Experience sunny French Polynesia with seven nights aboard the five-star Paul Gauguin.

Starting at: $6,395 * Price includes special offer Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Looking out over the lagoon of Bora Bora  Dramatic aerial view of Bora Bora in the Society Islands  Tropical fish (Humbug Dascyllus) and pillar coral in the lagoon of Bora Bora  Looking over the lagoon of Bora Bora. Credit: Tahiti-Tourisme.com  Loggerhead sea turtle  Lagoon of Bora Bora. Credit: Tahiti-Tourisme.com  Lagoon of Rangiroa Motu. Credit: Tahiti-Tourisme.com  The island of Huahine in the Society Islands  Yellow Plumeria or Frangipani, found in Tahiti  Colorful flowers of Tahiti  A marae or temple area on Moorea  Marae Maeva found on Huahine. Credit: Tahiti-Tourisme.com  A motu, one of many small islands, found in the Society Islands  Oysters with black pearl, found in Fakarava, Tuamotu Islands  A lagoon in Tahiti. Credit: Tahiti-Tourisme.com

Voyage to French Polynesia

Featuring Tahiti and Bora Bora

11 days from $6,395

Experience sunny French Polynesia with seven nights aboard the five-star Paul Gauguin.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The trip exceeded my expectations. I chose Smithsonian because my friend and travelling companion had been with them on a trip down the Nile, but I had no idea how wonderful this trip would be.

- Valerie, M

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL OFFER

Airfare is included from Los Angeles!

Overview

Escape winter and bask in the legendary warmth and pristine beauty of Tahiti, Bora Bora, and other islands in French Polynesia. Learn about the history, mythology, and flora and fauna of these South Pacific islands, as well as the challenges they face. 

Highlights Include:

  • Papeete: Learn about the sacred Arahurahu Marae and the life and work of Paul Gauguin on this island paradise.
  • Huahine: Discover this island’s deep blue bay, coral atoll, dazzling white-sand beaches, and ancient stone temples.
  • Fakarava: Visit this large atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its rich ecosystem.
  • Bora Bora: Rise early for the approach to this pristine island—the essence of the mystique and beauty of the South Seas—and snorkel among the colorful corals and tropical fish.
  • Cultural Explorations: Discover places that sparked the imagination of scores of writers and artists, including Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, Paul Gauguin, and James Michener.

The trip exceeded my expectations. I chose Smithsonian because my friend and travelling companion had been with them on a trip down the Nile, but I had no idea how wonderful this trip would be.

- Valerie, M

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. and Arrive in Papeete, Tahiti, Society Islands

Depart from the U.S. and arrive in the bustling, cosmopolitan Papeete, the breathtaking capital of French Polynesia and the gateway to the treasures of the South Pacific. Located on a natural harbor cooled by trade winds, Papeete enjoys one of the finest natural settings in the South Pacific, set against a backdrop of verdant, forest-clad peaks. Its tropical ambiance is complemented by the charm and diversity of its inhabitants, a vibrant blend of native Tahitian, French, and Chinese. Check into the five-star InterContinental Resort Tahiti.

Day 2 — Papeete

Enjoy the exclusive included excursion along Tahiti’s west coast, tour the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands to view its significant archaeological finds and learn more about the island’s geology and its flora and fauna. Visit the beautifully landscaped Spring Garden of Vaipahi, a haven of tranquility, waterfalls and walking paths and home to 75 different species of plants, including precious woods and tropical flowers. This evening, join your traveling companions for the welcome reception in the hotel. (B,R)

Day 3 — Papeete and Embark Paul Gauguin

Check out of the hotel and enjoy time at leisure before embarking the Paul Gauguin. This evening, attend a private reception and dinner onboard. (B,R,D)

Day 4 — Huahine

Soaring peaks, lush rain forests, dazzling white beaches, and ancient shrines distinguish this untouched paradise formed of two islands—Huahine-Nui and Huahine-Iti—separated by a deep blue bay and ringed by a coral atoll. The idyllic port of Fare lies nestled between the sea and a woodland of towering mape (chestnut) trees draped with sweet-scented vanilla vines. In the nearby settlement of Maeva, the ancient religious center of Huahine-Nui, stand ten marae (temples), built in the 16th century of locally quarried stone and dedicated to Tane, Oro, and other Polynesian deities. This evening, attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception on board. (B,L,R,D)

Day 5 — Fakarava and Tuamotus Islands

The Tuamotus, “Tahiti’s strand of pearls,” are a picture-perfect South Seas oasis. Dozens of pristine coral atolls encircling stunning turquoise lagoons dot a broad stretch of ocean. Fakarava, the second largest of the atolls, is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its lagoon’s rich ecosystem of rare endemic birds, plants, and crustaceans. The resident pearl and coconut farmers in Fakarava’s two villages actively participate in conservation efforts; their livelihood depends on sustaining these natural resources. The motu village of Tetamanu, the former capital of the Tuamotus, features a lovely Catholic church built entirely of coral, the first constructed in the archipelago by European missionaries (1874). In the village of Rotoava see the Topaka Lighthouse, a picturesque 45-foot-tall coral stone turret. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Rangiroa

With more than 110 miles of tiny motus, each no more than three feet in elevation, Rangiroa—“immense sky” in the local language—offers vast, unobstructed horizon vistas in any direction. Its jade-green, seemingly endless lagoon is the largest in the Tuamotus and the second largest in the world. This secluded natural aquarium is especially attractive to divers looking for hammerhead and reef sharks that gather in the strong current of Tiputa Pass, which connects the lagoon to open ocean. The atoll also offers ideal snorkeling—observe manta rays, green sea turtles, and humphead wrasses—an usual pink-sand beach, coral churches, and unique to the islands, its own vineyard and winery located on a coconut plantation on a separate islet. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Taha’a, Society Islands, Bora Bora

Idyllically set across a blue lagoon to the north of Huahine, Taha’a is dominated by the profile of Mount Ohiri, named for Hiro, the Polynesian god of sailors and thieves. Today, two exotic enterprises provide the islanders’ livelihoods—the production of the world’s most flavorful vanilla beans and the farming of lustrous black pearls. Spend the day on the private South Pacific paradise of Motu Mahana, where you can swim, snorkel or kayak, and enjoy a traditional Polynesian feast complemented by entertainment. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Bora Bora

Described as “the most beautiful island in the world” by author James A. Michener, Bora Bora is the proverbial vision of a South Seas paradise. Its distinctive black basalt peak is cloaked in a lush tropical forest and silhouetted against turquoise lagoon waters, where a coral reef and an outlying fringe of motu teem with multicolored fish. Bora Bora was settled by adventurous Polynesian mariners in the 10th century A.D. The islanders have preserved the ways of their forebears and still wear the traditional colorfully hand-dyed pareo or sarong. In Bora Bora’s forested interior, villagers cultivate breadfruit, coconuts, and taro and preserve the ancient ruins of stone marae, the legacy of ancestral Polynesian deities. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Moorea, Papeete, Tahiti

Impressive temples in Moorea evoke its Polynesian heritage while European churches underscore its role as the center for 19th-century missionary activity in the Society Islands. Contemporary islanders continue the ways of their forefathers, farming pineapples and papayas and crafting fine works of art from seashells and indigenous wood. In Moorea’s village of Papetoai, a unique octagonal-shaped church is the oldest European structure in the South Seas still in use. This evening, attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception on board. (B,L,R,D)

Days 10-11 — Papeete, Disembark, and Return to the U.S.

Disembark the ship and continue on to the Bora Bora Post-Program option or transfer to the airport for flights home. Arrive in the U.S. the following day. (B)

All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)