Experience the vibrant natural landscapes and relaxing pace of French Polynesia.
It might sound like a cliché, but the crystal blue waters, colourful coral and lush green islands of French Polynesia are anything but boring. Snorkelers and swimmers will be in their element, with abundant marine life, stunning lagoons and pristine coral reefs just begging to be explored. On dry land, learning about the fascinating ancient culture of the French Polynesian people is an experience, with temples and archaeological sites abound. From your base on the Panaroma II, a comfortable small ship and an expert crew to show you the way, you’ll embrace the island life in no time.
- Snorkel with sting rays and sharks in beautiful Bora Bora.
- Take a tour of a local pearl farm on the lush island of Taha’a.
- Enjoy a speedboat ride down Faaroa River in Raiatea.
- Visit an ancient marae (temple) at Taputapuatea, which was recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 1: Papeete, Tahiti
Ia Orana, welcome to Tahiti! This afternoon, you’ll make your way to your floating home for the next eight days – the Panorama II, which is docked in Papeete Port. Meet your fellow travellers, crew and local leaders between 2:30pm and 4:00pm and after a welcome briefing and safety drill you’ll set sail for Bora Bora. On this trip, all meals are included on the boat, so you will enjoy dinner at sea before rocking to sleep with the gentle waves. (D)
Day 2: Bora Bora
Arrive in Bora Bora first thing this morning. After enjoying breakfast with a view of Bora Bora lagoon and the famous Mount Otemanu in the backdrop, you’ll have a choice of a number of optional activities to fill both today and tomorrow. These include a cultural tour with a local guide in a 4×4, a snorkeling trip where you can keep an eye out for the sharks and sting rays or an open-air Lagoon Aquarium. There may be a more optional activities available on your trip, so have a chat to your leader about the different options. Tonight, you will spend the night anchored n Bora Bora Lagoon. (B, L, D)
Day 3: Bora Bora – Huahine
This morning you will have a chance to take part in the cultural tour in a 4×4 if you didn’t get the chance to do it yesterday. Then, after lunch on board the boat you will cruise out of Bora Bora towards Huahine. You may want to while away the afternoon on board making use of the sun beds on the top deck, chatting to your fellow travellers or curling up with a book in the lounge. You’ll arrive in Huahine late in the evening and spend the night anchored inside the lagoon. (B, L, D)
Day 4: Huahine
Today you will be exploring the two main islands of Huahine, a jungle paradise filled with tropical plantations including coconuts, vanilla orchids, banana groves, breadfruit trees and watermelon fields. Aside from blossoming with nature, Huahine is also known for its cultural significance – it was once home to Tahitian royalty and has many ancient temples known as marae in French Polynesian culture. Some of these date back as far as 700 AD! Today you will have the choice of two optional tours; a half day or a full day tour. On the half day tour, you’ll be driven around in 4×4 vehicles to visit the small villages of Fare, which is an archaeological site and Maeva, a vanilla plantation. If you choose this option, you will return to the boat for lunch. The full day excursion includes a boat excursion to visit a local pearl farm, complete with a picnic lunch and snorkeling. If neither of these day tours appeal, you can spend the day at your leisure – either relaxing on the boat or exploring the area around the lagoon. Tonight, after dinner on board you will spend the night anchored in the lagoon. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Huahine – Taha’a
This morning you’ll leave Huahine early and set sail for the island of Taha’a, which shares a magnificent lagoon with neighbouring Raiatea Island. This lush island is extremely fertile and is covered with banana, watermelon, vanilla orchid and coconut groves. Today you’ll have the chance to explore the beautiful island by 4×4 vehicle in an optional tour. You’ll visit a pearl farm and a traditional vanilla plantation. It’s also the perfect opportunity to try some of the local fruits that are grown in the region and take in some of the incredible views of Ha’amene Bay. The afternoon is free for swimming and snorkeling on the “motu”, or reef islet, or exploring the area around the reef on your own. Tonight, will be spent anchored in the lagoon. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Raiatea
First thing this morning you’ll sail across the lagoon to reach Raiatea, which is considered the homeland of the ancient Polynesians. While it was previously known as Havai’i, Raiatea translates to “faraway heaven” and “sky with soft light”. Today you’ll have the chance to take part in an optional speedboat ride down Faaroa River with an expert local guide leading the way. You’ll end up at the ancient marae (temple) at Taputapuatea, which was recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you’ll have the chance to learn about Taputapuatea’s history, before enjoying a picnic lunch of local fare. Later that afternoon there will be time to relax on the boat before sailing to Mo’orea overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Mo’orea
You’ll reach Mo’orea first thing in the morning, which is easily spotted thanks to the eight huge mountain peaks that rise from its lagoon. This place is thought to have inspired the mythical Bali Hai from James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific. Today the optional activity is a nature safari tour in a 4×4. You’ll be exploring the inner crater of the island’s volcano, visiting a pineapple plantation and an agricultural school, as well as seeing the incredible landscapes of the island. Everyone will meet back on the ship later in the day and enjoy a farewell dinner together, before spending a night anchored in the lagoon. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Papeete, Tahiti
This morning you’ll set sail early for Tahiti, arriving in Papeete by 9am. From here, you will say farewell to your fellow travellers and the crew before disembarking the Panorama II. (B)
- Meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
- Transport: Small Cruise Ship
- Accommodation: Small Cruise Ship 7 nights
Images courtesy of Intrepid Group