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. 


Embark: Papeete

Disembark: Mo'orea

Select departures travel from Mo'orea 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 expedition team and your fellow travelers and settle into island time. (Day 2: B,L,D)

  • DAY 3-4: Tuamotu Archipelago

    Spend two days exploring some of the nearly 80 islands and atolls in the “Dangerous Archipelago,” a corner of Polynesia that is as rich with marine life as it is vast. With crystalline lagoons fringed by white beaches and lush coconut groves, the Tuamotus are a tropical dream, both in the water and ashore. Meet the locals on sparsely inhabited Anaa and learn of their unique traditions. Discover the abundant marine life on a snorkel or dive or learn to stand up paddleboard in the calm lagoon of one of the many pristine atolls in the archipelago. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 5-6: Fakarava

    Today we arrive at Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This coral atoll is home to many rare species of birds, plants, and crustaceans, and we have the opportunity to snorkel its protected reefs and ride the current into the lagoon on a world-famous drift dive. Spend time exploring Rotoava, the main village on Fakarava. Take a leisurely bike ride, visit a pearl shop or stroll along the turquoise waterfront with a fresh coconut. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 7: Makatea

    An uplifted coral atoll, the island of Makatea is one of the most unique landforms in the Pacific. A makatea is a raised coral atoll that is tilted due to plate tectonics and appears much different than the other islands in the region, containing spectacular, vertical cliffs. This specific island of Makatea gives its name to all other uplifted coral atolls worldwide. Spend the day exploring the island’s limestone caves and grottos with your expedition team and local guides, or search for endemic fruit doves and myriad seabirds. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 8: Taha’a/Bora Bora

    Arrive in picture-postcard Taha’a and spend the morning snorkeling alongside black-tipped reef sharks. Or, choose to go ashore and visit a family run vanilla farm. Enjoy lunch aboard as we sail to nearby Bora Bora and be on deck as the iconic crags of Mount Otemanu come into focus. This afternoon, explore Bora Bora either on land or in the water and join us for a barbecue dinner and music on a private motu this evening. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 9: Bora Bora/Ra'iatea

    Take in the sunrise on deck as we sail to Ra'iatea in the early morning light. This morning we visit one of the most important cultural sites in the Polynesian world, Marae Taputapuatea. A center for Polynesian seafarers and the location from which they set out for Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Hawai’i and New Zealand, we visit the marae and learn of its significance in Polynesian history. Join us for a scenic lagoon cruise around the island as we sail toward the village of Uturoa. Taste local Polynesian specialties over lunch at a local beachside restaurant, and spend the afternoon swimming, snorkeling or stand up paddle boarding from the beach in Ra'iatea’s calm lagoon waters. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 10: Mo'orea

    Wake up to views of Moorea’s tall, green cliffs as we anchor in stunning Opunohu Bay. Spend the morning discovering all that the island has to offer: hike through a pineapple plantation, explore the island’s interior on horseback, or choose to snorkel in the island’s crystalline lagoon. Have lunch on deck and take in views of the island as we cruise toward Cook’s Bay, where we’ll spend the rest of the day. Join us on an afternoon excursion to Moorea’s newest museum and enjoy the golden light of the late afternoon from ashore. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 11: Mo'orea/Papeete/Disembark/Home

    This morning, choose to stretch your legs with an early walk into Mo'orea’s caldera interior or opt to discover marine life beneath the surface of the lagoon on a leisurely snorkel excursion. Join us onboard for lunch as we cast off for Tahiti. In the afternoon, disembark in Papeete and check into a hotel room for the afternoon. In the late 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.

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