To speak of Polynesia is to evoke images of exoticism, of heavenly bits of land scattered in the oceanic vastness of the other end of the Earth… Fragrances of vanilla, hibiscus come to mind; visions of green mountains and unreal blue lagoons jostle… But who really knows Polynesia? This original tour allows you to discover the essential of Tahiti, a mandatory gateway, as well as some of the other Islands of the Society so rich in diversified attractions. Then you are transported some 1500 km away, to the archipelago of the Marquesas, where the memory of a Paul Gauguin, a Jacques Brel… A great and very varied tour, whose highlights are; encounters and discoveries, remnants of a distant past and ambiences of current life, nature and culture, forests and beaches, mountains and lagoons, relaxation and action.
Europe – International flight
Take off for a very long flight that will take you over the Atlantic Ocean, North America and then much of the Pacific.
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT – POPEETE (Tahiti)
It finally reconnects with the mainland by landing in Papeete, capital of Tahiti Island at the beginning of the day: you are welcomed in the local style, with coloured flower necklaces radiating fresh scents. This day will be entirely devoted to resting after your very long trip, and allowing you to adapt to the significant time difference. But you will probably not be able to resist the desire to stroll around the city to soak up its special atmosphere. At the market, you will discover the stalls full of fruit, vegetables, fish and spices, or presenting collections of pareos, ranges of natural cosmetic products made in the islands, and many other treasures still… In the evening, Don’t miss to visit Place Vaiete and its many “itinerant restaurants”, a kind of caravan offering simple and fast food (grills, Chinese dishes, pizzas, pancakes…), and where you will enjoy observing the local life that comes alive in this privileged meeting place of the Polynesians.
TAHITI – NUKU HIVA
A new flight takes you to the Marquesas Archipelago, where you land on the island of Nuku Hiva and the second largest island in Polynesia after Tahiti. The road transfer to your accommodation is quite long (about two hours!), but allows you to enjoy the wonderful landscapes of the Tapueahu Valley (nicknamed the”Grand Canyon Marquisien”) and the Toovi plateau. Nuku Hiva boasts not only breathtaking natural landscapes, but also a profusion of archaeological sites, many ancient places of worship (mea’e) and thousands of petroglyphs.
Your first day in the Marquesas gives you the opportunity to participate in a one-day catamaran cruise that takes you to the famous Controller’s Bay: archaeological remains, a stroll in the lush valleys, swimming, lunch on board. You make a first stop in Hakapaaa Bay for a walk along a lush valley that leads you to a hidden waterfall, where you can enjoy a good swim. In Hooumi Bay, you can admire the manta rays. You make the way back to Taiohae by turning around Tikapo’s rock.
NUKU HIVA – HIVA OA
Transfer to the airport to fly to another great lady of the Marquesas: Hiva Oa. Upon arrival at Hiva Oa Airport, you are transferred to your hotel. It is impossible to talk about Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands, without mentioning Paul Gauguin and more recently Jacques Brel. These two mythical figures have finished their days and are buried in Hiva Oa. Called the”Garden of the Marquesas”, Hiva Oa is the second island of the archipelago. Its tortured relief blends sharp ridges, peaks and valleys with lush vegetation. Hiva Oa is the most fertile of the Marquesas Islands; large forests and pastures compete for an area dotted with archaeological sites where, among other things, the largest tikis in Polynesia can be found. With no lagoon, Hiva Oa is bordered by black sandy beaches and cliffs that plunge into the waters of the Pacific.
HIVA OA OA
During your two-day stay on this enchanting little island, you can visit the village of Atuona, where a “Cultural Space” entirely dedicated to Paul Gauguin has been created, as well as a “Jacques Brel Space” housing the famous singer’s small plane. You can go to the Calvary cemetery, where these two extraordinary characters lie next to each other…
HIVA OA – TAHITI
After a short flight, you are back on Tahiti, the main island of Polynesia…
Tahiti, “the Isle of Love”, was born from two volcanoes set on a sea of emerald. It is divided into two parts: Tahiti Nui, the large one, and Tahiti Iti, the small one. Steep mountains nestled in clouds and deep valleys, lush ferns, rivers with invigorating waters and black sandy beaches are just some of the beauties this island has to offer. It is the largest of all the islands of Polynesia.
