19384
Pacific Islands/Tahiti/French Polynesia
Heart of French Polynesia: Tahiti & the Society Islands
In 1890, Paul Gauguin left Europe to find inspiration in Tahiti. Experience the beauty of Gauguin's French Polynesia as you learn about its fascinating history and culture.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19384RJ
Length
12 days
Starts at
7,795
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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12 days
11 nights
30 meals
10 B 10 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Tahiti, Papeete Evening Arrival
Tahiti
Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel

Evening: Arrive Papeete, Tahiti, late evening. Transfer to hotel and check in.

DAY
2
Intro to French Polynesia, Museum of Tahiti
Tahiti
B,L,D
Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel

Activity note: Approximately 15 minute walk (up to .25 mile) to Museum of Tahiti on level ground.

Breakfast: Buffet at Restaurant La Plantation, ground level. Served with coffee, water, and juice. Dine at leisure.

Morning: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. In addition to lectures and field trips exclusively for our Road Scholar group, you are invited to take advantage of the many activities and events aboard ship that are separate from the Road Scholar program. You will see a number of places in the daily schedule designated as free time when you can choose to do what you like and make your experience as personally meaningful, rewarding, and memorable as possible. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We will then have a class at Le Meridien Hotel introducing you to French Polynesia.

Lunch: Plated at Le Carre Restaurant with carafes of water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will walk to visit the nearby Musee de Tahiti et des Iles (Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands) with a local expert. The museum contains a fascinating exhibit of all that makes up French Polynesia - the geographic and oceanographic explanation of the islands, life in the sea and on land, progressive stages of its history, pre-European artifacts, a collection of memorabilia of political, cultural and social leaders. Social Hour prior to dinner.

Dinner: Plated at Restaurant La Plantation with carafes of water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Circle Tahiti Field Trip
Tahiti
B,L,D
Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel

Activity note: Boarding busses, some walking up to 1.5 miles.

Breakfast: Buffet at Restaurant La Plantation

Morning: Board an air-conditioned bus for a field trip circling Tahiti Nui. Depart Papeete and pass through many districts and villages. Notice how each area’s mayor tries to out do the others with enormous town halls. Passing Faaa Airport, notice that land for its runways was reclaimed from the lagoon. It was not until 1961 that modern jets were able to land here. Stop at the ancient Arahurahu marae which has been restored to its former grandeur. Next visit the Maraa Grotto, a beautiful garden and cave area, and continue on past the golf course which was once a huge cotton plantation worked by coolie labor from China. It was planted to fulfill the shortage of cotton in Europe caused by the American Civil War. A short distance further on, visit the Vaipahi Garden with its beautiful waterfall before stopping at restaurant Musee Gauguin for a buffet lunch.

Lunch: Buffet lunch at a local restaurant

Afternoon: Continue on and pass through beautiful Papeari Village and along the inlet (Phaeton Bay) which has a number of fish traps; then cross the Isthmus of Taravao, pass the base where the military have been located since 1844. The ships of Antoine de Bougainville, anchored near the two small offshore islands in Hitiaa in 1786. At Mahaena, Tahitians fought an armed rebellion for three years against the annexation of Tahiti by France. Next stops will include Arahoho Blowhole, Fa`aurumai Waterfall, and Point Venus and Matavai Bay. Captains Wallis, Cook and Bligh anchored in the Matavai Bay area. Located here is a memorial to the arrival of the first Christian missionaries in 1797 and a lighthouse constructed in 1868, despite its 1867 date. Continue on to Pirae and pass One Tree Hill called Taharaa today.

Dinner: Plated at Restaurant La Plantation

Evening: Performance

DAY
4
Open Market, Board Ship, Sail for Huahine
Tahiti
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Walking on pavement at Open Market of Papeete (up to 1.5 miles). Stairs to board the ship on embarkation. Elevators available between decks.

