Making the most of your time & interest in the South Pacific

This expedition offers an in-depth opportunity to discover the rich wildlife of these remote islands and interact with the intriguing, friendly people who live here. Relax on secluded beaches and snorkel above or near some of the world’s finest coral reefs. 

Note: we will visit every site on this itinerary, but actual routing may vary.


Embark: Papeete

Disembark: Hiva Oa

Select departures travel from Hiva Oa to Papeete.


  • DAY 1-2: Depart U.S./Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

    Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Tahiti. Arrive in the early morning on Day 2 and proceed directly to National Geographic Orion for embarkation. While in port this morning, take some time to freshen up and settle into your cabin as we prepare to depart. Alternatively, choose to walk around downtown Papeete and visit the central market where vendors sell fresh fruit, pareos, artwork, and coveted black pearls. Join us for lunch aboard and be on deck as we set sail from Tahiti toward the Tuamotu Archipelago. This afternoon meet the staff and fellow travelers and settle into island time. (Day 2: B,L,D)

  • DAY 3: Rangiroa, Tuamotus

    Today and tomorrow, we visit the Tuamotu Archipelago. The atoll of Rangiroa is a ring of slender islands known for some of the best diving and snorkeling in French Polynesia. The turquoise lagoon at its center is the second-largest in the world. Kayak, snorkel, and scuba dive in the rich waters here, home to large schools of pelagic fish, manta rays, dolphins, and sea turtles. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 4: Takaroa Atoll

    Today we’ll visit Takaroa Atoll, a remote island nearly 350 miles from Tahiti. We visit the main village and snorkel or dive stunning healthy reefs. Kayak and stand-up paddleboard in its turquoise lagoons and walk pristine beaches beneath coconut palms. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 5-6: At Sea/Tahuata, Marquesas

    A relaxing day at sea brings us to one of the most remote island groups on Earth, the Marquesas Islands. We begin our exploration of this archipelago on Tahuata, the smallest of the inhabited Marquesan Islands. Choose to attend a local church service with stunningly beautiful music, and spend some time exploring Vaitahu, the main village on the island. In the afternoon we reposition to nearby Hapatoni Bay where both land and sea excursions await. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 7: Nuku Hiva

    Start the day at Hatiheu Bay, on the north shore of Nuku Hiva Island. Visit ancient petroglyphs and witness a spectacular dance performance at a Marquesan me’ae, or hike up the valley with the naturalists and local guides in search of rare birds and spectacular views. Later, sample local foods in the village, and peruse unique arts and crafts. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 8: Ua Huka

    Today is open for exploration. Dive some of the incredible waters here and search for rare cetaceans with your naturalists. Marvel at the rugged volcanic silhousettes of these legendary islands from the Zodiacs and kayaks. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 9: Fatu Hiva

    Be sure you’re on deck this morning to photograph the volcanic pillars of Hanavave Bay, as National Geographic Orion approaches one of the most storied shorelines in the entire Pacific. Visit a remote village where you’ll see displays of uniquely Marquesan arts and crafts. Choose a challenging hike to a remote waterfall, or take Zodiacs to the next bay where local transport takes you on a birdwatching foray deep into the Omoa Valley. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 10-12: Exploring/Hiva Oa/Disembark/Papeete/Home

    This morning, we let nature guide us as we set out exploring one of the Marquesas’ remote, uninhabited islands. In the afternoon we arrive at Hiva Oa, where we’ll visit the village of Puamau to explore a well-maintained Marquesan sacred site, a me’ae Iipona. Accompanied by our team and knowledgeable local guides, we’ll learn about religious rites, and photograph one of the largest, most arresting ancient tikis in Polynesia. On our last morning, we’ll visit the village of Atuona before disembarking the ship and flying by charter aircraft back to Papeete. This evening, transfer to the airport for flights home. (B,L,D)

Please note: All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy