French Polynesia vs. Maldives. Which Do I Recommend More?

French Polynesia vs. the Maldives. I have received this question a few times since returning from French Polynesia a few months ago. Both have positives and negatives that I will cover in this blog post.

One thing to note: I am based in Washington in the U.S. so that will be one factor. This preference may shift for you based on where you are located in the world!

✈️Travel time

Winner: French Polynesia

As I mentioned, I am writing this based in Seattle, Washington in the states. By far, French Polynesia took less time to get to.

  • French Polynesia: I flew from Seattle to San Francisco (2 hour flight), had a 3 hour layover, then flew San Francisco to Tahiti (8 hours). Total travel time was about 13 hours.

  • Maldives: I flew from Seattle to Dubai (15 hour flight), 7 hour layover in Dubai, Dubai to Male (4 hour flight), a 2 hour layover in Male and then Male to our resort island (1 hour flight). Total travel time was about 29 hours.

🏌️‍♀️Things to do

Winner: French Polynesia

If you are like me, than you like to be on the go or have options for different activities. I would choose French Polynesia because we were able to do more than just spend time at a resort.

  • French Polynesia: We spent 2 weeks island hopping. We spent about 4 days in Tahiti, 5 days in Moorea, and 4 days in Bora Bora. It was a great mix of site seeing as well as being completely lazy. I liked having the option to do what we wanted based on how we were feeling that day. We went on an amazing day trip to Tetiaroa Atoll, which you can read about here.

  • Maldives: Maldives is definitely a country full of resort islands. It costs a decent amount to fly from Male (the capitol city and main land) out to the resort islands. Once you arrive on the island, it is pretty expensive to try and go to another island. Generally you are booking your round trip speed boat or float plane. Besides booking excursions right from your resort, there probably won't be a lot to do besides eating, drinking, pool time and naps. I mean, that isn't the WORST thing in the world, but it isn't my personal favorite vacation style. We chose our resort because it allowed us to leave our resort island to go to a nearby island to experience the 5.8 Undersea restaurant, which you can read about here.


Winner: It's a tie!

It is a bit more difficult for me to determine which cost less. I spent 1 week in the Maldives, but also spent time in Dubai, Singapore and London as part of our 2 week honeymoon. I spent 2 weeks island hopping in French Polynesia. I would say if I were to double the cost of the stay at our resort in the Maldives, then both French Polynesia and Maldives were about the same cost for two weeks. We spent about $8,500 in French Polynesia for two weeks and about $4,400 for one week in the Maldives.


Winner: French Polynesia

In both destinations, you can choose to stay in pricey resorts or in hostel / Airbnb's depending on how much you want to spend. However, there are FAR more options in French Polynesia.

  • Maldives: As I mentioned, you can decide to stay on the main island of Male for a more cost effective trip, however, due to the strong religious beliefs, you cannot drink on the main island and there are just more restrictions. When you go out to the resort islands you are allowed to drink, but typically you will pay several hundred more dollars per day to be there. One way we made the accommodation cost worth it was by selecting a resort that was all inclusive.


Winner: It's a tie!

This is a tough one because the food styles are very different in both destinations. I would have to say that this one is a tie.

  • French Polynesia: French Polynesia has quite the melting pot of food styles. We enjoyed amazing Thai food from a food truck, AMAZING seafood, good pizza and more!

  • Maldives: In Maldives, our resort had about 6 different restaurants where they had many different styles of food from: sushi to Sri Lankan to the best fresh fruit I have ever had!


Winner: French Polynesia

Obviously, I have to cover the beer scene in each destination. I obviously have to give this one to French Polynesia as we actually enjoyed beer brewed in the country.

  • French Polynesia: The main beer of French Polynesia is Hinano beer. Hinano brews a few different style of beer. In Tahiti, there was also a small brewery called 3 Brasseurs which we also enjoyed!

  • Maldives: The Maldives doesn't have anything local to Maldives since it wholly is a dry country. The beer we drank in Maldives was Carlberg (a UK beer) or Lion lager (a beer brewed in Sri Lanka).

Overall thoughts

Overall, if you are looking for diversity of food, travel time, and things to do, than I would say that you would probably enjoy French Polynesia more. However, if you are looking to strictly relax at a beautiful resort for a week and you are open to turning the long travel time into an opportunity to see other contrives along the way, than you would really enjoy the Maldives. You can't go wrong with either, but both destinations offer a completely different experience.

Have you been to both? Which destination would you pick?

🖥️Other blog posts

If you would like to read more about my trips to both Maldives and French Polynesia, I have a bunch of posts written on each.

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