Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora & MV Aranui 5 Cruise


Experience the best of French Polynesia, including: the Marquesas, Society & Tuamotu Islands - 12 nights on board the Aranui 5, the ultimate passenger-freighter - Tahiti Circle Island tour - Marquesas Islands, where steep volcanic mountains plunge straight into the pounding Pacific Ocean - Moorea dolphin and whale watching expedition - Bora Bora island & lagoon touring


Dates & Prices

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.

How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?

The easiest way to make a reservation is online via our website; you can also call us at 1800 665 3998, Monday-Friday 9-5 Pacific Time.

A non-refundable $500 deposit is payable at the time of booking (some tours require a higher deposit); if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required immediately. Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require considerable preparation time.

Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and provide a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and online forms for you to complete and submit to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be provided approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.

What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?

Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing (e-mail preferred) immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% non-refundable/non-transferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, non-transferable. Name changes are not permitted. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason. All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated.

We may cancel departures if forced to do so by unforeseen circumstances such as war, civil unrest, pandemics/disease outbreaks (ie Ebola, Zika, Covid-19 etc), catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, etc -- things beyond our control that are commonly referred to as “force majeure.” In these instances we will offer 100% credits for all deposits if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date. Such credits can be applied to any future scheduled or custom tour (time limits may apply).

If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date and your full payment on the postponed tour will remain non-refundable.

Regardless of the timing of cancellation (outside or inside 60 days), we will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline policies pertaining to cancellation/change fees, any trip component/s that may be non-refundable from our suppliers, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage for the above listed circumstances and other perils.

If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you, either the same tour on a different date or another tour of your choice. If this is not acceptable, your deposit/s will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given no later than 60 days prior to trip start date.

Do you have a shared accommodation program?

Yes! Most tours have a single-share program in which we match you with another single traveller of the same gender. If we are unable to pair you, we will usually absorb the cost of a single room. On some tours a "forced single" will apply; please enquire at time of booking. You will normally be informed of this charge 60 days prior to departure; however, we reserve the right to charge this fee up to your departure and, in rare cases, once you have departed. Upgrading to single room once the tour has begun is subject to availability in each overnight point, and payment must be made immediately to our office or locally to the Tour Leader. If you want to guarantee your own room, a single supplement applies. Payment of single supplement does not, however, guarantee that you will receive a twin size, twin-bedded room.

I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?

All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location.

This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement.

The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible.

On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available.

Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.

Select a date below to reserve your spot:

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Tue 29 Mar 2022Sat 16 Apr 2022 $10270 USD Closing soon!

A mandatory single supplement will apply to this tour if you select our share program and we are unable to pair you. Due to the high cost of single accommodation in the region and on the cruise, the mandatory supplement is 100% of the regular supplement. Due to cruise deposit policies, the $3000 per person deposit becomes non-refundable/non-transferable once the tour is 'guaranteed'; final payment due at 90 days out.

Optional Single Supplement: $3600 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $3600 if you join our share program and we are unable to pair you.

Tour Overview

Come and explore French Polynesia on the trip of a lifetime! In addition to our time spent on Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea, this 19-day adventure includes 12 days on board the Aranui 5.

This ship is the crown jewel in the pursuit of the ultimate passenger-freighter, and will take us to remote communities far from civilization.

Designed and custom built with passenger comfort in mind, you will embark on a voyage of discovery following the paths of Paul Gauguin, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Thor Heyerdahl.

This upscale vessel, part passenger ship and part freighter, is the main supply line to this archipelago, providing passage in great comfort, to areas inaccessible by conventional methods.

On this journey in French Polynesia we will venture from Tahiti to the Marquesas, Tuamotu and the Society Islands.

Regions visited: South Pacific Islands
Countries visited: French Polynesia

What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?

Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 60-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.

Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?

Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.

Full Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Papeete, Tahiti
French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of the French Republic, sometimes unofficially referred to as an overseas country, is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2000 kilometres (1,200 mi) in the South Pacific Ocean. French Polynesia was one of the last places on Earth to be settled by humans. The majority of the population is of Eastern Polynesian descent, and closely related to the New Zealand Maoris (but quite distinct from the closer Western Polynesian Samoans & Tongans). Although we commonly refer to the entire group of islands as Tahiti, it’s actually only one of the many islands that make up French Polynesia.

