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. 

Starting at: $5,995 * 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:  The Wind Spirit in French Polynesia  Close up view of the Wind Spirit  Dramatic aerial view of Bora Bora in the Society Islands  Lagoon of Bora Bora. Credit:  Yellow Plumeria or Frangipani, found in Tahiti  Colorful flowers of Tahiti  A marae or temple area on Moorea  Marae Maeva found on Huahine. Credit:  A motu, one of many small islands, found in the Society Islands  A lagoon in Tahiti. Credit:  Sunset from aboard your sailing ship

Voyage to French Polynesia

Featuring Tahiti and Bora Bora

11 days from $5,995

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


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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


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Save $1,000 per person when you book by April 24, 2021!


Escape the cold and bask in the warmth and pristine beauty of Tahiti, "the Pearl of the South Pacific," as well as the sister islands of Pape'ete, Mo'orea, Ra'iatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora, and Huahine. Trace the voyages of legendary explorer Captain Cook and explore the places that sparked the imaginations of scores of writers and artists as your four-masted sailing ship plies a course through deep-blue waters, its sails billowing majestically in the wind. Our South Pacific adventure will excite your senses and provide a deeper appreciation for these exotic islands and their remarkable cultures. 

Highlights Include

  • Unique Seascapes: Part of the allure of the South Pacific are the iconic island seascapes—volcanic islands, coral atolls, and motus set amid deep blue waters fringed by dazzling white-sand beaches. Inland, thick tropical forests cloak black basalt peaks silhouetted against turquoise waters, and the sweet scent of vanilla, gardenia, and jasmine delicately permeate the island air. Learn about the flora and fauna of the Society Islands during excursions and active adventures. 
  • Culture: Walk to imposing sacred marae (temples) to learn about Polynesian deities and traditions. Gain a deeper understanding of the traditional Polynesian trade economy as you tour the fragrant ground of a vanilla plantation and visit a farm where lustrous black pearls are meticulously cultivated for export. Witness the art of dyeing traditional Polynesian pareo (sarongs). Savor the island's abundant fruits and enjoy local island cuisine and entertainment at a traditional Polynesian feast on a private motu
  • Tahiti: Hear about the sacred Arahurahu Marae and the life and work of Paul Gauguin.
  • 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 tropical fish.
  • Other Islands: Discover Huahine’s deep blue bay, coral atoll, dazzling white-sand beaches, and ancient stone temples. Visit the vanilla island of Taha’a, plus enjoy a traditional Polynesian barbecue on a private motu (small reef island). Stop at Raiatea, a cradle of early Polynesian culture and favorite destination of Captain Cook. Explore the tropical paradise of Moorea, which inspired authors such as James Michener.
  • Nature Activities: Enjoy warm-water swimming from unspoiled and snorkeling amid pristine coral reeds and tropical fish. Board an outrigger canoe to explore the only navigable river in Polynesia. 
  • Wind Spirit: Experience this paragon of paradise on an elegant yacht designed to sail among the atolls and motus of French Polynesia, its year-round home. This award-winning ship features a spacious teak deck, upscale amenities, two elegant restaurants, a watersports marina, plus complimentary beverages and included gratuities. Learn more in the Trip Details tab. 

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


Day 1 & 2 —Depart the U.S. / Pape’ete, Tahiti

Depart the U.S. for lively, cosmopolitan Pape’ete. This breathtaking capital of French Polynesia, the gateway to the treasures of the South Pacific, has extended a hospitable welcome to visitors since its founding as a missionary settlement in 1824. Located on a natural harbor cooled by trade winds, Pape’ete 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 people, a vibrant blend of native Tahitian, French and Chinese communities.

Upon arrival, check into the ideally located, Five-Star InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa. On Wednesday, enjoy time at leisure to treat yourself to the resort and spa amenities.

 In the evening, join your fellow companions for the welcome reception in the hotel. (B,R)

Day 3 — Pape’ete

Travel along Tahiti’s west coast, walk through the sacred Arahurahu Marae, Polynesia’s only fully restored marae, or temple. 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 mape, or chestnut, pine woods, and tropical flowers.

