The vast stretch of sea from Easter Island to French Polynesia has seen the passage of missionaries and mutineers, intrepid explorers and enigmatic cultures. Explore spectacular lagoons and rare, uplifted atolls, and snorkel and dive and pristine reef systems in the “low islands” known as the Tuamotu Archipelago. Soak up the joyous rhythms of traditional music and dancing, meet the descendants of the H.M.S. Bounty mutineers on the Pitcairn Islands, and delve into the mysterious lost culture of Easter Island.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Santiago, Chile. Upon arrival, transfer to the Ritz-Carlton. This evening, join fellow travelers, experts, and staff for a welcome reception. Early the next morning, fly to Easter Island, where we will spend two nights at the Hanga Roa Eco-Resort. Explore volcanic calderas, jagged lava fields, and sweeping grasslands, and discover the island’s colossal moai statues—the astonishing legacy of a long-lost culture. Join archaeologists to examine these statues and discuss their meaning and creation; and visit burial sites, quarries, and intricately carved ceremonial altars.
Set sail from Easter Island. On the two-day journey west, listen to informative talks by our experts. Upon arrival in Ducie Island, watch for frigatebirds and boobies and snorkel or dive among spectacular reefs. Continue to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Henderson Island, an uplifted atoll uninhabited by humans. On walks and Zodiac excursions, discover the island’s four endemic bird species, rich flora and fauna, and fascinating geology. Continue to Pitcairn Island, where many of the mutineers of the legendary Bounty made their home in the late 18th century. About 50 of their descendants still live here today. Meet the residents and hear a few words of the unusual Pitkern dialect—a combination of English “sailor speak” and Polynesian phrases. Visit the gravesite of the last surviving Bounty mutineer, John Adams, and see the Bounty’s anchor, which was salvaged in 1957.
Spend a day at sea scanning the horizon with our naturalists, or relaxing on deck with a book. Arrive at Mangareva, the largest of the Gambier Islands, famous for its black pearls. Venture underwater to snorkel or dive, meet islanders to learn about their culture and the missionaries who made their home here, and go on a hike with our naturalists.
We begin our exploration of the “Dangerous Archipelago” in Pukarua, where traditional dancers greet us. Navigate reefs and islets during a day at sea, and then explore one of the uninhabited atolls such as Tahanea. Arrive in Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Learn about the island’s pearl industry, and walk its pristine beaches. Snorkel the protected reefs or ride the current into the lagoon on a world-famous drift dive.
Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti and take a tour of the island before transferring to the airport for your overnight flight home.
- Moorea Extension2 days from $1,410
On the isle of Moorea, volcanic peaks rise from sapphire seas in an explosion of emerald-green splendor, creating an arresting backdrop for a French Polynesian escape. Settle into our oceanfront hotel and spend time ensconced in this tropical wonderland. Kayak, snorkel, and paddleboard among pristine coral reefs, unwind on white-sand beaches, and explore dense tropical forest where bright hibiscuses bloom and rare birds roost.
Arrive in Tahiti and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then board a ferry for the quick ride to Moorea. As we arrive in port, marvel at green-shrouded peaks rising above the sugar-white beaches and turquoise bays of this secluded Polynesian island. Check in to our hotel, then enjoy a free evening to explore palm-lined shores or relax in rooms overlooking the water.
Savor fresh tropical fruit during breakfast at our hotel, then take advantage of the hotel’s many amenities to shape your stay on Moorea according to your own schedule and interests. Set out by kayak to explore the hotel’s private lagoon or nearby pristine coastal ecosystems, coasting above coral reefs in search of colorful fish, sharks, and rays. Don a snorkel mask or a special diving helmet to get even closer to extraordinary underwater creatures. Ride horseback into the lush green valleys of the island’s interior, or relax with traditional Polynesian therapies in the hotel spa. Put your feet in the sand during lunch at the beach bar or enjoy an elegant meal at one of three on-site restaurants.
Wake up to the sound of waves outside your window, and head out for a morning swim in Moorea’s warm waters. Choose to visit a corner of the lagoon where a team of conservationists works to rehabilitate sick and injured sea turtles. Then opt to head out to spot these endangered creatures in their natural habitat while exploring the island’s shores by stand-up paddleboard or outrigger canoe. In the early evening, transfer by ferry back to Tahiti and gather for a Polynesian buffet dinner and a traditional Tahitian dance performance. Then, transfer to the airport to connect with your flight home.