For many travellers these islands are a mythical destination. The mention of Tahiti calls to mind visions of an idyllic island paradise and once you visit, you’ll discover that your imagination isn’t too off the mark. Secluded, tropical and lush, these islands are a place where dreams meet reality.

Tahiti is the largest island of the Îles du Vent (Windward Islands) of the Society Islands. The island consists of two ancient eroded volcanic cones, Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti connected by a narrow Isthmus. The island, with an area 403 square miles (1043 square km), accounts for almost 1/3 of the total land area of French Polynesia. Papeete, on Tahiti’s northwestern coast, is the capital and administrative centre of French Polynesia.

Overnight in Papeete.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Tahiti: Full Day Circle Island Tour
A ‘Circle Island Tour’, or a drive around Tahiti, is the best way to spend a day seeing the island's outlying sights and a bit of old Polynesia away from Papeete's bustle. The road around Tahiti Nui is 114km (72 miles) long.

We will start our day with a visit to downtown Papeete. Here we will visit the traditional market where the Tahitians sell fish, fruit and vegetables, arts & crafts. After some time to explore the market we will continue around the island. One of our stops along the coast will be at Venus Point. This was the location of successive landings of European navigators, and James Cook gave the name Venus in memory of his scientific trip to observe the planet.

Along the wild east coast we will pass several black sand beaches, and we will stop at one of the many waterfalls. It is here that the big island is joined to its peninsula.

After a break for lunch we will go for a stroll in the Spring Garden of Vaipahi, a lovely haven on the mountainside of the road at Mataiea. Here one finds over 75 different species of plants, including the giant elephant ears. One of the last stops along our island tour will be at the Arahurahu Marae, situated in a pretty valley. This is a sacred place which served both religious and social purposes in pre-Christian Polynesian societies. There is a short walk to reach this quiet sacred site, and the only marae (ancient temple or meeting place) in all of Polynesia that has been fully restored.

Overnight in Papeete.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 Tahiti to Moorea / Moorea Island Tour
This morning we travel to Moorea by ferry (less than one hour).

Upon arrival to Moorea Island in the heart of French Polynesia, you will immediately be awestruck by it's natural beauty. Its jagged peaks are cloaked in lush greenery and encircled by the deep blue of the ocean and sky. Located a mere 19 km (12 mi) west of the island of Tahiti, Moorea is a triangular shaped island encircled by a lagoon of translucent green, fringed by an azure blue sea. The physical beauty of the island makes an island tour a highlight of any visit, and this afternoon we have a circle island tour of Moorea. We will explore the natural and human sides of this French and Polynesian island; emerald green pastures with the volcanic mountains of Mouaputa and Rotui as their backdrop.

The distance around this idyllic island is approximately 38 miles, or 62 kilometers, and offers many spectacular sites and photo opportunities. We will travel past pineapple fields where we learn about the famous and most important resource of Moorea. We will visit an ancient Tahitian stone temple en route to Belvedere viewpoint. We will also take in magnificent views of Cook’s Bay, Opunohu Bay and Mt. Rotui.

Cook's Bay is a finger-like body of water virtually surrounded on three sides by the jagged peaks lining the semicircular "wall" of Moorea. The tall ‘thumb’ with a small hole in its top is Mount Tohiea. Coming into view as we drive farther along the bay is Mount Mauaroa, Moorea's trademark cathedral-like "Shark's Tooth" mountain buttressed on its right by a serrated ridge. Towering over us is the jagged Mount Rotui, the huge green-and-black rock separating Moorea's two great bays. Unlike Cook's Bay, Opunohu is virtually devoid of development, a testament to efforts by local residents to maintain the natural beauty of their island.

We will stop at the Toatea view point where we will have a magnificent view of the green lagoon flecked with brown coral heads, the white line of the surf breaking on the reef, and all of Tahiti rising magnificently from the horizon. The district of Haapiti boasts one of the prettiest churches on the island. When the first Europeans arrived, the lovely, mountain-backed village of Haapiti was home to the powerful Marama family. This region became a center of Catholic missionary work after the French took over the territory, and it is one of the few villages with a Catholic church as large as its Protestant counterpart.

Overnight in Moorea.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Dolphin & Whale Watching Expedition
This morning we will join marine biologist Dr. Michael Poole (or his assistant) for this combination eco-tour and research expedition focusing on wild, free-ranging dolphins. Dr Poole has been studying dolphins in French Polynesia since 1987.

