Summary : Photograph the exquisite Marquesas with their sky-piercing volcanoes, lushly-carpeted canyons, and chiseled bays. View Easter Island’s giant volcanic stone statues, or moai—representing deified ancestors, oral traditions suggest they ‘walked’ from the quarry to their stone platforms along the coastline. Meet the residents of tiny Pitcairn Island; most are direct descendants of the HMS Bounty crew. Visit Henderson and Ducie Islands, home to rare and endemic bird species, from Murphy’s and Phoenix petrels to the Henderson Island crake and Stephen’s lorikeet.
Enjoy excellent snorkeling and diving nearly every day to discover healthy reefs teeming with colorful, tropical fish.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Diving, Snorkeling
$999,999,999 to $0
Board your independent flight to Papeete. Arrive in the late evening and transfer to your hotel.
Relax during a morning at leisure, then join a tour of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia’s largest island. Pass by orchards of papaya as you drive along the stunning coast. Visit the renowned Museum of Tahiti, which traces the islands’ history. Embark the Island Sky this afternoon.
Though remote and sparsely populated, the far-flung Tuamotus comprise the world’s largest atoll chain. These venerable coral constructions rise just high enough above the water to be called land, and if it weren’t for their waving coconut palms, they might be entirely invisible from any distance.
With few visitors, and little industry, the dazzling lagoon of Apataki offers a pristine underwater landscape for snorkelers and divers to explore.
Attend informative presentations today as the Island Sky cruises towards the legendary Marquesas Islands.
Considered one of the most beautiful island groups in the South Pacific, the Marquesas lie farther from a continental coast than any other islands in the world. Unlike other Polynesian islands, the Marquesas have no surrounding reefs or placid lagoons. Their wide, deep bays are havens for vessels such as the one you'll be on.
Spend three days exploring this dazzling collection of islands whose breathtaking vertical peaks reach into the clouds, while carpets of lush tropical vegetation drape cliffs and canyons that descend to sea-sculpted bays. Countless sooty, fairy, and bridled terns circle tiny, rocky pinnacle islets. Zodiacs bring you ashore on a variety of islands, to be greeted by dancers and drummers adorned in leis and tapa cloth. On walks, you may see petroglyphs or tiki figures—representing deified ancestors—flanked by banyan trees, fragrant plumeria, blooming orchids, and silvery waterfalls. Open-air craft markets display baskets, shell jewelry, and wooden carvings. Birders search for the endemic Nuku Hiva pigeon and Marquesan swiftlet. Though the islands lack fringing reefs, snorkelers and divers will discover colorful fish against a backdrop of sheer walls and dramatic arches.
Delightful music and dancing welcomes you to this idyllic island—the first land sighted in the Pacific by Europeans. Visit the small village whose residents raise taro, bananas, and coconut palms for copra (dried coconut). Birders search for Pacific reef-heron while snorkelers and divers explore the fringing reef.
Coconut palms and breadfruit trees cover the beautiful islets that surround Puka Rua’s lagoon. Garland-bedecked dancers greet you in the tiny village whose 150 hospitable inhabitants earn a living selling copra. Witness the process of coconut drying, visit a local crafts market, or stroll along the lagoon’s shores watching crested terns circling overhead.
Today, conditions permitting, explore one of the many uninhabited Tuamotu Islands and enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or diving.
Spend a day at sea as the ship continues towards the remote Pitcairn Islands. Join naturalists on deck to search for a variety of seabirds and marine mammals.
Remote, enchanting, and tiny at six miles around, volcano-crowned Pitcairn was the fabled hideout of the HMS Bounty mutineers in 1790. Step ashore and visit with the 50 hospitable inhabitants of Adamstown, who are the direct descendants of the nine mutineers and 18 Polynesians. The anchor of the Bounty rests beside the courthouse and the ship’s Bible resides in the church.
Sheer limestone cliffs surround this elevated coralline island, a World Heritage Site, pockmarked by caves and blowholes. Henderson’s astounding natural selection has produced ten endemic flowering plants and four endemic species of land birds, including the Henderson Island crake and Stephen’s lorikeet. There will also be an opportunity to snorkel or dive in the marinelife-rich waters.
This small, uninhabited, and rarely-visited atoll is rimmed in white sand beaches that in turn surround a crystalline lagoon. As you walk along the shore, witness a vast variety of seabirds—tens of thousands nest here, including Murphy’s and Phoenix petrels, masked boobies, frigatebirds, and red-tailed tropicbirds. Underwater forays bring you face-to-face with legions of rainbow-hued fish in the warm, clear waters.
Relax on deck and enjoy the ongoing lecture series as you cruise toward Easter Island, a World Heritage Site and one of the most mysterious places on earth.
Spend two full days exploring Easter Island. View the intriguing stone heads, moai, built on massive stone platforms at Tahai, along with nearly 400 monolithic statues in various states of completion at the spectacular volcanic tuff quarries. Visit the ceremonial center of Ahu Vinapu where the island’s only female moai was found. At Ahu Tongariki visit the largest ceremonial site in Polynesia—a five-year archaeological restoration project that was completed in 1996. Drive to the Rano Kau volcano to view the giant caldera, home to a sprawling lake dotted with small floating reed islets, and the ceremonial village of Orongo, dedicated to the fascinating “birdman” cult.
After breakfast disembark the Island Sky and enjoy a short tour before heading to the airport for your afternoon flight to Santiago; arrive in the USA October 29.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Optional Scuba Diving:
$500 per person. Limited to 16 Advanced Open Water (AOW) certified scuba divers. You must complete two open water dives within the 12 months prior to the trip’s departure.
Arrival and departure transfers on group dates; accommodations as per itinerary; snorkeling; gear on loan (snorkeling); $80 gear certificate; all meals onboard ship, group meals ashore; most beverages (soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner); gratuities; limited medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance*. Subject to change without notice.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/cancellation and additional travel insurance; optional scuba diving; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges and additional alcoholic beverages other than those listed as included, email/Internet/fax/telephone charges, etc; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.
Photos ©: Giovanna Fasanelli, Zegrahm Expeditions