Day-By-Day

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


Our French Polynesian holiday expedition seeks to reveal as many wonders as possible during your week with us. Our hallmark is flexibility—allowing us to take advantage of events, like wildlife sightings, as they occur to give you the richest, most dimensional experience. Here is a representation of the activities you’ll engage in:   

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  • DAY 1: Depart U.S.

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

  • DAY 2: Papeete, French Polynesia

    Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti early this morning and check into your room at the tropical InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa. Spend the day adjusting to island time and enjoying the resort’s many amenities, or join us for a leisurely afternoon excursion. This evening, connect with your fellow travelers for a welcome cocktail party.

  • DAY 3: Papeete/Embark

    Today, join an island tour and have lunch at a local restaurant before embarking National Geographic Orion. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 4-5: Tuamotu Archipelago

    Spend two days exploring this idyllic archipelago. Experience with all your senses while learning the geological distinction between volcanic islands, atolls, and uplifted coral atolls, like the stunning island of Makatea, one of the most unique landforms in the Pacific. See the spectral remains of a mining operation as you hike through a primeval landscape with your expedition team, to discover an incredible limestone grotto. Birders might add endemics such as the imperial pigeon or the Makatea fruit dove to their lists. Snorkelers will revel in the protected reefs of gorgeous Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Conditions permitting, ride the current into the vast lagoon on a world-famous drift dive or snorkel. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 6-7: At Sea/Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

    A relaxing day at sea brings us to one of the most remote and historic island groups on Earth, the Marquesas. One never forgets the first sight of lovely Hanavave Bay, fronting one of the world’s most soul-stirringly beautiful islands-Fatu Hiva. Be sure you’re on deck and camera-armed as we arrive at one of the most storied shorelines in the entire Pacific. Enjoy a warm Polynesian welcome on a visit to a remote village where you’ll see displays of well-made, uniquely Marquesan arts and crafts. Choose a challenging hike through landscapes studded with sculptural granite and stunning flora to a remote waterfall, or Zodiac to the next bay where local transport takes you birdwatching deep in the Omoa Valley. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 8: Hiva Oa, Marquesas

    At Hiva Oa, we plan to land at Atuona. Stop for a fresh-baked French baguette before a short visit to Calvary Cemetery and the gravesites of French artist Paul Gauguin and Belgian, Jacques Brel, both revered on the island. 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 get the chance to photograph one of the largest, most arresting ancient tikis in Polynesia. (B,L,D)

  • DAY 9-10: Nuku Hiva, Marquesas/Disembark

    If you read Herman Melville’s Typee in prep for your voyage, you’ll thrill doubly to the green-mantled, rugged silhouette of Nuku Hiva, the largest and most imposing of the Marquesas. Choose to end your Polynesia adventure here, and fly via chartered plane back to Papeete, and connect to your flight home. Or continue: spend seven relaxing days at sea following in the wake of the great Polynesian explorers north to Hawai’i. (Day 9: B,L)

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

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