Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Traveling aboard the National Geographic Orion, enjoy onboard talks as well as hands-on instruction from a National Geographic photographer.
  • Hike to a remote waterfall or search for rare birds on the far-flung isle of Fatu Hiva, alongside our naturalists.
  • Explore the little-known Tuamotu Archipelago by kayak, walk its pristine beaches, and snorkel or dive its vibrant reefs.
  • Witness a traditional Marquesan dance performance at an ancient marae, used for spiritual and community gatherings.

Itinerary

Itinerary

On a voyage to the far-flung archipelagos of French Polynesia, explore the unspoiled atolls of the Tuamotus before setting course for the remote Marquesas Islands. The Marquesas, some of which have been virtually untouched since the era of European exploration, are home to a proud people whose unique dialect links directly to the ancient Polynesian language of Maohi. It is believed locally that the spirits of the ancient Maohi linger among the saw-toothed peaks, lush valleys, and limestone grottos that we’ll explore here. Spend time discovering these beautiful and remote islands that once drew the likes of Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Paul Gauguin.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.

 

Day 1: Depart U.S.

Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Tahiti.

Day 2: Papeete, French Polynesia/BORA BORA, Society Islands

Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti early this morning and take a short, scenic flight to the nearby atoll of Bora Bora, known for its spectacular volcanic crags. After a short tour of the island, embark the National Geographic Orion.
National Geographic Orion for the entire voyage.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 3-5: At Sea/Tuamotu Archipelago

We begin our exploration of the “dangerous archipelago” at Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Snorkel the protected reefs or ride the current into the lagoon on a world-famous drift dive. Continue to Raroia, one of the easternmost atolls in this chain and the site where Thor Heyerdahl’s famous Kon-Tiki raft made landfall in 1947.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 6-7: At Sea/TAHUATA, MARQUESAS

One of the most remote island groups on Earth, the Marquesas see few visitors, yet offer ample opportunity for exploration. Our visit begins on Tahuata, the smallest of the inhabited Marquesan isles. Choose to attend a local church service and spend time discovering Vaitahu, the island’s main village. Later, we’ll dock at nearby Hapatoni Bay for an afternoon of optional excursions on land and sea.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 8: Nuku Hiva

Start the day at Hatiheu Bay on the north shore of Nuku Hiva Island—the capital of the archipelago. Gaze at ancient petroglyphs and witness a spectacular dance performance at a Marquesan marae, an open-air space used for spiritual and community gatherings. Or hike up a lush valley with naturalists in search of rare birds and jaw-dropping views overlooking the isle's towering emerald cliffs. Later, head to the village to sample local foods and peruse unique arts and crafts.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: Exploring the Marquesas

The day is open for exploring the Marquesa archipelago by sea. Scuba dive with manta rays, search for rare cetaceans with our onboard naturalists, and marvel at the rugged volcanic silhouettes of these legendary islands while paddling coastal waters by kayak and Zodiac.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Hiva Oa

Anchor at Hiva Oa and visit the scenic village of Atuona, stopping at a local bakery for a freshly baked baguette. Venture to the Calvary Cemetery to see the gravesites for French artist Paul Gauguin and Belgian singer Jacques Brel, both of whom spent their final years on the island. Then travel into the mountains above Puamau village to see the stunning Me'ae Lipona, home to one of the largest ancient tiki statues in Polynesia.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Fatu Hiva

Make your way to the deck this morning to photograph the dramatic volcanic pillars of Hanavave Bay as our ship approaches one of the most storied shorelines in the Pacific. Once ashore, visit a remote village to view Marquesan art displays. Choose to tackle a challenging hike to a remote waterfall, or take Zodiacs to a neighboring bay, where local transport will take you on a bird-watching foray deep into the Omoa Valley.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 12-14: AT SEA/Tuamotu Archipelago

Spend two days exploring some of the more than 80 isles and atolls that make up this seldom-visited French Polynesian archipelago. Snorkel or dive stunning reefs, kayak and stand-up paddleboard on turquoise lagoons, and walk pristine beaches beneath coconut palms.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 15: Makatea

An uplifted coral atoll, the island of Makatea is one of the most unique landforms in the Pacific. Spend the day exploring limestone caves and grottos with your expedition team and local guides, or search for endemic fruit doves and myriad seabirds; then snorkel and dive among colorful tropical fish on the nearby reef.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 16-17: Papeete/Home

After breakfast, disembark in Papeete and explore Tahiti before transferring to the airport for your overnight flight home.

Meals Included:Day 16 (Breakfast, Lunch)