Breakfast: Buffet at Restaurant La Plantation

Morning: Check out of hotel and depart for Papeete Open Market

Lunch: At the Papeete Open Market

Afternoon: Excursion: A walk around the Papeete Open Market to see the native fruits, vegetables and crafts of Tahiti. After excursion, depart for the nearby Port of Papeete. Board MS Paul Gauguin, locate stateroom, get settled. Time to explore the ship and pick up snorkel gear available at the Marina on Deck 3. Social Hour prior to dinner.

Dinner: L'Etoile Restaurant: Deck 5, Aft Enjoy cuisine amid the classic furnishings and fluted shell lighting reminiscent of one of the refined dining establishments in Paris. Here delectable cuisine is artfully presented and guests receive the most diligent attention. L'Etoile is only open for dinner (7:00 - 9:30 pm).

Evening: Cast off for our adventure as the Paul Gauguin departs Papeete for our first stop in the Society Islands -Huahine. Huahine is actually composed of two islands - Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti (“Big Huahine” and “Little Huahine”) - and is surrounded by a deep lagoon encircled by a coral necklace. The most traditional and undeveloped island in French Polynesia, Huahine exudes a laid- back, small-town atmosphere.

DAY
5
Class, Huahine Field Trip, Sail for Tahaa
Huahine
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Boarding busses, Some walking

Breakfast: The ship provides a couple of dining venues for breakfast. Both dining venues consist of buffet options with coffee, juice, tea and other beverages available. (Room service is available as well) The dining options are: La Veranda: Deck 6, Aft This restaurant offers breakfast (7:30 -10:00 am), in a setting whose ambience might recall leisurely dining on a yacht club terrace on the Cote d'Azur. Le Grill: Deck 8, Mid Greet the sun with a buffet breakfast at Le Grill (7:00 - 9:30 am)

Morning: Class: Topic Instructor's Choice followed by free time to enjoy the ship's various amenities and activities. The MS Gauguin daily offers a variety of cultural and educational classes and opportunities. A schedule, called the "Ia Orana" will be delivered daily to your stateroom and inform you of that day's activities.

Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda.

Afternoon: Field Trip: Overview with local guide of Huahine’s archaeological sites, sacred areas, ancient fish traps and agriculture – exploration of modern and ancient agricultural products of Huahine from melon fields to coconut plantations. Ship sets sail for Tahaa at 5 pm.

Dinner: Plated at La Veranda - This restaurant becomes a reservations-only French Bistro at dinner (7:00 - 9:00 pm).

Evening: Enjoy the nightly performance offered by the ship in the Le Grand Salon on Deck 5, forward. Watch spectacular performances, such as an electrifying Polynesian show featuring the arts of the islands in the main lounge. One night it might be the soaring acappella harmonies of himene songs. Another might feature a thrilling performance of otea - a complex line dance accompanied by drums telling the ancestral legends of the Polynesian people.

DAY
6
Tahaa Field Trip, BBQ Beach Party, Sail for Bora Bora
Tahaa
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Walking on uneven terrain and sandy beach up to 1.5 miles. When taking a tender to Motu Mahana, it will be a wet landing, in which you will go down a ramp into knee-deep water and then wade ashore. Wear reef shoes or some other footwear that can get wet.

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service.

Morning: We will tender to Tahaa for our field trip. Visit a private family pearl farm to see and learn about pearl cultivation, history .

Lunch: Barbeque Beach Party on Motu Mahana. A "motu" refers to a reef islet formed by broken coral and sand surrounding a tropical island, lagoon, or atoll.

Afternoon: The afternoon is free to enjoy Motu Mahana, where the ship will be offering a barbeque lunch (weather permitting) and a Polynesian Show including music, dancing, and demonstrations. The ship will be running regular tenders to Motu Mahana, so feel free to catch any one when you're ready. The last tender back to the ship from Motu Mahana is approximately 4 pm. Ship sets sail for Bora Bora at 5 pm.

Dinner: Le Grill, plated. At night Le Grill is transformed into a cozy indoor/outdoor restaurant serving grilled specialties in a more casual atmosphere.

Evening: Attend Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.