TAHITI – HUAHINE
A short “flea jump” in a small plane allows you to get a foothold on the small island of Huahine. Huahine, green, lush, wild and secluded; it is a true Garden of Eden that rests on a bed of coral. For botany enthusiasts, a visit to one of the island’s magnificent gardens, such as the Ariiura Garden Paradise, a garden of medicinal plants, is a must.
Free days to soak up the aura of this mysterious island; Huahine is home to the most extensive archaeological remains in Polynesia, such as the Maeva site and the Orohaehae temple. Huahine’s past is mysterious. It is said that the god Hiro cut the island in half with a gesture of fury creating the bays of Bourayne and Maroe. Huahine is a true haven of peace preserved; the island is the starting point, every year in October, for the largest pirogue race in the South Pacific, the Hawaiki Nui Va’a.
HUAHINE – RAIATEA
In the morning, a short flight takes you to the island of Raiatea. A cultural island par excellence, Raiatea is known for its rich history. It is from this island that the double canoes would have left to conquer the Cook Islands, New Zealand and Hawaii.
In Raiatea, you can visit many “marae”, ancient sacred places of worship, including the largest and most sacred of all Polynesian marae: the Taputapuatea marae. You can also discover a unique flower, the apetahi tiara, a small white gardenia that grows only on Temehanihani, one of the two mountains of Raiatea. The island is also the main nautical base of French Polynesia. You will discover all the treasures of “l’île vanille” during a very complete excursion. You start with a 4×4 excursion through the trails leading to a magnificent view of the island and the Tahaa lagoon. Visit a pearl farm, a vanilla plantation… so many instructive stops before leaving for the lagoon for an observation of black tip sharks and stingrays, before joining a “motu” (islet) for a delicious lunch with local flavours. The day continues with a snorkel (fins mask and snorkel) in one of Polynesia’s most beautiful coral gardens
RAIATEA – TAHAAA
You sail to the neighbouring island: Taha’a,”Vanilla Island”, where you discover a landscape worthy of postcards with majestic mountains with green slopes overlooking a beautiful lagoon.
During your stay, you can go and taste Taha’a vanilla (which is considered to be the best in the entire Tahiti archipelago…), or take part in various hiking routes, the most sporty of which allows you to reach the highest point of the island, Mount Ohiri, the remains of an ancient volcano rising to an altitude of some 590 m.
TAHAAA – RAIATEA – PAPEETE – TIKEHAU
You fly via Papeete to the last archipelago of your trip: the Tuamotus. Arrival in Tikehau, a graceful crown of pink sand beaches, which embodies the postcard landscape par excellence. On arrival, you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel.
In Tikehau, considered one of the most beautiful atolls in Polynesia, the subtlety of the fragrances is matched only by the abundance of marine life in its bright blue waters. In this world of transparency live millions of fish: a universe teeming with colourful life, which the team of the famous Commander Cousteau did not hesitate to call “the fishiest atoll of the Tuamotu archipelago”. You will discover the underwater beauties of Tikehau during a three hour snorkel (fins, mask and snorkel) with an instructor-guide: you will dive on two different sites in the lagoon, the”manta ray cleaning station” and a coral garden. You will observe the wonderful world of the balistes, damsels, sergeants major and other reef fish.
TIKEHAU – TAHITI – INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
The time is now – already! – After leaving the enchanting world of Polynesia, the exotic landscapes of the Marquesas… After a flight to Tahiti, you spend one last evening on the other side of the world, in Papeete. The next day, you start the long air journey back to Europe.