From the moment you set sail on the Aranui 5 and through this 13-day experience, be fully immersed in all things Polynesian — from the warmth of its people to the richness of its history and culture, to the sights and sounds of its majestic islands. Explore the enchanting Marquesas Islands, Tuamotu, & Bora Bora on this trip of a lifetime!
Tour the cathedral in Taiohae
Hike from Omoa to Hanavave for spectacular views
Explore the mysterious ruins of Puamau
Snorkel in the translucent lagoon of Rangiroa
Taste local Marquesan cuisine such as breadfruit and fei
Arrive in Fakarava this morning. Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the second largest atoll in French Polynesia, you will have time to discover the small village of Rotoava, the church, built of coral and the local arts and crafts. Afterwards, enjoy a refreshing swim and snorkel in the translucent lagoon among the colorful ballet of tropical fish. Optional excursions, such as snorkeling or diving in the various passes or an outing to an islet for bird watching, are available at an additional cost. Return to vessel by 12:00pm.
Enjoy time to explore the ship. After a relaxed breakfast, sunbathe on the deck or by the pool, or read or chat in the comfortable lounge. There is plenty of time to meet and talk with the lecturers and guides and encounter fellow passengers from around the world.
In Puamau, travel by 4WD to the most incredible archaeological site for “tikis” (ancient, human-like religious stone sculptures) outside of Easter Island. Once you reach Mea’e Iipona, our knowledgeable guides will tell you the stories of these haunting statues of ancient times. Surrounded by beautifully lush grounds, the site is overwhelming and has a lot of what Polynesians call “mana” (spiritual power). Only a small part of the site has been restored and most of it is still buried under massive trees and rocks.
After lunch on board, Aranui will set sail for Tahuata, where you can enjoy a lazy afternoon relaxing at the beach or taking a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean.
Sail to Taipivai Bay in the morning. This area dotted with stone tikis, me’ae (sacred ritual sites) and paepae, immense stone platforms on which the Taipi built their houses. Huge boulders in the area are carved with enigmatic petroglyphs of birds, sacred turtles, and fish. Hikers can take a steep trail to visit the Paeke site. his will include a performance of the traditional Marquesan Pig Dance.
Your first introduction to traditional Marquesan cuisine will be served for lunch. Here, the specialty is the “Umu”, an underground oven where food is cooked for hours. Local music during the meal will provide a great ambiance.
In the small village of Hatiheu, you may visit a museum that displays copies of petroglyphs from unexplored valleys. Your excursion will continue south to Taiohae with its spectacular bay, a giant volcanic amphitheater dominated by towering cliffs streaked with waterfalls.
As the Aranui unloads, you can explore Taiohae, the tiny administrative capital of the Marquesas. Taiohae Bay is where Herman Melville, then a 23-year-old sailor, and a buddy jumped a whaling ship in 1842. You can visit the cathedral or go to the market to shop for arts & crafts. You will also find banks, boutiques and an internet café. You may return to the vessel from the village on foot or by car.
From the deck, observe the soaring mountain spires of Ua Pou. Whenever the Aranui stops, villages greet it. As the crew unloads supplies - from cement to sugar - and loads sacks of copra (dried coconut meat), explore the tiny town of Hakahau. Discover the beach stands and craft center in town to shop for carvings in the flower stone unique to this island. Visit the church to see its hand-carved wood dias. At Rosalie’s Restaurant, enjoy your first Marquesan lunch: breadfruit, an island staple, along with curried goat, poisson cru (raw fish marinated in lime and coconut milk), fei (red mountain bananas) and fruit poe. Take in an excellent dance performance including the Bird Dance, traditional to Ua Pou.
Day 7: Hiva Oa (Atuona) & Tahuata (Vaitahu - Hapatoni)
Early morning, explore Atuona, the second largest village in the Marquesas, where Paul Gauguin lived and created some of his best work. Sweeping views of the harbor highlight a walk up the hill to the cemetery, where under a large frangipani tree, a tombstone with the simple words “Paul Gauguin 1903” marks his burial site. Nearby sits the grave of another European seduced by Hiva Oa, Belgian singer-composer Jacques Brel. Enjoy a lavish lunch at Hoa Nui Restaurant followed by free time to visit a replica of Gauguin’s infamous “House of Pleasure” and the museum dedicated to his paintings. The craft center at the far end of the village and the General Store are worth a visit. Or, hike to the scenic lookout.
In the afternoon, the ship anchors in front of the small leaf-shaped island Vaitahu, fragrant with Tiare Tahiti and frangipani. From the Spanish in 1595, who killed about 200, to the first missionaries in 1797 to the first French settlement in the Marquesas in 1842, the island’s history is especially rich. Their huge church, built by the Vatican, is decorated with beautiful carvings and a stained glass window featuring the Marquesan cross. The craft center features the amazing intricate carvings in bone and shell for which Tahuata is famous.
