adventures in the south seas

Learn about the Polynesian culture and history from the experts...

  • Immerse yourself in Polynesian Culture
  • Learn about the natural history of these islands
  • Spend time with local cultural experts and scientists

We think that if you come to a place as fascinating as Tahiti and her Islands that you are definitely going to want to learn something about it. So we have designed this program as a well-rounded and entertaining introduction to the natural and culture world of French Polynesia. The program is lead by expert guides and will proceed at a leisurely pace, provide a high content level, and foster opportunities to meet and mingle with local experts (and characters). This Primer can be slotted in at the beginning of any trip to these islands, and is a great pre-cruise program to prepare the interested traveler for adventures to come in the week ahead onboard the M/S Paul Gauguin. As with all of our A La Carte programs it can easily be tailored to your needs and interests.

Suggested Itinerary

Arrival will be in the evening and you will be met at the airport by your guide and taken to your hotel for the night. A welcome drink will await you and a brief discussion of adventures to come.


This day will be spent exploring the island of Tahiti. We will begin with a visit to the Musee des Isles for a look at their displays on the natural and cultural world of French Polynesia. After this we will visit the Marae Arahurahu, the largest reconstructed temple site on Tahiti. We will head back to the hotel for lunch and then after lunch we will take a ride out to Point Venus. It was here that Tahitians had their first contact with Europeans, and subsequent explorers like Cook, and Darwin came ashore. After exploring this beautiful spot we will go to the harbor for a trip across the Sea of the Moon to Moorea. We will transfer to our hotel for the night in time for a swim or a drink (or both) before dinner. This evening we will have a slide show and discussion of the natural history of these islands. BL


Today will be spent exploring the lagoon, the coral reef, and reef islands of Moorea. Along the way there will be discussions of coral reef ecology and geology. In the morning while the wind is still calm we will set out to look for spinner dolphins that are often found in the lagoon and near-shore waters (humpback whales are here as well late-July to early November). After this we will stop to snorkel in the lagoon in a spot where it is easy to observe fish, rays, and reef sharks. By mid-day we will find our way to a reef island (motu) where we will stop for a picnic. While here we will talk about how these beautiful little islands form and take some time to look at vegetation and birds as well as get some more snorkeling in. Then it is back to the hotel in time for happy hour. This evening there will be a slide show and discussion of the culture and history of the Polynesian people. BL


This morning we will explore the Opunohu Valley archaeological sites and spend some time discussing traditional and modern land use. This valley is also home to an agricultural school and we can visit their farm to look at local crops and flowers. By mid-day we will head to the UC Berkeley Gump Research Station and Atitia Center. Here we will be treated to a lunch of local Tahitian specialties and presentation of the cultural programs at the Atitia Center, and the academic programs at the Gump Station. This will be a leisurely afternoon with lots of time to interact with community members involved with the cultural and biological conservation programs of this center – to ask questions, hear stories, share a few laughs, and maybe a few songs. BL

Please contact us for pricing and for more information on this excursion.

Polynesian scrapbook

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