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
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
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
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
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
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.)
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
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
Yes! Whether your target is Panama, Jamaica or a private island in between, there are many overwater bungalows in the Caribbean. Read through our top picks before booking a getaway.
Panama. It’s less than four hours away from Orlando by plane.
Most likely Cambodia. It has highly rated accommodations available for less than $20 a night — and super-cheap beer. We’ll cheers to that!
Stephanie Yip is the travel editor at Finder and has been writing about travel and lifestyle for over a decade. She has written for a range of travel publications including Thomas Cook Magazine and Showpo. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, and has visited over 50 countries (and counting). She has a passion for sharing her experiences and knowledge of travel and helping consumers stretch their travel cash while on holiday.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.