We will depart from the pier aboard a covered boat for the scenic ride to Moorea’s reef. Spinner dolphins, the slightly larger rough-tooth dolphins and pilot whales can be seen around Moorea, with spinner dolphins regularly swimming inside the reef. Dolphins are found on 95% of the tours, but the engaging narrative and sheer magnificence of Moorea’s coastline will ensure a rewarding time. We may even have an opportunity to view the humpback whales perform their annual mating and calfing rituals. (As with all creatures in their natural environment, one cannot guarantee the presence of animals). This is an educational experience and observation tour and is not a swim opportunity with the dolphins.

Today’s lagoon discovery will allow you to enjoy from the water incredible views of the mountains of Moorea and their luxuriant vegetation.

Your afternoon will be free (dinner on your own this evening).

Overnight in Moorea.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 5 Moorea to Tahiti / MV Aranui 5 Embarkation
Early this morning we depart from Moorea and head to Papeete where we board the Aranui 5 – our home for the next 11 nights! At approximately 10:00am the Aranui 5 will depart from the Papeete dock.

Aranui 5 Details:
The MV Aranui 5 is a new (2015) custom-built, dual-purpose passenger/freighter that sails from Tahiti to the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands in French Polynesia. This all-inclusive cruise is designed to offer all of the comforts of a cruise liner (while operating as a supply ship), and the Aranui 5 represents the crowning jewel of a 30 year long pursuit of the ultimate passenger-freighter. Classified as a small vessel, the ship has only 103 cabins, with 8 different guest decks, and the interior decor reflects the Polynesian heritage of her owners and crew. There is a restaurant on board where all of the meals are served in a casual setting. As well, you will discover 2 lounges and 2 conference rooms where guests will enjoy presentations on various topics related to the Marquesas. There is also a small outdoor pool; a boutique; a massage room; a gym and a Sky Bar with panoramic views. This upscale vessel, part passenger, part freighter, is the main supply line to this archipelago, providing passage in great comfort, to areas inaccessible by conventional methods.

Our selected cabin class for this voyage is the ‘Superior Deluxe’, though some travellers will be accommodated in Deluxe Cabins or Premium Suites. All cabins are spacious with a private balcony. As the Aranui 5 is a working ship, all visits ashore are limited to the time required by port authorities and cargo operators. The time in port may range from a few hours to a day or more. Excursions are available at many ports of call, at no cost to the passengers. These ship-wide (ie not exclusive to just our group) excursions include meals, tours of villages and archaeological sites, and snorkeling. Any excursions not included in the tour cost are noted in the itinerary. Due to reef formations, lack of docking facilities, or wind and sea conditions at many ports in French Polynesia, it is frequently necessary to use a small craft or tender to transport passengers between ship and shore.

Designed and custom built with passenger comfort in mind, we will embark on a voyage of discovery following the paths of Paul Gauguin, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Thor Heyerdahl. The Polynesian staff and crew on board will welcome you to the exotic, captivating islands of French Polynesia that they call home.

PLEASE NOTE that, as is typical of 'expedition' style cruising, the following cruise itinerary can change at any time. Should we be made aware of any such changes affecting our journey, we will try to advise either pre-trip or upon arrival on tour.

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 Tuamotu Archipelago - Fakarava
This morning we arrive in Fakarava. Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for the preservation of rare species and the second largest atoll in French Polynesia, Fakarava has remained virtually untouched. Here you will have time to discover the small village of Rotoava and the coral church. Afterwards, enjoy a refreshing swim and snorkel in the translucent lagoon among the colourful ballet of tropical fish. Fakarava is known for its unique birds, plants and marine life.

(Optional excursions, such as snorkeling or diving in the various passes, are available at an additional cost).

We will return to the vessel by 12:00pm.

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7 At Sea
Today is a day to unwind and relax on one of the sun decks or in the comfort of an air-conditioned lounge. Perhaps you may want to simply enjoy the views of the endless South Pacific Ocean as we make our way to the captivating Marquesas Islands.

Talks on Marquesan culture and/or history will send you back in time and give you some insight into this ancient civilization. Your evening can be spent socializing at the bar with your fellow group members and other adventurers from around the world. The spirited Polynesian crew will proudly introduce you to their way of life and entertain you with Polynesian songs and rhythms.

Tonight, before you go to bed, set your watch 30 minutes ahead for Marquesan time!!

