Summary : Embark on a sweeping adventure to the western reaches of Polynesia and explore from the verdant crags of Tahiti to the vibrant reefs of Fiji—plus tropical islands and reefs that few others will ever see. Immerse yourself in Aitutaki’s warm turquoise waters, and experience genuine Polynesian welcomes throughout Samoa. Visit the tiny island nation of Wallis and Futuna, as very few travelers have, and marvel at impressively decorated cathedrals before diving into a sparkling lagoon. Learn new techniques for photographing colorful markets and friendly faces, as you are welcomed into Fijian villages with traditional kava ceremonies. Whether it’s Pacific culture or nature that you seek, this in-depth expedition offers it all.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Dedicated Solo Cabins
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$15,680 to $33,440
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Tahiti.
Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti early this morning, check in to dayrooms and take a brief tour of Tahiti before embarking National Geographic Orion . (L,D)
Encircled by a single fringing reef, and sharing a common lagoon, Raiatea and Tahaa are islands well worth exploring. Acclimate to Polynesia’s slower pace with a day of snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding and beach exploration at Tahaa. One of the most important cultural sites in the Polynesian world, Marae Taputapuatea was a center for Polynesian seafarers and the location from which they set out for Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Hawaii and New Zealand. Spend the morning exploring this site on Raiatea, then refresh yourself with a swim in warm turquoise seas. (B,L,D)
Known for its turquoise central lagoon, Aitutaki has been described as the perfect South Pacific island. Board Zodiacs to enter the lagoon via the pass on the western side of this “almost atoll.” Once ashore, you’ll step over sacred welcome stones to be greeted with a traditional Polynesian welcome. Explore the lagoon, walk palm-fringed beaches and finish with a swim in the warm, clear lagoon. Or, meet the friendly residents and experience traditional Polynesian food, culture and hospitality on a visit to an interior village. Then enjoy life aboard National Geographic Orion as we spend two days sailing west toward Samoa. (B,L,D)
With its spectacular beaches and aqua lagoons, hidden waterfalls and lava-sculpted landscapes, Samoa captures the essence of the South Pacific. During your time on these islands, hike through rain forests vibrant with flowers and birds, take a dip in a swimming hole, go snorkeling or diving on the reef, and soak up the languid rhythms of island life that drew Robert Louis Stevenson to these shores. (B,L,D)
Another of France’s South Pacific territories, the tiny island nation of Wallis and Futuna lies between Samoa and Fiji. Be on deck just after sunrise, as National Geographic Orion navigates the channel into the lagoon at Wallis Island, where we’ll anchor for the day. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Mata-Utu, a stunning edifice built of blue volcanic stone chiseled and trimmed by hand, or the Church of St. Joseph, with its colorfully decorated interior. Later, snorkel, kayak or stand-up paddleboard from one of the tiny islets offshore. (B,L,D)
Enter the island nation of Fiji with a stop at Taveuni, where you'll experience warm Fijian welcomes at the village of Waitabu and snorkel in one of the Pacific’s most successful community marine parks. Explore the waterfalls of nearby Bouma National Heritage Park, and dive nearby reefs. Witness a dramatic firewalking ceremony, at Beqa Island. (B,L,D)
Disembark in Lautoka this morning. Take a tour of western Viti Levu Island then transfer to the international airport at Nadi for flights home. (Day 16: B,L)
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary: 5/24/2018
Optional Diving Program:
Each dive will cost $95, charged to the guests’ shipboard account. The following dive gear is provided: 3mm full wetsuit, BCD, regulator, air cylinder, weights, dive computers, masks, snorkels ahd fins. Guests may choose to bring personal gear if they want. ALL guests who wish to dive MUST meet the following requirements (NO EXCEPTIONS): participants MUST have made a dive in the ocean within the 12 months preceding the voyage; PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent; OR PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent PLUS one of the following: have 25 logged dives including boat and deep diving experience, or hold PADI (or equivalent) Boat Diver & Deep Diver specialty certifications. Each diver must bring a valid diving certification and a dive log, letter of reference from dive buddy/instructor, or scuba refresher certificate. There is no minimum age requirement, but anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the liability release form provided prior to diving. Additionally, a PADI Scuba Review course (or equivalent refresher course) is highly recommended for those who have rarely dived in the past year or feel that their skills are rusty.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Accommodations aboard ship; meals aboard ship; use of kayaks; most alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guide; crew gratuities; port charges and service taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; diving program; extensions; passport and visa fees; immigration fees; travel protection plan; items of a personal nature including internet, laundry, etc; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Bennett Goldberg