): From $238 nonstop with Copa Airlines
  • Accommodation (3-star): From $70 per night in Bocas del Toro Province — where some of the best Bora Bora-esque beaches are
  • Domestic beer: About $3
  • Three-course meal for two: About $40
  • Package vacations: From $600 for a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from Orlando to Panama City. Keep in mind that if you want to say in Bocas del Toro, you’ll have to travel almost 10 hours by car and ferry to get there (but we think it’s worth it.)
Find flightsFind hotels
cambodia

6. Cambodia

Seeking an exotic escape with pristine beaches that won’t blow the budget? Try Cambodia. It’s got islands and beaches galore, without the hefty price tag.

Visit Preah Sihanouk for coastal views from the mainland, or venture onto Koh Rong for a more rustic beach bungalow experience.

  • Flight time from US (Los Angeles to Siem Reap): 19 hours and 45 minutes
  • Average flight price from US (Los Angeles to Siam Reap): From $442 with one stop in Shanghai
  • Accommodation (3-star): From $14 per night for for a private bungalow, or $5 per night for a more traditional hotel
  • Domestic beer: Less than $1
  • Three-course meal for two: About $20
  • Package vacations: From $887 for a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from LA
Find flightsFind hotels
cambodia

7. Malaysia

When it comes to beach destinations, Malaysia may not be the first place that comes to mind. But sitting so close to Indonesia, it shares some of its idyllic landscape.

We love Langkawi for its 99 picturesque islands, swaying coconut trees and glorious diving waters. But if you like more colonial architecture and a cosmopolitan feel, glam it up in Penang.

  • Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur): 21 hours and 25 minutes
  • Average flight price from US (Los Angeles Kuala Lumpur): From $353 with one stop in Shanghai
  • Accommodation (3-star): From $26 per night for a stay in Penang, or $37 per night for a beachside hotel in Langkawi
  • Domestic beer: About $4
  • Three-course meal for two: About $19
  • Package vacations: From $971 for a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from L.A. to Langkawi
Find flightsFind hotels
philippines

8. Philippines

Hailed as having more than 7,000 islands waiting for you to explore, the Phillipines boasts some of the best in the world — Boracay, Cebu and Palawan, to name a few. Each offers different attractions, like crystal-clear waters and powder-soft beaches to historical monuments.

  • Flight time from the US (Los Angeles to Manila): 14 hours and 30 minutes
  • Average flight price from US (Los Angeles Manila): From $484 nonstop with Philippine Airlines
  • Accommodation (3-star): From $43 per night for a beachfront hotel in Boracay
  • Domestic beer: Less than $2
  • Three-course meal for two: About $16
  • Package vacations: From $930 for a 3-star hotel + round-trip flight from L.A. to Boracay Island
Find flightsFind hotels

How we found the prices on this page

All prices were quoted in January 2020, using dates in September 2020 as a guide.

  • We sourced the average flight costs from Skyscanner. Prices are based on one-way economy fares from the US for one adult and are subject to fluctuate over time.
  • Food and drink costs sourced from Numbeo
  • Hotel costs were sourced from Finder’s hotel database. Prices are based on a per-night rate at a 3-star beach resort — and we only chose hotels with a customer rating of 8 or more out of 10.
  • We sourced the vacation packages on Expedia, and chose accommodations with customer review ratings of 4.5 or more out of 5 stars for the flight + hotel bundle deal.

Travel deals to place like Bora Bora:

Priceline Priceline

Paul Gauguin Cruises from $385/night: Fiji, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Cook Islands and more

Exclusive DOUBLE Offer: Get up to $2,000 Back - T&Cs apply

Last verified

Hilton Hotels & Resorts Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Daily breakfast and savings on local experiences includes 15% off food tour, 15% off Island Jetski Tour and Sea Breeze Dolphin Snorkel Trips

Plus get 20% off island adventure, exclusive discount on car rentals and more. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseDirect CruiseDirect

Cruise deals in the South Pacific: Fiji, French Polynesia, Easter Island and more

Last verified

Bottom line

Whether Bora Bora’s too pricey or you simply want to go somewhere new — and less trafficked by social media influencers — these places offer a similar escape from the day-to-day hustle of life. Soothing ocean waves and tropical activities abound in French Polynesia and beyond.

When you’re ready to book the trip, check out our hotel tool. It can help you find a great place to stay within your target price.

Frequently asked questions

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site