Escape winter and bask in the legendary warmth and pristine beauty of Tahiti and five other evocative South Pacific islands from aboard a four-masted sailing ship.

Starting at: $6,995 * 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: Tahiti-Tourisme.com  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: Tahiti-Tourisme.com  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 Aboard the 148-guest Wind Spirit

11 days from $6,995

Escape winter and bask in the legendary warmth and pristine beauty of Tahiti and five other evocative South Pacific islands from aboard a four-masted sailing ship.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

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

Save $1,000 per person when you book by February 4, 2019!

Overview

Escape winter and bask in the legendary warmth and pristine beauty of Tahiti and five other evocative South Pacific islands. During your voyage aboard a four-masted sailing ship, you’ll learn about the history, mythology, and flora and fauna of the Society Islands during excursions and active adventures.

Highlights Include

  • Tahiti: Hear about the sacred Arahurahu Marae and Paul Gauguin’s life and work, plus enjoy the black-sand beaches.
  • 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 a vanilla plantation and black pearl farm on 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 a favorite destination of Captain Cook. Tour the tropical paradise of Moorea, which inspired authors such as James Michener.
  • Wind Spirit: Sail aboard a small sleek four-masted sailing yacht (Windstar Cruises). This award-winning ship features spacious teak decks, upscale amenities, two elegant restaurants, complimentary beverages, and gratuities, plus kayaks and snorkeling gear. 

*During this voyage, we will share the ship with other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience.

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

2019 Itinerary

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, and tour the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands to view significant archaeological finds and learn more about the island’s geology, flora, fauna, culture, and customs. 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. A scenic drive to Belvedere Point reveals an unforgettable panoramic view of the island’s lushly forested volcanic peaks, including impressive Mount Rotui, and the crystalline waters of Cook and Opunohu Bays.

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. Visit the Atitia Outreach Center at Gump Station to learn more about the unique ecosystem of French Polynesia. Enjoy a demonstration of traditional weaving and tapa, or barkcloth making. (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.

On a panoramic tour, visit Marae Taputapuatea, a temple constructed of coral and black volcanic rock and one of the best-preserved marae complexes in Polynesia. Aboard a motorized va’a (outrigger canoe), cruise along Ra’iatea’s tranquil Fa’aroa River, the only navigable river in Polynesia, as it threads its way through a world of wild hibiscus, bamboo and Tahitian chestnut trees.  

Your afternoon is at leisure. (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 when you tour the succulent grounds of a vanilla farm.  Continue on to a local pearl farm and learn how pearls are created and harvested.

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. On a panoramic tour, 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, then enjoy time at leisure. (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. Visit 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 eals 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 to continue on to the Bora Bora 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)