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8 Hiva Oa (Puamau) & Tahuata (Kokuu)
A morning drive by 4-WD takes us to Puamau where we visit the most important archaeological site for “tikis” (ancient, human-like religious stone sculptures) outside of Easter Island. Once we reach Mea’e Iipona, our knowledgeable guides will tell us the stories of these haunting statues of ancient times. Surrounded by beautifully lush grounds, the site is overwhelming and has a lot of what Polynesians call “mana” (spiritual power). Only a small part of the site has been restored and most of it is still buried under massive trees and rocks.

After lunch on board, the Aranui will set sail for Tahuata, where you can enjoy a lazy afternoon relaxing at the beach or taking a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean. Tahuata may be the smallest of the inhabited Marquesan islands, but historically it is the richest. Tahuata has experienced it all – as the first island in the archipelago to be discovered by Spanish explorers in 1595, to the arrival of missionaries in 1797, to the first French settlement in the Marquesas in 1842.

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9 Nuku Hiva (Taiohae-Hatiheu-Taipivai)
Today you should be out on deck to fully appreciate our arrival into Taiohae’s spectacular bay, a giant volcanic amphitheatre dominated by towering cliffs streaked with waterfalls. As the Aranui unloads its freight, you can explore Taiohae, the Marquesas’ small administrative center. The village of Taiohae stretches along the beach of a magnificent amphitheater created by the successive eruptions of three concentric volcanoes and dominated by towering cliffs streaked with waterfalls.

Taiohae Bay is where 23-year-old Herman Melville and his buddy jumped a whaling ship in 1842. Follow their escape route by 4-wheel drive along steep, winding dirt mountain roads to the village of Hatiheu to visit the archaeological site of Kamuihei.

Lunch will be served on the island, typical Marquesas style. Here the specialty is the “Hima’a”, where food is cooked for hours in an underground oven.

After lunch we will travel to Taipivai Valley. The area is dotted with stone tikis and sacred ritual sites (me’ae) and immense stone platforms (paepae) on which the Taipi built their houses. Enigmatic petroglyphs of birds, sacred turtles and fish are carved on huge boulders. Hikers can take a steep trail to visit the Paeke site. The Aranui’s whaleboats will pick us up from Taipivai Beach (the ship will be anchored in the bay). *Please note this is a wet boarding*.

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 10 Ua Pou (Hakahau-Hakahetau)
Today, from the decks, you’ll see the soaring mountain spires unique to Ua Pou. Legend refers to Ua Pou as the “pillars of the archipelago” and it is often called “The Cathedral Island”. These names become clear as the ship docks at Hakahau Bay surrounded by 12 basalt summits soaring as high as 3,745 feet.

While the crew unloads supplies, from cement to sugar, and loads sacks of copra (dried coconut meat) and fruit, we will explore the quaint village of Hakahau and its church featuring a hand-carved wooden dais. We can meet the island’s talented woodcarvers and artists and hike up the hill to the Cross for breathtaking views of the mountains, the lush valleys and the main village.

Today on shore we'll enjoy another delicious Marquesan lunch: we will likely be served breadfruit, a Marquesan staple, along with curried goat (one of the Marquesas Islands’ specialties), poisson cru (raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk), taro and sweet red bananas. Here we will enjoy an excellent dance performance including the Bird Dance, traditional to Ua Pou.

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 11 Hiva Oa (Atuona) & Tahuata (Vaitahu-Hapatoni)
This morning the Aranui will arrive in Hiva Oa, where you will have plenty of time to explore Atuona, the island’s principal village and the second largest village in Marquesas. This was once the capital of the archipelago, and the location where Paul Gauguin lived and created some of his best work.

We can visit the colonial store where he shopped, as well as a replica of his infamous “House of Pleasure” and the adjoining museum. As we walk up the hill to the cemetery, you’ll have sweeping views of the harbour. Beneath a huge frangipani tree is a tombstone with the simple words: Paul Gauguin 1903. Nearby is the grave of another famous European who also was seduced by Hiva Oa: Belgian singer-composer Jacques Brel, who died in 1978.

This afternoon the Aranui will anchor off the small island of Tahuata. On this leaf-shaped island, the air is thick with the fragrant scent of tiare, frangipani and history. In 1595, Spanish explorers landed in the village of Vaitahu and opened fire on a crowd of curious islanders, killing about 200. Tahuata is also the site of the first French settlement in the Marquesas in 1842. The large church built by the Vatican, is decorated with beautiful Marquesan carvings and a stunning stained glass window.

