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 (4.75)
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 Program
Tahiti
Le Meridien Tahiti Hotel

Afternoon: US afternoon flights for Tahiti, French Polynesia. A snack and a meal are typically included on board flight; however subject to change dependent on airline policy.

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 to museum on level ground

Breakfast: International Breakfast Buffet -Restaurant La Plantation, ground level. Dine at leisure.

Morning: Introductions and Orientation. Class: Introduction to French Polynesia

Lunch: Restaurant La Plantation, ground level.

Afternoon: Field Trip: Visit to the Musee de Tahiti et des Iles (Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands) for 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: Restaurant La Plantation

Evening: Free Evening

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

Activity note: Boarding busses, some walking

Breakfast: International Buffet Breakfast - 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 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: Dinner- Restaurant La Plantation.

Evening: Cultural Performance: Tahitian Dance

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

Activity note: Some walking on level ground during excursion; stairs to board the ship

Breakfast: International Buffet Breakfast - Restaurant La Plantation

Morning: Free morning to relax and pack. Check out of hotel and depart for Papeete Open Market

Lunch: Lunch at the Papeete Open Market

Afternoon: Excursion: A walking tour of the Papeete Open Market to see the native fruits, vegetables and crafts of Tahiti. After field trip, depart for Port of Papeete. Board MS Paul Gauguin, Board, locate stateroom, get settled. Free time to explore the ship and pick up snorkel gear available at the Marina on Deck 3.

Dinner: Welcome 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, Depart for Tahaa
Huahine
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Boarding busses; some walking

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

Morning: Class: (Topic Instructor's Choice) Free time before lunch. 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 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: La Veranda - This restaurant becomes a reservations-only French Bistro at dinner (7:00 - 9:00 pm).

Evening: Optional Activity: 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, Depart for Bora Bora
Tahaa
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: 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: The ship provides a couple of dining venues for breakfast. (Room service is available as well) 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: Disembark ship for field trip. Visit a private family pearl farm to see and learn about pearl cultivation, history & legends of the island. From there, journey to a vanilla farm to learn more about this important island industry. We'll view other highlights of Tahaa along the way as we explore this beautiful island.

Lunch: Barbeque Beach Party on Motu Mahana. A "motu" refers to a reef islet formed by broken coral and sand surrounding an 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 4pm. Ship sets sail for Bora Bora at approximately 5 pm.

Dinner: Le’ Etoile

Evening: Optional Activity: Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Ia Orana" 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: Excursion: Motu and Lagoon Exploration - An opportunity to snorkel in Bora Bora's beautiful lagoon as well as to visit a scenic private motu.

Lunch: Picnic lunch on the private motu

Afternoon: Free Afternoon 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 and may also run them to a nearby motu where you can enjoy beach activities and snorkel.

Dinner: Dinner on your own aboard ship at your favorite dining spot.

Evening: Optional Activity: 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: Field Trip: Overview of Bora Bora, including 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 afternoon to explore Bora Bora or relax. Set sail for Moorea at 6 pm.

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

Evening: Optional Activity: Tonight's Performance - Le Grand Salon. Check your daily "Ia Orana" 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 get on and off small boat.

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

Morning: Free morning to relax and enjoy the ship at leisure.

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

Afternoon: Field Trip: Dolphins of French Polynesia – A boat-based Field Trip around Moorea to observe dolphins, hopefully including schools of acrobatic "Spinner Dolphins", and to learn of their remarkable lives at sea. Tender back to ship. Set sail for Opunohu Bay, Moorea. Social Hour prior to dinner.

Dinner: Polynesian Dinner - La Veranda

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

DAY
10
Overview of Moorea, Sail to Papeete
Moorea
B,L,D
MS Paul Gauguin

Activity note: Boarding busses, some walking

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

Morning: All day Field Trip: visit to Belvedere Viewpoint with beautiful vistas of the island, 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 & the Atitia Cultural Centre, where we will have a delicious lunch featuring local dishes and tour the garden and grounds..

Lunch: Polynesian lunch at Cultural Centre

Afternoon: Continuation of overview of Moorea excursion. Tender back to ship and sunset sail for Papeete, Tahiti at 5 pm.

Dinner: Le' Etoile

Evening: Arrive Papeete, Tahiti at 7:30 pm. Free Evening at pierside in Papeete Harbor or aboard ship. 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 Ship, Free Time, Wrap up Class, Depart for LAX
In Flight
B,L,D

Activity note: Boarding busses, some walking

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

Morning: Disembark ship at 10am and depart for Le Meridien Tahiti. Arrive Le Meridien hotel- check into day rooms Free Time to enjoy the property and explore, relax, swim, or snorkel before lunch.

Lunch: Restaurant La Plantation

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

Dinner: Farewell Dinner - Restaurant La Plantation

Evening: Late evening flight departure and arrive Los Angeles the following day

DAY
12
Program Concludes
Arrive Los Angeles