Fatu Hiva is the most lush and remote island of the Marquesas. It is also a center of Marquesan crafts. As your guides lead you through the village of Omoa, see village women demonstrating the making of tapa by hammering mulberry, banyan, or breadfruit bark on logs. It is dried and then painted with ancient traditional designs. Another demonstration shows the making of the kumuhei, an herbal bundle unique to this island used by the local women to perfume their hair. The arts and crafts center offers excellent tapa and carvings, and the monoi coconut oil from Fatu Hiva is one of the finest. Athletic passengers may choose to hike from Omoa to Hanavave, a 10-mile (16 km) trek offering spectacular views of towering cliffs and waterfalls. Lunch is served at the summit. Alternatively, sail on the Aranui to Hanavave on the Bay of Virgins, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. Go ashore for a dance performance and to welcome the hikers.
In early morning, the ship executes a point-to-point turn in the notable “Invisible Bay” of Vaipaee — not to be missed. Options today include a tour by four-wheel-drive vehicle or (at additional cost) on horseback. Visit a museum with exquisite replicas of Marquesan artifacts. Explore the arboretum’s gardens and enjoy a fruit tasting. After lunch, visit local woodcarvers’ studios. Considered some of the Island's finest carvers, look for the unusual carved black and white coconuts. Back on board, it is Polynesian Night - time to try out that new pareo and the dances and chants you have been learning throughout the cruise! A superb buffet dinner on the deck is followed by entertainment, music, and dancing.
On lovely Rangiroa, the second largest atoll in the world, you can relax on a white sand beach or swim and snorkel in the translucent lagoon. “Rangi” is an underwater jewel box with colorful coral and clouds of tropical fish. Excellent snorkeling and scuba diving is available for all levels. Visit one of the finest pearl farms in the Tuamotus to learn about these rare gems and see how they are grown. This is a great opportunity to purchase an exquisite treasure. Shop with the “mamas” on the beach for unusual pearl and shell jewelry.
The Aranui anchors in the magnificent blue lagoon of Bora Bora as the watchful eye of castle-like Mt. Otemanu pierces the clear blue sky. Of all the islands of French Polynesia, Bora Bora is best known for the palette of blue and green lagoon studded by the ring of islets that make up its reef.
Relax on a beautiful white sand beach or snorkel the crystal waters accompanied by colorful reef fish. Enjoy a picnic lunch prepared by the faithful crew and augmented with Tahitian dishes. At an additional cost, optional excursions are available: scuba diving; island tours by outrigger or bus; swimming with the sharks and manta rays; or a helicopter joy ride over the lagoon.
Day 13: Papeete, Tahiti | Disembark
Disembark this morning for your continued journey home.
Apologies for the inconvenience. Prices for not yet published. Below per person rate based on previous season. Contact us to confirm upcoming season pricing.
Prices for are estimated based on inflation. Contact us to confirm pricing and availability for your desired departure date.
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Approx. 135 sq. ft. and 285 sq. ft. Dormitory style accommodations, with two lower and two upper berths or four lower and four upper berths, porthole, one or two private bathroom with shower, wardrobe, sitting area.
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Approx. 120 sq. ft. Exterior cabin with one double bed or two twin beds, one bathroom with a shower, desk, one flat screen TV, and safe.
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Approx. 140 sq. ft. + 45 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with one double bed or two twin beds, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, one flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Approx. 160 sq. ft. + 45 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with one double bed or two twin beds, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, one flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Approx. 200 sq. ft. Exterior cabin with a double bed or two twin beds, two windows that cannot be opened, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, one flat screen TV, sofa bed, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Approx. 200 sq. ft. + 45 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with double bed or two twin beds, semi private day room with decorative screen and sofa bed, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Approx. 240 sq. ft + 100 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with a double bed or two twin beds, living room with sofa bed, semi-private bedroom with decorative screen, wardrobe, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, one flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Approx. 440 sq. ft + 130 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with a double bed or two twin beds, living room with sofa bed, mini bar, walk-in closet, two bathrooms with a shower, make up table, desk, two flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
- Fares for children traveling with parents is 50% of base fare
- Single Supplement: Not available in Single Stateroom and Class “C” Dorm
- Cruise fare does not include tourism, cruise, or port taxes, which vary by cabin type
- Triple/Quadruple occupancy - third & fourth adult sharing cabin less 25% from full tariff (Quad available in regular stateroom only)
- No one under 15 years old will be accepted in the Class “C”
- Children (14 years old and under) will be limited to no more than 15 per sailing
Cruise fare includes:
- 12 nights accommodation in selected cabin type aboard the freighter/passenger ship Aranui 5
- 3 meals with complimentary wine
- Picnic and meals on shore
- Guided tours and educational opportunities
Cruise fare does not include:
- Port, cruise and tourist taxes. Total will vary by departure and cabin type selected (please contact us for rate schedule)
- Optional excursions such as scuba diving, fishing, horseback riding, and helicopter tours
- Fuel surcharge of $80 per person
- Any airfare
- Travel insurance
- Gratuities and personal expenses
We are so glad that we chose Adventure Life. The service is top-notch. Everything is well taken care of and we just have to print the documents and go. Franny even gave us timely updates on possible airport strike.