Tahuata is famous for its exquisite bone and helmet shell carvings, and there will be many to choose from in the village.

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12 Fatu Hiva (Omoa-Hanavave)
Fata Hiva is perhaps the most lush and remote island of the Marquesas! The only access is by sea, since there is no airport on Fatu Hiva. This is also the island of “tapa”, and you will discover all about this traditional cloth.

In the tranquil village of Omoa we will see women pounding mulberry, banyan or breadfruit tree bark on logs. The bark is then dried and used as a canvas where the locals will paint ancient Marquesan designs. Fatu Hiva is also well-known for its hand-painted pareos (sarongs) and monoi, coconut oil infused with “Tiare Tahiti” blossoms, vanilla or sandalwood. You may have the chance to meet some of the local skilled woodcarvers in the large handicraft center. This will be another great opportunity to purchase Marquesan art and souvenirs.

Before lunch the Aranui will sail to the other side of the island, to jaw-dropping Hanavave Bay, also known as the Bay of Virgins. Athletic passengers may choose to make the trip on foot. On this optional unforgettable ten-mile hike you will take in breathtaking views of towering cliffs and picturesque bays. For hikers, a delicious lunch will be served at the top of a mountain. (Scale of difficulty 9/10)

Witnessing the sunset in Hanavave Bay is a moment of pure bliss.

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13 Ua Huka (Vaipaee-Hane-Hokatu)
Today is the ship’s final day in the captivating Marquesas Islands! In the early morning light, the Aranui will arrive in Ua Huka. This is one arrival not-to-be-missed! The manoeuvre entering the small bay and positioning the vessel for departure is truly impressive. On the dry lands of Ua Huka we will visit the small museum of Vaiapee located in the island’s city hall gardens. The museum features exquisite replicas of Marquesan art and our guides will immerse you in this ancient civilization. This island, where the Marquesas’ first airstrip was built in 1972, is largely arid and the least inhabited.

We then head back on board our 4WD and explore the island, stopping for stunning views of the Pacific. We will visit the arboretum and botanical garden born from the passion of the island’s former mayor, before reaching the beautiful village of Hane. Lunch will be served at a local family restaurant.

On Ua Huka, where the wild horses (brought from Chile in 1856) outnumber the inhabitants, horseback riding will be available (an additional cost applies). Travelers choosing the horseback riding option will meet the rest of the group at the restaurant.

After lunch we will continue discovering the island in the fishing village of Hokatu. You may opt to hike up to one of Hane’s viewpoints escorted by the ship’s guides. Or, perhaps you will want to just relax on the beach. Back on board be sure to be out on deck for some more gorgeous views as the Aranui sails along the coast of Ua Huka. To end a brilliant day, a sumptuous buffet dinner will be served on deck for our Polynesian evening under the stars.

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 14 At Sea
Today you can unwind after an enchanting and enriching journey to the heart of Polynesia!

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 15 Tuamotu Archipelago - Rangiroa
From the decks we will watch our approach and arrival into French Polynesia’s largest atoll and the second largest in the world. You may spot playful dolphins greeting the ship as we enter Tiputa Pass, one of Rangiroa’s two channels. The endless lagoon is home to fish of every size, colour and shape.

Snorkeling is a great way to spend the morning, or scuba diving excursions are available (sign-up is required and an additional cost applies). Scuba diving in Rangiroa is rated as one of the best in the world (all levels welcome). There is also a possible glass-bottom boat trip.

The Tuamotu atolls, with their pristine environment and pure waters, offer the ideal conditions for pearl farming. This will be our opportunity to visit a working pearl farm and learn how Tahiti’s famed jewel of the sea is produced. Should you decide not to go on any tours today then you can simply enjoy Rangiroa’s white sand beach and translucent lagoon. The Aranui will then depart in the afternoon and sail towards the mythical island of Bora Bora.

Overnight on board the MV Aranui 5.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 16 Society Islands - Papeete / Disembark from Aranui 5 & Fly to Bora Bora
Today we arrive back in Papeete, Tahiti. This is the end of our journey on board the Aranui 5 so it’s time to say N?n?! (Goodbye) to the Polynesian staff and Aranui guides.

