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Snorkel with sea turtles as you cruise the South Pacific

Azure Seas from Tahiti to the Marquesas

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Remote and enigmatic, the Marquesas are islands that belong to the past. Some of them virtually untouched since the era of European exploration, their isolation has given way to a proud people whose unique Marquesan dialect is a direct link to the ancient Polynesian language of Maohi. Indeed, it is believed locally that the spirits of the ancient Maohi live among the islands’ saw-toothed peaks and lush, verdant valleys, and the limestone caves and grottos that you can explore. Herman Melville penned his indulgent novel Typee based on his time on Nuku Hiva and established himself as the "man who lived among the cannibals,” and Robert Louis Stevenson landed here aboard his yacht Casco in the late 19th century. At sea encounter cetaceans, potentially the rare melon-headed whales, and dive among manta rays. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Papeete, French Polynesia | Embark
Days 2-4 : At Sea | Tuamotu Archipelago
Days 5-6 : At Sea | Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
Day 7 : Hiva Oa, Marquesas
Day 8 : Fatu Hiva, Marquesas
Days 9-11 : Exploring the Marquesas Islands | At Sea
Days 12-13 : Tuamotu Archipelago
Day 14 : Makatea
Day 15 : Disembark | Papeete

Highlights

  • Explore the Marquesas, one of Earth's most remote and unique island groups
  • See ancient stone sculptures, including one of Polynesia's largest tikis
  • Hike to a remote waterfall and search for rare birds on far-flung Fatu Hiva
  • Dive or snorkel the stunning reefs of Fakarava, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Ship

National Geographic Orion

Places Visited

  • South Pacific
  • Fakarava
  • Fatu Hiva
  • Hiva 'Oa
  • Marquesas Islands
  • Nuku Hiva
  • Papeete
  • Society Islands
  • Tahiti
  • Tahuata
  • Tuamotu Islands

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Snorkel with sea turtles as you cruise the South Pacific Jagged mountain formations Snorkel off stunning sand beaches Snorkel the vibrant waters of the South Pacific Cabanas silhouette  on a Bora Bora cruise

Day 1 Papeete, French Polynesia | Embark

Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti. If arriving early, check in to dayrooms and take a brief tour of Tahiti before embarking National Geographic Orion

Day 2-4 At Sea | Tuamotu Archipelago

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Begin your exploration of the “Dangerous Archipelago” at Fakarava, one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia and part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. After a festive welcome with traditional dancers, learn about the island’s pearl industry, and walk its pristine beaches. Snorkel the protected reefs or ride the current into the lagoon on a world famous drift dive. Continue to Raroia, one of the easternmost atolls in this chain, and the site where Thor Heyerdahl’s famous Kon-Tiki raft made landfall in 1947. 

Day 5-6 At Sea | Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
A day at sea brings you to one of the most remote island groups on earth, the Marquesas Islands. Begin your exploration of this archipelago 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 Hiva Oa, Marquesas

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At Hiva Oa, go ashore at the village of Puamau to visit the stunning Marquesan me’ae , Iipona, and photograph one of the largest tikis in Polynesia. Stop for a fresh-baked French baguette before a short visit to Calvary Cemetery and the gravesites of French artists Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel. 

Day 8 Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Be sure you’re on deck this morning to photograph the volcanic pillars of Hanavave Bay, as 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 9-11 Exploring the Marquesas Islands | At Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Your last two days in the Marquesas are open for exploration. Scuba dive with manta rays, search for rare cetaceans with your naturalists, and marvel at the rugged volcanic silhouettes of these legendary islands from the Zodiacs and kayaks. 

Day 12-13 Tuamotu Archipelago

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Let nature be your guide for these days, as you explore some of the more than 80 islands and atolls that make up this seldom-visited archipelago. Snorkel or dive stunning healthy reefs, kayak and stand-up paddleboard on turquoise lagoons, and walk pristine beaches beneath coconut palms. 

Day 14 Makatea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
An uplifted coral atoll, the island of Makatea is one of the most unique landforms in the Pacific. Spend the day exploring limestone caves and grottos with your expedition team and local guides, or search for endemic fruit doves and myriad seabirds, then snorkel and dive among clouds of colorful fish on the nearby reef. 

Day 15 Disembark | Papeete

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Disembark in Papeete this morning and tour Tahiti before flights home. 

National Geographic Orion

Deals

Complimentary Airfare
National Geographic Orion Savings - Book by December 31 and receive complimentary round-trip airfare - a value of $1200. Tickets must be issued by ship. Contact us for details.
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$15,680
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Notes

Single supplement varies by itinerary. A solo traveler matching program may be available, but is subject to availability.

Cost Includes:
  • Accommodations
  • Meals indicated
  • Excursions
  • Services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, Naturalist staff and expert guides
  • Use of kayaks
  • Entrance fees
  • All port charges and service taxes
 Not Included:
  • Immigration fees
  • Air transportation
  • Personal items such as alcoholic beverages, emails, laundry, voyage DVD etc.
  • Gratuities to ship’s crew at your discretion

Included

  • 14 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 14 Dinners
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