Summary : 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’ll explore. See ancient stone sculptures, including one of the largest tikis in Polynesia, on Hiva Oa. Hike to a remote waterfall and search for rare birds on far-flung Fatu Hiva. Dive or snorkel the stunning reefs of Fakarava, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and potentially encounter the rare melon-headed whale.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Snorkeling, Dedicated Solo Cabins
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Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Tahiti.
Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti early this morning, check in to dayrooms at the Intercontinental Tahiti, and take a brief tour before embarking National Geographic Orion. (L,D)
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. (B,L,D)
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. (B,L,D)
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. (B,L,D)
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. (B,L,D)
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. (B,L,D)
Let nature be your guide for these days, as you explore some of the 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. (B,L,D)
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. (B,L,D)
Disembark in Papeete this morning and tour Tahiti before overnight flights home. (B,L)
Arrive in the U.S. after an overnight flight from Papeete.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
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; most alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship; use of kayaks; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guide; crew gratuities; port charges and service taxes. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; extensions; passport and visa fees; scuba diving; immigration fees; travel protection plan; items of a personal nature including internet, laundry, etc; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Bennett Goldberg