From Papeete we take a short flight to what is perhaps the best known of the Society Islands – Bora Bora. Bora Bora is best known for its world famous lagoon of opalescent blues and greens, and we will be greeted by majestic Mount Otemanu, the island’s highest peak. Located 240 km (150 mi) from Tahiti and accessible by plane or ship, Bora Bora consists of a main island, two smaller volcanic isles (Toopua and Toopuaiti) and numerous flat coral islets (also known as motus) that fashion a semi-circular wreath around half of the main island. Overlooking the main island of Bora Bora is the volcanic peak Otemanu. Measuring 718 m (2,300 feet), it is sometimes crowned with a gentle wreath of clouds.

Overnight on Bora Bora.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 17 Bora Bora Island Tour
This morning we will board “Le Truck”, a form of local transportation, and begin our drive around this island of paradise. We will pass the district of Fa’anui, small villages and fields where we will see the everyday life of the people of Bora Bora. We will pass the ancient ceremonial site Fa’anui Marae and the former location of the bunkers constructed by American GI’s during World War II.

There are only a handful of marae (traditional temple) ruins on Bora Bora, including Marae Fare-Opu, which is squeezed between the roadside and the water’s edge. Two of the slabs are clearly marked with the turtle petroglyphs seen incised in stones at numerous other sites in the Society Islands.

We will travel along the east coast of Bora Bora, sight of the famous resorts, before reaching Matira point that boasts the prettiest beach of the main island. We will make a stop at the famous Bloody Mary’s restaurant where you can sit on a palm trunk stool to sip a cold drink and soak up the tropical setting.

The remainder of your afternoon will be free.

Overnight on Bora Bora.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 18 Bora Bora: Ultimate Shark & Ray Watching / Polynesian Beach BBQ
Today we will board our lagoon cruisers for an amazing excursion across the Blue lagoon of Bora Bora. The lagoon of Bora Bora is three times larger than its land mass (80 km²), and it offers to the eyes an incomparable range of light and blue colours. We will make a complete circle island cruise, enjoying a superb view of the Bora Bora Mountains.

On our first stop near the reef, where the water is clear, we can enter the waist-deep water. Here you will have the chance to touch and even feed the rays with the assistance of our guide. Rays are one of nature's most elegant swimmers; watch as they glide in an effortless ballet in and around the swimmers. At our next stop black-tipped lagoon sharks can be spotted – a thrilling experience. Do not worry, the show can be seen from the boat or under the water, in a completely safe environment. Along with the sharks, you can snorkel with a great variety of tropical reef fish at a coral garden.

We then continue to a private “motu” (islet) for a delicious island lunch. A local BBQ lunch will be served; fish marinated in coconut milk & lime, grilled fish, meat & chicken, sweet potatoes salad, rice and/or pasta salad, bread fruit, taro root, fresh fruits, “poe” fruit cream &coconut bread. Soft drinks, juice, water & beer is included. After some time to relax on the motu we then head back to the hotel.

Overnight on Bora Bora.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 19 Bora Bora - Fly to Papeete - Departure
Today we depart Bora Bora* and return to Tahiti in order to connect with the international flights back to North America (your flight back to Tahiti is included in the cost of the tour).

* Once your onward flight departure time is known (most are late in the evening), we will be able to book your flight from Bora Bora accordingly (there are several flights a day).


Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hotel List

The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.

Hotel Manava Suite Resort

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Papeete
Country: French Polynesia

The Manava Suite Resort Tahiti offers a superior level of luxury service for both business and leisure travelers, with a
... Polynesian welcome for all our guests. Situated on the West Side of the island, Manava Suite Resort Tahiti boasts one of the largest infinity pool on the island, complete with the popular Taapuna Pool Bar, where a sunset cocktail is the highlight of the day, as the rich reds and oranges light up the ocean and spread spectacularly across the sky. Our group will be accommodated in "Lagoon Suites."
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Hotel Manava Beach Resort & Spa

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Moorea
Country: French Polynesia

The Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea is nestled on the island shore, just by the village of Maharepa in
... ideal location, near the majestic Cook’s Bay and the Golf of Moorea. This traditional and contemporary Polynesian style resort offers a restaurant, two friendly bars, an infinity edge pool, and an on-site spa. Our group will be accommodated in "Garden Pool Bungalows."
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

M/V Aranui 5

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Fakarava
Country: French Polynesia