DAY
7
Bora Bora Lagoon Exploration, Overnight in Bora Bora
Bora Bora
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Snorkeling off boat in lagoon. Must be able to swim and to climb ladders to get on and off boat

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service

Morning: Our excursion today is Motu and Lagoon Exploration. This is an opportunity to snorkel in Bora Bora's beautiful lagoon as well as to visit a scenic private motu (island).

Lunch: Picnic lunch on the private motu

Afternoon: Continuation of snorkeling trip. Upon your return to the MS Paul Gauguin at about 2 pm, you will have free time to enjoy shipboard activities or venture on your own to Bora Bora for independent exploration. The Paul Gauguin will run tenders ashore to Vaitape, Bora Bora's main town.

Dinner: On your own to sample local fare or aboard ship.

Evening: You may wish to take tenders directly to the famous “Bloody Mary” Bar and Restaurant. This bar features sandy floors and is very popular with visitors.

DAY
8
Overview of Bora Bora, Free Time, Sail for Moorea
Bora Bora
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Must be able to climb aboard 4X4 vehicles

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service

Morning: We will tender to Vaitape town from the ship and then board 4x4 vehicles for our overview of Bora Bora field trip. Sites include WWII American military history and relics. Bora Bora was a U.S. supply base during World War II; naval gun sites can still be seen. Don't forget your camera as you will witness amazing vistas overlooking this breathtaking lagoon.

Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Bora Bora or relax on the ship and take advantage of its free time activities. Ship sets sail for Moorea at 6 pm.

Dinner: Le Etoile, plated

Evening: Attend Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.

DAY
9
Free Time, Class, Dolphin Field Trip, Overnight in Moorea
Moorea
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Must be able to climb ladders to get on and off boat.

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service.

Morning: Class: Topic Instructor's Choice

Lunch: Onboard ship at leisure. Lunch is offered daily at Le Grill and La Veranda.

Afternoon: We will tender to Moorea for our Field Trip: Dolphins of French Polynesia. This will be a boat-based ride around Moorea to observe dolphins, hopefully including schools of acrobatic "Spinner Dolphins", and to learn of their remarkable lives at sea.

Dinner: Polynesian Dinner - Le Grill

Evening: Attend Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Iorana" for a list of this evening's performance as well as other activities available.

DAY
10
Overview of Moorea, Sail for Tahiti
Moorea
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Boarding busses, some walking on paved and uneven paths up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda, Le Grill or room service

Morning: We will tender to Moorea to visit Belvedere Viewpoint with beautiful vistas of the island. We will stop at a well preserved and rebuilt historical Marae, view a farming valley inland of Cook's Bay, the University of California Berkeley's Richard B. Gump South Pacific Research Station.

Lunch: Polynesian lunch at Cultural Centre

Afternoon: Continuation of overview of Moorea field trip. Tender back to ship. Sunset sail to Papeete, Tahiti.

Dinner: Le' Etoile, plated

Evening: Arrive Papeete, Tahiti at 7:30 pm. The evening will be at leisure. Pack and leave your luggage outside your door before you go to sleep so the crew can prepare to take it off the ship tomorrow morning. Make sure you have everything you need for tomorrow in an overnight-bag you'll keep with you.

DAY
11
Disembark MS Paul Gauguin, Program Concludes, Fly to US
In Flight
B,L,D

Activity note: Hotel Day Room check-out is by 4:00 p.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location.

Breakfast: Onboard Ship at leisure - Choice of La Veranda or room service. (Le Grill is not open for breakfast the day of disembarkation).

Morning: We will say "Bon Voyage" to the MS Paul Gauguin and disembark ship by 10 am. Upon disembarkation we will transfer by bus for Le Meridien Tahiti and arrive approximately 30 minutes later. Upon arrival, we will check into day rooms. Free Time to enjoy the property and explore, relax, swim, or snorkel before lunch.

Lunch: At the hotel's Restaurant Le Carre, plated

Afternoon: Class: Wrap up Session followed by social hour.

Dinner: At Restaurant La Plantation, plated.

Evening: Late evening flight from Papeete to US Mainland. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys! Nana and Bon Voyage!

DAY
12
Arrive Los Angeles
Arrive Los Angeles