From the moment you set sail on the Aranui 5 and through this 14-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
Takapoto is a small, ring-shaped reef formed of coral in the Tuamotu Islands. The ship anchors outside the reef and you can go ashore by tender. A 15-minute walk takes you to a beautiful white sand beach and a picnic lunch with entertainment by local musicians. Join the tropical fish as you swim or snorkel in the blue lagoon.
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.
Sail into Taiohae’s spectacular bay, a giant volcanic amphitheater dominated by towering cliffs streaked with waterfalls. As the Aranui unloads, explore Taiohae, the administrative capital of the Marquesas. Taiohae Bay is where Herman Melville, then a 23-year-old sailor, and a shipmate jumped a whaling ship in 1842, which he later recounted in his novel Typee.
After a tour of the cathedral, follow their escape route by jeep along winding mountain roads to the village of Hatiheu to visit the archaeological site of Kamuihei. Lunch is at Yvonne’s Restaurant, one of the best in the Marquesas, where the specialty is Hima’a, pig cooked in a traditional underground oven.
After lunch, travel to the valley of Taipivai, an 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. Non-hikers can head back to the ship or relax on the beach. The Aranui anchors in Taipivai Bay and whaleboats come in for a wet boarding on the beach.
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.
Early morning, 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.
In the afternoon, there is time to 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.
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.
Travel by foot or by jeep to the most important archaeological sites for tikis (ancient, human-like religious sculptures) at Me’ae Ipona. Only Easter Island can boast more sculptures than here. Your knowledgeable guides show you through the mysterious ruins of Puamau and share stories of these haunting statues and an ancient civilization. Bring your camera. A swim at the local black sand beach depends on water conditions. During lunch, the ship makes its way to the village of Hanaiapa. In the afternoon, explore the quaint village of Hanaiapa that locals often refer to as the botanical garden, for its colorful flowers, and large variety of plants and trees.
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.
The Aranui docks in Nuku Hiva at Taiohae in the morning. You may take the "Le Truck" back to the town center to visit shops and the Arts and Crafts center. At noon, the ship sails to Ua Pou, docking at Hakahau. This is your last opportunity to buy Marquesan souvenirs.
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 14: 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:
- 13 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
This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.