Trace the voyages of legendary explorer Captain Cook and explore places that sparked the imaginations of writers and artists as your four-masted sailing ship plies a course among six evocative South Pacific islands. 

* Price includes special offer Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Looking out over the lagoon of Bora Bora  The Wind Spirit sailing in French Polynesia  The island of Huahine in the Society Islands  Underwater view of manta ray and butterfly fish  Tropical fish (Humbug Dascyllus) and pillar coral in the lagoon of Bora Bora  Looking over the lagoon of Bora Bora. Credit: Tahiti-Tourisme.com  The Wind Spirit in French Polynesia  Close up view of the Wind Spirit  Lagoon of Bora Bora. Credit: Tahiti-Tourisme.com  Dramatic aerial view of Bora Bora 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  A lagoon in Tahiti. Credit: Tahiti-Tourisme.com  Sunset from aboard your sailing ship

Voyage to French Polynesia

Featuring Tahiti and Bora Bora

11 days | Full tour details to be announced soon

Trace the voyages of legendary explorer Captain Cook and explore places that sparked the imaginations of writers and artists as your four-masted sailing ship plies a course among six evocative South Pacific islands. 

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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Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

InterContinental Resort Tahiti

Tahiti, French Polynesia

The InterContinental Resort Tahiti is the perfect place to begin your visit to French Polynesia. The 107 guest rooms offer sweeping views of Tahiti’s natural beauty and the expansive grounds include the Aquatica Dive Center, Lagoonarium, private beach, pools, tennis courts, and 30 acres of gardens. Papeete’s museums, shops, galleries, market, and nightlife are only a short drive away.

Number of nights: 1

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Expectations: This ocean-going cruise requires using smaller boat conveyances to get to shore for excursions, although the ship may also pull into a pier for embarkation and disembarkation. Two-night hotel stay in Papeete. Flexible schedule featuring one included excursion at each port; other optional excursions are at the traveler's discretion (additional cost); kayaking and snorkeling are included options. Extended walking (up to three hours) likely during excursions on possibly difficult terrain (sandy trails/beaches, muddy/slippery nature/walking/hiking trails, cobblestones, stairs without handrails, limited or no access to elevators), walking to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Smaller boats/canoes also used for some excursions.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with long days of touring (both walking tours and coach time). 

Tour Extension

InterContinental Mo’orea Resort Post-Program Option

Extend your sojourn in French Polynesia with two nights in a Five-Star seaside resort hotel on Mo’orea, providing an authentic Polynesian experience. Enjoy magnificent, expansive ocean views from your deluxe beachfront or overwater bungalow. Observe the abundant marine life on a reef excursion, dine in one of the island’s gourmet restaurants for the exotic flavors of fresh local seafood prepared with French Polynesian flair, or enjoy the resort’s dolphin center, sea turtle clinic and a wide array of watersports and white-sand beach. This resort option includes breakfast daily and round-trip ferry rides between Tahiti and Mo’orea. 

Testimonials

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
Reading List

Highly Recommended

The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific
By: Paul Theroux
In one of his most exotic and breathtaking journeys, the intrepid traveler Paul Theroux ventures to the South Pacific, exploring fifty-one islands by collapsible kayak. Beginning in New Zealand's rain forests and ultimately coming to shore thousands of miles away in Hawaii, Theroux paddles alone over isolated atolls, through dirty harbors and shark-filled waters, and along treacherous coastlines. This exhilarating tropical epic is full of disarming observations and high adventure.
Noa Noa: The Tahitian Journal (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)
By: Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin fled what he called "filthy Europe" in 1891 to what he hoped would be an unspoiled paradise, Tahiti. He painted 66 magnificent can vases during the first two years he spent there and kept notes from which he later wrote Noa Noa — a journal recording his thoughts and impressions of that time.Noa Noa — the most widely known of Gauguin's writings — is reproduced here from a rare early edition (1919), in a lucid translation capturing the artist's unpretentious style. Page after page reveals Gauguin's keen observations of Tahiti and its people, and his passionate struggle to achieve the inner harmony he expressed so profoundly on canvas. Gauguin's prose is as seductive as his paintings, filled with descriptions of warm seas, hidden lagoons, lush green forests, and beautiful Maori women.The journal is captivating reading, offering a compelling autobiographical fragment of the soul of a genius and a rare glimpse of Oceanian culture. The brief periods of happiness Gauguin found among the Tahitians are eloquently expressed in his narrative. We understand the motives that drove him and gain a deeper appreciation of his art.Today the manuscript provides unparalleled insight into Gauguin's thoughts as he strove to achieve spiritual peace, and into the wellsprings of a singular artistic style which changed the course of modern art. This wonderfully affordable edition — enhanced by 24 of Gauguin's South Seas drawings — makes a unique and passionate testament accessible to all art lovers.
The Snorkeller's Guide to the Coral Reef: From the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean
By: Paddy Ryan
Book by Ryan, Paddy
Lonely Planet Tahiti & French Polynesia (Country Guide)
By: Lonely Planet, Brash, Celeste, Carillet, Jean-Bernard

