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An amazing sunset over Bora Bora

Ancient Polynesia: Tuamotus and Marquesas Islands

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Experience an unforgettable 10-day journey around Ancient Polynesia aboard the National Geographic Orion. Behold 16-foot manta rays, colorful butterflyfish, whales, and other impressive marine life. Explore the sparsely populated Marquesas Islands, encounter moss-covered giant tikis on Hiva Oa, thousand-year-old petroglyphs on Nuku Hiva, the wild horses of Ua Huka, and lush rainforests with rare birds and rushing waterfalls. Join in the legacy of explorers, writers, and artists like James Cook, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Paul Gauguin in a region that embodies paradise in both the breathtaking landscapes of its islands and the abundant biodiversity of the surrounding sea.
The mountainous island chain of TahitiVisit the beautiful MarquesasBeautiful LagoonSaying goodbye to Taha'aWelcome to Tahiti Iti!An amazing sunset over Bora Bora
Highlights
  • Dive and snorkel in clear, warm waters in an extraordinary undersea world.
  • Learn about ancient Polynesian history.
  • Experience the world’s largest Marine Mammal Sanctuary.
  • Look out for amazing birds and endangered species.
Places Visited
  • South Pacific
  • Tahiti
  • Fatu Hiva
  • French Polynesia
  • Hiva 'Oa
  • Marquesas Islands
  • Nuku Hiva
  • Oceania
  • Papeete
  • Polynesia
  • Rangiroa
  • Society Islands
  • Tahuata
  • Tuamotu Islands
  • Ua Huka
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia | Embark

 Arrive in Tahiti 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 they 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: Rangiroa, Tuamotus

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 turtle.

Day 3: Takaroa Atoll

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 4-5: At Sea | Tahuata, Marquesas

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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 awaits.

Day 6: Nuku Hiva

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 7: Ua Huka

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 silhouettes of these legendary islands from the Zodiacs and kayaks.

Day 8: Fatu Hiva

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 9-10: Hiva Oa / Disembark / Papeete / Home

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, let nature guide us as you set out exploring one of the Marquesas’ remote, uninhabited islands. In the afternoon, arrive at Hiva Oa, where you’ll visit the village of Puamau to explore a well-maintained Marquesan sacred site, a mean Iipona. Accompanied by the team and knowledgeable local guides, learn about religious rites, and photograph one of the largest, most arresting ancient tikis in Polynesia.

On the last morning, 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.

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Orion

Keep in shape in the exercise room aboard the National Geographic Orion
The National Geographic Orion is sleek and at your service
The lovely National Geographic Orion

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$12,110
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1
Cat 1 #316, 318-321. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
Your  Category B Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 1 Single
Cat 1S #301, 322, 323. These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, except for #301 which has a double bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a roomy shower stall with a glass door.
A Category A Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 2
Cat 2 #302-312, 314, 315, 317. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized, and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
A lovely category 3 suite on the National Geographic Oion
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Category 3
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419. These suites feature a sitting area with a large window, a sofa–except slightly smaller #401 & #402–an armchair or two, writing/laptop desk, reading lamps, flat screen TV, & climate controls. Beds are configurable (call for details). Marble bathrooms include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3 Single
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512. This solo suite features two beds and two large windows, plus two armchairs and small table, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls. The marble bathroom is generously sized and includes a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 4 Cabin.
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Category 4
Cat 4 Deluxe Suite with Window #511, 515. These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a chair and armchair and a two-cushion sofa facing an expansive window. Beds are configurable (call for details). Ample storage, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities.
National Geographic Orion's Category 5 Cabin.
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Category 5
Cat 5 Suite with French Balcony #501, 503-506, 508. These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors opening to a shared French balcony. Beds are configurable (call for details.) A sitting area with arm chairs and a sofa, a writing/laptop desk, well-placed reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the decor.
National Geographic Orion's Category 6 Cabin.
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Category 6
Cat 6 Owner’s Suite with French Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510. These large, elegant suites feature a French balcony, with the exception of #509 which has double windows. Each provides a separate living area with a sofa and two arm chairs, except for #502, which uniquely offers a 'soaking tub with a view' in addition to a shower stall and expansive vanity.
Included
  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners
  • 9 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • The Guidance and Company of the Expedition Staff
  • Hotels Ashore as Indicated in the Itinerary
  • Sightseeing & Entrance Fees
  • Special Access Permits, Park Fees, Port Taxes
  • Zodiac & Kayak Explorations
  • Snorkeling, Including Wetsuits, Masks, Fins & Snorkel Where Relevant
  • Presentations and Guest Speakers in the Lounge
  • Gratuities to the Ship Crew
  • Complimentary Parka 
  • Alcohol (except premium brands) 
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Scuba Diving
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Additional Hotel Nights 
  • Private Transfers
     
  • Expedition Extensions 
  • Laundry 
  • Internet & Phone Charges
  • Rubber Boots: Please bring your own. 

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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