A paradise lost and now found with the new custom- built MV Aranui 5. This upscale vessel, part passenger, part
... is the main supply line to this archipelago, providing passage in great comfort, to areas inaccessible by conventional methods. For the past 30 years, the Aranui, with its Polynesian staff and crew, has been introducing these mystical islands to the outside world. You will discover what Tahiti looked like fifty years ago, visiting all 6 of the inhabited islands in the Marquesas, as well as Fakarava and Rangiroa in the Tuamotus and Bora Bora in the Society Islands on this cruise.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Hotel Maitai Polynesia

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Bora Bora
Country: French Polynesia

The Maitai Polynesia Bora Bora is located in the heart of lush tropical gardens and close to Matira Beach, the
... public beach on Bora Bora. Let yourself be soothed by the serenity of nature in its purest form, the most beautiful sunsets, a perfect beach and a turquoise lagoon of dazzling beauty, rich in coral and tropical fish, rays, sharks and all manner of fascinating marine life. Our group will be accommodated in "Lagoon View" rooms.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Trip Information


Breakfast and dinner or lunch daily (hotels and local restaurants). All meals are included when on the Aranui 5 (12 days) - including complimentary wine at both lunch and dinner.

All (twin-share) accommodation, transport (including internal flights), sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters and all staff on the Aranui 5.

Airport transfers for land & air customers.

Please note that, in variance with our usual Terms & Conditions, your $3000 deposit will become non-transferable/non-refundable once the tour becomes 'guaranteed.' As always, we highly recommend that you have travel insurance in place as soon as possible after placing your deposit.


International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuity, some lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), and international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Optional single supplement for guaranteed single accommodation.

Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.Please note that, in variance with our usual Terms & Conditions, your $3000 deposit will become non-transferable/non-refundable once the tour becomes 'guaranteed.' As always, we highly recommend that you have travel insurance in place as soon as possible after placing your deposit.

Seasonality and Weather

Overall, you can expect warm, tropical conditions throughout. Though our intention is to avoid rainy periods, but one can expect tropical showers at any time. Unlike many other areas of the South Pacific, the islands of French Polynesia (including the Marquesas Islands) have weather patterns which are very consistent year round. There is only a two degree change in average temperatures from month to month throughout the year. While September to December has about 30% less rainfall than other months, there is only an average of 2.6 to 6.9 inches of rain per month.

As far as sea conditions, from September to May you will notice the seas are less rough than June, July and August.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Land transport is provided by private a/c coaches, the size of which will vary according to ultimate group size and location. Larger touring buses will be used in some locations, and smaller vehicles of 18-25 seats may be used at other locations.

Some excursions from the Aranui 5 will involve a "wet" landing on shore where the back of the boat opens up and drops a ramp down a few feet from shore. You will be advised in advance and have the option to either remove your shoes or wear "watershoes" based on your preference for wet landings.

We rate this tour a "level 2", though our activities are leisurely and not tremendously difficult. That said, the real consideration is the heat and humidity, which can sap your strength and cause fatigue. We also visit very remote locations with limited medical facilities.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

How might Covid-19 impact this tour and your booking? To review our safety protocols, passenger responsibilites, frequently asked questions, and terms governing your reservation, click here.

Review our full booking terms here.


Mid/Upper range (3* & 4*) accommodation on the islands. Hotel rooms are well-equipped and will likely include hairdryers, minibar fridge, tea-coffee service, complimentary toiletries and TV. All are air-conditioned. Some hotels provide complimentary purified drinking water or bottles of water. Some bathrooms have shower only. All hotels have swimming pools and/or beach access. We regret that we are not able to offer upgrades for any of our hotel accommodation.

A mandatory single supplement will apply to this tour if you select our share program and we are unable to pair you. Due to the high cost of single accommodation in the region and on the cruise, the mandatory supplement is 100% of the regular supplement.

Aranui 5: Our selected cabin class for this voyage is the ‘Superior Deluxe’, though some travellers can be accommodated in Deluxe Cabins or Premium Suites. All cabins are spacious with a private balcony. All cabins will include: a desk, wardrobe, flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator and a hair dryer.

Maximum 4 single supplements due to limited cabin availability on the Aranui 5.

Click on the "Map & Hotels" for more information.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout; local guides, on-board lecturers (Aranui 5), drivers. Both dates will be led by senior Tour Leader, Martin Charlton.

Group Size

Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader





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