Also Recommended

Lonely Planet South Pacific Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Atamira, Te, Dhont, Hadrien, Fawcett, Carrie Stipic, Losch, Naomi C, Mayer, John, Rapahango, Ana Betty, Simpson, Michael, Tryon, Darrell, Liller, Dr William, Vita, Fepuleai Lasei
The People of the Sea: Environment, Identity, and History in Oceania
By: Paul D'Arcy
Oceania is characterized by thousands of islands and archipelagoes amidst the vast expanse of the Pacific. Although it is one of the few truly oceanic habitats occupied permanently by humankind, surprisingly little research has been done on the maritime dimension of Pacific history. The People of the Sea attempts to fill this gap by combining neglected historical and scientific material to provide the first synthetic study of ocean-people interaction in the region from 1770 to 1870. It emphasizes Pacific Islanders' varied and evolving relationships with the sea during a crucial transitional era following sustained European contact. Countering the dominant paradigms of recent Pacific Islands' historiography, which tend to limit understanding of the sea's importance, this volume emphasizes the flux in the maritime environment and how it instilled an expectation and openness toward outside influences and the rapidity with which cultural change could occur in relations between various Islander groups. The author constructs an extended and detailed conceptual framework to examine the ways in which the sea has framed and shaped Islander societies. He looks closely at Islanders' diverse responses to their ocean environment, including the sea in daily life; sea travel and its infrastructure; maritime boundaries; protecting and contesting marine tenure; attitudes to unheralded seaborne arrivals; and conceptions of the world beyond the horizon and the willingness to voyage. He concludes by using this framework to reconsider the influence of the sea on historical processes in Oceania from 1770 to the present and discusses the implications of his findings for Pacific studies.
The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
By: Caroline Alexander
More than two centuries after Master’s Mate Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Lieutenant William Bligh on a small, armed transport vessel called Bounty, the true story of this enthralling adventure has become obscured by the legend. Combining vivid characterization and deft storytelling, Caroline Alexander shatters the centuries-old myths surrounding this story. She brilliantly shows how, in a desperate attempt to save one man from the gallows and another from ignominy, two powerful families came together and began to create the version of history we know today. The true story of the mutiny on the Bounty is an epic of duty and heroism, pride and power, and the assassination of a brave man’s honor at the dawn of the Romantic age.
Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft
By: Thor Heyerdahl
Now a major motion picture, Kon-Tiki is the record of Thor Heyerdahl’s astonishing three-month voyage across the Pacific.Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure—a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage. On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, and sharks, they sighted land—the Polynesian island of Puka Puka. Translated into sixty-five languages, Kon-Tiki is a classic, inspiring tale of daring and courage—a magnificent saga of men against the sea. This edition includes a foreword by the author and a unique visual essay of the voyage.
We, the Navigators: The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific
By: David Lewis
This new edition includes a discussion of theories about traditional methods of navigation developed during recent decades, the story of the renaissance of star navigation throughout the Pacific, and material about navigation systems in Indonesia, Siberia, and the Indian Ocean.
In the South Seas (Penguin Classics)
By: Robert Louis Stevenson
In the South Seas records Stevenson's travels with his wife Fanny and their family in the Marquesas, the Paumotus and the Gilbert Islands during 1888-9. Originally drafted in journal form while Stevenson travelled, it was then ambitiously rewrittento describe the islands and islanders as well as Stevenson's own personal experiences. In the South Seas was published posthumously in 1896. Its combination of personal anecdote and historical account, of autobiography and anthropology, of Stevenson and South Sea Islands, has a particular charm.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story
By: J. Maarten Troost
Follow in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson with J. Maarten Troost, the bestselling author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals. Readers and critics alike adore J. Maarten Troost for his signature wry and witty take on the adventure memoir. Headhunters on My Doorstep chronicles Troost’s return to the South Pacific after his struggle with alcoholism left him numb to life. Deciding to retrace the path once traveled by the author of Treasure Island, Troost follows Robert Louis Stevenson to the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, Tahiti, Kiribati, and Samoa, tumbling from one comic misadventure to another. Headhunters on My Doorstep is a funny yet poignant account of one man’s journey to find himself that will captivate travel writing aficionados, Robert Louis Stevenson fans, and anyone who has ever lost his way.
The Fragile Edge: Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific
By: Julia Whitty
In The Fragile Edge, the documentary filmmaker and deep-sea diver Julia Whitty paints a mesmerizing, scientifically rich portrait of teeming coral reefs and sea life in the South Pacific. She takes us literally beneath the surface of the usual travel narrative, in an underwater equivalent of an African big-game safari. Hammerhead sharks rule a cascading chain of extraordinary creatures, from eagle rays to reef sharks, as the sound of courting humpback whales reverberates through the deep. Inspiring for both armchair and expert divers, The Fragile Edge reveals how science can extend our understanding of unfathomable waters, opening our eyes to the threats facing coral reefs and explaining why these fragile oases are vital to human survival. In this passionate, spiritual narrative of her adventures in the big blue, Julia Whitty emerges as one of our finest writers on the mystery, beauty, and fragility of the undersea world.
