Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Sail the National Geographic Orion to Easter Island and delve into an intriguing lost culture, examining ancient burial sites and towering moai.
  • Dive or snorkel the pristine reefs of Fakarava, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and identified as one of the healthiest reef systems in the world by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala.
  • Trace the legend of the ill-fated H.M.S. Bounty on Pitcairn Island, where descendants of its mutineers still live today.
  • Explore the unusual geology of Henderson Island with our naturalists, and seek out the isle’s four endemic bird species.



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 operated in collaboration with Lindblad Expeditions.

Days 1-5: U.S./Santiago, Chile/Easter Island

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.

Meals Included:Day 3 (Lunch, Dinner) / Day 4-5 (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Days 6-10: At Sea/Pitcairn Islands

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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 11-12: At Sea/Mangareva, French Polynesia

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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 13-18: At Sea/Tuamotu Archipelago

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.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Days 19-20: Papeete/U.S.

Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti and take a tour of the island before transferring to the airport for your overnight flight home.

Meals Included:Day 19 (Breakfast, Lunch)