French Polynesia

French Polynesia

 

Explore Beautiful Polynesia - A Still Undiscovered Paradise

Mana, the spiritual life force bestowed by the gods upon all of Polynesia. It cannot be seen, heard or touched. It can only be felt, enveloping and emanating from all of nature and man, by those who are willing to embrace it. No matter how often one visits Tahiti and her islands, there is always something new, different and unexpected to be discovered. With 118 islands making up five distinctive archipelagos spread across nearly one million square miles of ocean, once is never enough to fully grasp the richness and diversity of Polynesia and her people, from their culture, customs and artistry to geographically unique languages and topographies. One common thread that remains true to them all is their warmth and hospitality, drawing visitors into a sense of belonging.

Ua Pou - The Pillars. Legend refers to Ua Pou as the “pillars of the archipelago” and it is often called “The Cathedral Island”. These names become clear as your ship docks at Hakahau Bay surrounded by 12 basalt summits soaring as high as 3,745 feet. Every island has its own special ambience and Ua Pou’s is one of mystery and magic. Hike up the hill to the Cross for breathtaking views of the valleys and village below. The artisans’ center is an easy walk and the offerings include works featuring the unique flower stone and a variety of carvings and children’s apparel.

Hiva Oa - The Ridge. Atuona, this island’s principal village and the second largest in the Marquesas, was once the capital of this archipelago. Adjacent to the town, a tohua, a huge set of ceremonial platforms, has been perfectly restored, showing the places where chieftains and priests sat, and a narrow ditch which held prisoners for sacrifices. Search important local archeological site for tikis, ancient, human-like religious sculptures, at Mea’e Iipona. Experienced guides will show you through these mysterious ruins and share stories of these haunting statues and an ancient civilization. In Atuona, sweeping views of the harbor highlight a walk up the hill to the cemetery where Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel are buried. Explore the Gauguin Museum, a replica of his “House of Pleasure”, and the Brel Museum, which showcases his plane JoJo, which was often used for medical emergencies.

Nuku Hiva - The Beams & Rafters. This island is the administrative center of the Marquesas. 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. All of the government services and residence, hospital, bank and schools are close by. A lovely handicraft center is located on the beach road. Visit the Cathedral Notre Dame, famed for its stonework and wood sculptures. In Hatiheu, you can visit the archaeological site known as Tohua Kamuihei, where public festivities once took place; the paepae, immense stone platforms on which houses were built; and huge boulders carved with enigmatic petroglyphs. Under a giant banyan tree, enjoy a performance of traditional songs and dances, including the “Pig Dance”, original to Nuku Hiva. 

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. From its stunning lagoon and glistening white sand beaches to its rich ecosystem, it is home to unique birds, plants and marine life. Discover the small village of Rotoava, the church, built of coral and the local arts and crafts.

Rangiroa. The largest atoll in French Polynesia, Rangiroa or “huge sky” is the most visited of the Tuamotu. The endless lagoon attracts divers to snorkel, scuba or shoot the pass surrounded by fish of every size, color and shape. Rangiroa is famous for its majestic Manta rays. It is also home to stunning pearls in all shades and the local artisans are known for their fine shell jewelry. 

Bora Bora. Best known of the Society Islands, Bora Bora showcases a stunning lagoon in myriad shades of blues and greens and the striking Mt. Otemanu, which inspired James Michener and everyone who visits the island. Surrounded by motus (small islets), the ring of white beaches fringed by coconut trees is enchanting. 

Pitcairn. Home to just 50 people, Pitcairn is one of the most isolated islands in the world. During your visit, you can immerse yourself in the living history and culture of the island, walking in the footsteps of the Bounty settlers from the landing at Bounty Bay to Adamstown; meeting the descendants of the mutineers at the curio market; visiting the grave of the last surviving mutineer John Adams; learning about an earlier Polynesian civilisation and viewing artefacts from the Bounty at the Museum. 

The Cook Islands. Once part of the British Empire, and now a self-governing country in free association with New Zealand, the Cook Islands have maintained their Polynesian identity. From the various island dialects, all originating from the old Maori (Maohi in Tahitian) language, to the arts and crafts, dancing and performing arts, the traditional culture and customs have remained strong. Less affected by development and tourism unlike some of its neighbors in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands have been described as Hawaii over 60 years ago. This idyllic group of 15 islands, divided between the Northern and Southern Cook Islands, was named in honor of Captain James Cook, who visited in the late 18th Century.

If you’re after a small ship cruise or an expedition ship cruise to Polynesia Wild Earth Travel can help you find a trip of a lifetime. We are ready to guide you through our range of different options with impartial advice so you can experience the very best of this unique destination. Our team are all passionate expedition & small cruise ship travellers and our knowledge and stories come from our own personal experiences.

 

Our Associates Include

Adventure Canada
Heritage Expeditions New Zealand
Lindblad Expeditions
Noble Caledonia
UnCruise Adventures
Variety Cruises