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
Free International Airfare
Book 2 Voyages and Save 10%
Bar tab onboard ship and crew tips now included. Subject to change.
Receive a FREE DVD chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
$15,920 to $34,840
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.
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 pristine and protected reefs. Or ride the current into the lagoon on a world famous drift dive (fee applies). 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.
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.
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.
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.
Your last two days in the Marquesas are open for exploration. Opt to scuba dive and keep an eye out for manta rays (fee applies). Search for rare cetaceans with your naturalists and marvel at the rugged volcanic silhouettes of these legendary islands from the Zodiacs and kayaks.
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 (fee applies to dive) stunning healthy reefs, kayak, and stand up paddleboard on turquoise lagoons, and walk pristine beaches beneath coconut palms.
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 schools of colorful fish on the nearby reef.
Disembark in Papeete this morning and tour Tahiti before overnight flights home.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Optional Diving Program:
Scuba divers must be certified by an internationally recognized dive association prior to the voyage, and certification cards and logbooks must be shown on board. Divers must have logged 25 dives in total and made a dive within the 12 months preceding the voyage. If you have not made an open water dive within the past year, please contact us about a dive refresher course in Tahiti prior to your voyage.
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 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.
Photos: © Bennett Goldberg