Traveling to French Polynesia, Tahiti & Bora Bora Right Now in a Pandemic
Yes, the rumors you heard are true! French Polynesia (which encompasses the popular islands of Tahiti, Mo’orea and Bora Bora, among others) is OPEN for tourism. The beautiful South Pacific hot-spot is one of my favorite places in the world and one of the best destinations for honeymoons. And, in a time when pretty much every other desirable tropical destination like Bali and Hawaii are closed to tourists, a socially-distanced vacation in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora is very appealing. So appealing that my fiance and I decided to travel to Bora Bora and Moorea on a whim (with only 10 days notice!) and it was AMAZING! (You can read more about our trip here!)
But before you go and book your trip to Bora Bora, there are a few things to know about the strict French Polynesia requirements for entry in the time of COVID-19. While it IS possible, and DEFINITELY worth it to go, the process is a little complicated – which is what I’m here for!
French Polynesia has been open since mid-July and have been extremely successful in keeping COVID-19 away from their beautiful island through the rigorous testing and pre-travel program they implemented for anyone coming to Tahiti, Mo’orea, Bora Bora, or anywhere in French Polynesia. And if you’re interested in visiting, it’s important you know what they’ll need from you at the airport before your flight.
So how do you travel to Bora Bora right now in a pandemic?
This information is accurate as of September 2020, but please check with the Tahiti Tourism site before you book your trip.
Since July 15th, 2020, quarantine measures are lifted and French Polynesia’s borders re-open to international tourism from all countries. All travelers are subject to the following mandatory conditions:
Prior to boarding:
Proof of a negative RT-PCR test (list of approved and non approved tests) carried out within three days prior to their international air departure;
During the stay:
Self-test 4 days after arrival in the islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora, Mo’orea or anywhere in French Polynesia. They provide this test to you at the airport and you give to your hotel.
The largest hurdle of French Polynesia’s testing requirements for travel is the fact that the country requires negative COVID-19 tests within 72 hours of the international flight departure. It’s very difficult, but not impossible to get a test in time. In San Francisco, I was able to do mine through My Doctor SF, a private testing center that guarantees next-day results, and has a relationship with the Tahiti government to make sure it is all fully compliant for your trip. In LA, I have heard My Concierge MD is great and who a friend of mine used for her trip. I’d recommend you check with your area for places that guarantee results in less than 3 days, and ask your airline for recommendations as well. Keep in mind when booking your flights it is better to do a flight later in the week so you have enough business days to have a cushion in getting your results back.
The test must be a PCR test (antigen or antibody tests are not reliable enough to be accepted, and they DO NOT accept self-tests or Rapid tests – this is an important distinction and they WILL turn you away at the airport if you don’t have the right test), and the test must be administered and returned within the three-day window.
There’s a reason they are so strict! It WORKS. My doctor told me the morning he delivered our (negative, thank goodness!) results, he also had to tell another couple they couldn’t go because they tested positive, and they would have been on our flight!! Crazy. Make sure you book refundable flights and have travel insurance (I recommend this one) just in case.
Ok now that the logistics are out of the way,
Check out my full post on this link here, but here are a couple of my favorites:
Four Seasons Bora Bora is the ultimate in luxury and panache.
It’s one of the best resorts in Bora Bora, and does a great job attracting both families and couples looking for a private, secluded motu, an expansive beach and dreamy pools, and the one-of-a-kind Four Seasons service that delivers the Bora Bora dream.
The Conrad is about 2/3 the cost of the Four Seasons and a gorgeous choice for a hotel in Bora Bora. It’s also where the Kardashians stayed when they went to Bora Bora! The Conrad Bora Bora Nui boasts some of the most incredible overwater bungalows of anywhere in the world, and we loved it here, too!
After Bora Bora, we traveled to the island of Moorea – which is STUNNING! You can read more here in my ultimate Moorea travel guide, but here’s where we stayed!
Mo’orea is located just off of Bora Bora (a short boat ride away) and is just as beautiful! It just doesn’t have the ‘name brand’ of Bora Bora, so you can find overwater bungalows at a more reasonable price than Bora Bora. I LOVED staying at the Hilton Mo’orea, and highhhhly recommend it. The bungalows, beach, activities, service, and FOOD were all incredible.
Check out my other related posts here!
The 10 Best luxury resorts in the USA