Embark the Wind Spirit, and attend the Captain’s welcome reception on board this evening. (B,L,R,D)

Day 4 — Mo’orea

The remnant of a long-extinct volcano, the heart-shaped island of Mo’orea was once a sanctuary for vanquished warriors from Tahiti. It was visited by Captain Cook in 1777 and by the American novelist Herman Melville in 1842, and also inspired James A. Michener to write his unforgettable Tales from the South Pacific

Impressive temples evoke Mo’orea’s 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. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure for snorkeling opportunities in Mo’orea’s turquoise lagoons or shopping in downtown Moorea. If you choose an optional excursion, you can explore the island’s beaches, forests, and take a walk through an ancient village where archaeologists are piecing together the pre-history of the Polynesians. Along the way you will learn and talk about the geology, plants and animals, Polynesian settlement, European explorations, and modern environmental issues. The leisurely pace of this tour will allow for plenty of photo opportunities.

Enjoy a presentation by Frank Murphy from Gump Research Station to learn more about the unique ecosystem of French Polynesia. (B,L,D) 

Day 5 — Ra’iatea

In the pre-colonial era, Ra’iatea served as the political and spiritual center of the Society Islands and was beloved by Captain Cook, who called here on each of his three voyages of discovery. It was the hub for the colonization of Hawaii, the Marquesas, and New Zealand, and according to local legend, it was the birthplace of Oro, the god of war and fertility.

Your day is at leisure. You may choose a panoramic tour that visits Marae Taputapuatea, a temple constructed of coral and black volcanic rock and one of the best-preserved marae complexes in Polynesia. Visit a local pearl producer as well as a local garden that will allow you to see a world of wild hibiscus, bamboo and Tahitian chestnut trees. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Ra’iatea / Taha’a

Taha’a is dominated by the profile of Mount Ohiri, named for Hiro, the Polynesian god of sailors and thieves. Today, the harvesting of the world’s most flavorful vanilla beans is instrumental to sustaining islanders’ livelihoods. Gain a deeper understanding of the Polynesian people and their traditional agriculture with an optional tour of the fragrant grounds of a vanilla farm.

Enjoy a traditional Polynesian feast on a private motu, or islet, where you can swim, snorkel or kayak. (B,L,D)

Day 7 & 8 — Bora Bora

Bora Bora, the proverbial vision of a South Seas paradise, was described as “the most beautiful island in the world” by James Michener. Your days are at leisure. Choose a panoramic tour to view its distinctive black basalt peak cloaked in a fertile tropical forest, and silhouetted against turquoise lagoon waters. Alongside glittering Fa’anui Bay, see the ceremonial site of the Fa’anui Marae—and, hidden among the vegetation, a bunker constructed by American soldiers during World War II. Bora Bora was settled by adventurous Polynesian mariners in the 10th century, and since then, the islanders have preserved the ways of their forebears and still wear the traditional colorfully hand-dyed pareo (sarong). In Bora Bora’s forested interior, villagers cultivate breadfruit, coconuts, and taro; preserve the ancient ruins of stone marae; and respect the legacy of ancestral Polynesian deities. Learn about the art of dyeing the traditional Polynesian pareo and taste some of the island’s abundant cultivated fruits.

From a lookout point, admire spectacular views of Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora’s highest peak. (2B,2L,2D) 

Day 9 — Huahine

Just across from an azure lagoon to the south of Taha’a, idyllic Huahine is distinguished by soaring peaks, lush rain-forests, dazzling white beaches and ancient shrines. This untouched paradise is actually two islands—Huahine-Nui (big) and Huahine-Iti (small)—separated by a deep blue bay and ringed by a coral atoll.

Stroll through the picturesque port of Fare, nestled between the sea and a woodland of towering mape trees draped with sweet-scented vanilla vines. Choose to learn more by visiting the nearby settlement of Maeva, the ancient religious center of Huahine-Nui, and see the 16th-century maraes built from locally quarried stone and dedicated to the Polynesian deities Tane and Oro.

Stop in the village of Faie to see blue-eyed river eels considered sacred by locals. Your afternoon is at leisure. Attend the Captain’s farewell reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)

Day 10 — Pape’ete

Disembark the ship and explore the east coast of Tahiti. Visit the former home of American author James Norman Hall, best known for co-authoring Mutiny on the Bounty. Admire the island of Tahiti’s only lighthouse at Point Venus, named for the observatory Captain Cook established here in 1769. Day-room accommodations have been reserved in the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa.

This evening, transfer to the Pape’ete airport or continue on to the Moorea Post-Program Option or board your flight home. (B)

Day 11 — Arrive in the U.S.

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