Tales of the South Pacific
By: James A. Michener
Tales of the South Pacific is the iconic, Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece that inspired a Broadway classic and launched the career of James A. Michener, one of America’s most beloved storytellers. This thrilling work invites the reader to enter the exotic world of the South Pacific and luxuriate in the endless ocean, the coconut palms, the waves breaking into spray against the reefs, the full moon rising behind the volcanoes. And yet here also are the men and women caught up in the heady drama of World War II: the young Marine who falls for a beautiful Tonkinese girl; the Navy nurse whose prejudices are challenged by a French aristocrat; and all the soldiers and sailors preparing for war against the seemingly peaceful backdrop of a tropical paradise.   Praise for James A. Michener and Tales of the South Pacific   “Truly one of the most remarkable books to come out of [World War II] . . . Michener is a born storyteller.”—The New York Times   “Riveting and emotional . . . Ever since James Michener wrote Tales of the South Pacific, the dreamers among us have been searching for our own Bali Ha’i.”—The Washington Post   “Atmospheric . . . [Tales of the South Pacific marks] the beginning of Michener’s long exploration of what happens when cultures connect, or fail to.”—Los Angeles Times   “Few writers changed the face of American fiction as profoundly as did James Michener.”—San Francisco ChronicleFrom the Paperback edition.
South Sea Tales (Oxford World's Classics)
By: Robert Louis Stevenson
In South Sea Tales Stevenson shows himself to be a virtuoso of narrative styles. But beyond their generic diversity the stories are linked by their concern with representing the multiracial society of which their author had become a member. In this collection--the first to bring together all his shorter Pacific fiction in one volume--Stevenson emerges as a witness both to the cross-cultural encounters of nineteenth-century imperialism and to the creation of the global culture which characterizes the post-colonial world.About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Reef Fishes of the Indo-Pacific
By: Matthias Bergbauer, Manuela Kirschner
The Indo-Pacific region is the dream destination for all SCUBA divers and snorkellers. The coral reefs in this region are bursting with marine life and are home to more animal species than any other diving spot in the world – more than 40 per cent of all coral reef fishes known worldwide. Added to this, the waters are crystal-clear, giving the best chance of viewing the underwater stars.  Top-quality, close-up photographs of each species (in some cases including juvenile or sub-adult variants) are accompanied by detailed information listing identifying features, size, biology and distribution. The introductory section focuses on specific types of behaviour, such as mimicry, cleaning stations and the symbiotic relationships between various species. The species descriptions that follow are grouped in three chapters on fishes, invertebrates, and reptiles and sea mammals. Covering Mauritius, Seychelles, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia and describing over 800 species, this book is an invaluable identification guide.
A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific
By: H. Douglas Pratt, Phillip L. Bruner, Delwyn G. Berrett
This is the first field guide to the identification of the birds of the islands of the tropical Pacific, including the Hawaiian Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, southeastern Polynesia, and Micronesia. It is intended both as a reference for the expert and as an introduction to birding in the region for the novice. Small enough to be carried afield, it contains much previously unpublished information about behavior, vocalizations, ecology, and distribution. The forty-five color plates depict all plumages of all bird species that breed in the islands, as well as of those that regularly visit them and the surrounding oceans, and of most species believed to be extinct on the islands. Black-and-white figures show many of the rarer visitors.Introductory sections discuss the tropical Pacific as an environment for birds, problems of birding on islands, and bird conservation. Appendixes include maps of the island groups and a thorough bibliography.
Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific: New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands
By: John E. Randall
The South Pacific has long been in need of a comprehensive guide to reef and shore fishes. This volume covers the inshore fish fauna of New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, the southern Gilbert Islands (Kiribati), Tuvalu, Fiji, the Wallis Islands, Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, the Tokelau Islands, the Phoenix Islands, the Cook Islands, the Austral Islands, Rapa, the Society Islands, the Tuamoto Archipelago, the Marquesas Islands, and the Pitcairn Islands. It contains accounts of nearly 1,500 species of fishes, illustrated with more than 2,000 color photographs, taken mostly underwater. (A few drab species are illustrated by only black and white photographs or drawings.) Species accounts are headed by the English common name, the scientific name, the author or authors who described the fish, and the date of the description. This is followed by a concise list of the characteristics needed to identify the species, the total length it attains, its distribution, habitat, and in summary form what may be known of its biology. More than 600 references are given for those seeking more information on individual species. The introduction contains a two-page color spread of the main external features of fishes. An extensive glossary of scientific terms precedes the index.
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

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