The first step of getting to Bora Bora is flying into Faa’a International Airport (PPT) in the capital city of Papeete on the island of Tahiti. Air Tahiti Nui, Air France, and Hawaiian Airlines flights from LAX will take 8 hours.
If you happen to be flying into Los Angeles beforehand, leave yourself at least 3 hours of transfer time. Hawaiian Airlines fly out of Terminal 2 and both Air Tahiti Nui & Air France fly out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The airport has a shuttle service system that runs every 10 minutes that will take you to your desired terminal free of charge.
Once you arrive in Tahiti, you will need to transfer to Air Tahiti which is the only inter-island airline that serves French Polynesia. There are usually 7-10 flights to Bora Bora Airport (BOB) each day. However, before you can proceed, your luggage will need to be claimed from your international flight and then you will need to clear customs.
Outside of the customs area, there will be several travel company representatives greeting incoming visitors with flowers. If you have a travel company voucher, just look for your name on one of the whiteboards, and there will be someone to help you. The Air Tahiti check-in counter is to the right of the customs doors. If you want to save time, you have the ability to check-in online or use the self-service kiosks available, although they don’t always work.
Air Tahiti Checked Baggage Allowance:
- Number of bags allowed: up to 3 pieces per person
- Maximum dimensions: length + width + height = 59 in (150 cm)
- Maximum weight: 50 lb (23kg) per person for all pieces
If you have time before your flight to Bora Bora, you can exchange currency with one of the Tahitian banks available or grab a bite to eat at one of the cafes. There is also a baggage storage facility at Faa’a International Airport where you could leave your bags and explore downtown Papeete; a 15-minute taxi ride will cost about $20 USD.
Flying from Tahiti to Bora Bora takes 50 minutes, and on a clear day, there’s a beautiful view of Moorea, Raiatea, and Taha’a along the way. There is a short beverage service available on the plane serving local Rotui juices.
Once you arrive in Bora Bora, you will either take the free public boat shuttle to Vaitape on the main island, or one of the resort boats will take you directly to their hotel property. If you’re staying at one of the major resorts, there are several hotel kiosk stations at the airport with friendly staff to welcome and instruct you on how to claim your bags and where to board their boat.
If you are staying at a local bed and breakfast (pension) or condominium, you will need to make sure someone is available to pick you up in Vaitape. Otherwise, there is an Avis car/scooter rental office right across the street from the marina. When booking these types of accommodations you typically just need to give them your flight itinerary when you make your reservation and they will meet you at the marina.
Departing Bora Bora is much the same but in reverse. Your resort will arrange your boat shuttle based on flight time. You’ll need to check-in your bags for the Air Tahiti flight. Bora Bora airport is small, and there is no security checkpoint to go through. When you arrive in Tahiti, you’ll need to claim your bags and then work your way to the international check-in area. The counters open 3 hours before departures, and the lines can get very long so plan accordingly.
You’ll need to go through customs then security, but once inside the terminal there are duty-free shops, cafes, and an art gallery. If you’re a business class flyer walk to the end of the terminal and there is a staircase to a private invitation-only lounge upstairs.