Tahiti to Easter Island: Marquesas, Tuamotus & Pitcairns
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Depart USA / Papeete, TahitiOctober 10
Board your independent flight to Papeete. Arrive in the late evening and transfer to our hotel.
Papeete / Island SkyOctober 11
Relax during a morning at leisure, then join a tour of Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia’s largest island. Pass by orchards of papaya as you drive along the stunning coast. Visit the renowned Museum of Tahiti, which traces the islands’ history. Embark the Island Sky this afternoon.
Apataki, Tuamotu IslandsOctober 12
Though remote and sparsely populated, the far-flung Tuamotus comprise the world’s largest atoll chain. These venerable coral constructions rise just high enough above the water to be called land, and if it weren’t for their waving coconut palms, they might be entirely invisible from any distance.
With few visitors, and little industry, the dazzling lagoon of Apataki offers a pristine underwater landscape for snorkelers and divers to explore.
At SeaOctober 13
Attend informative lectures today as the Island Sky cruises towards the legendary Marquesas Islands.
Marquesas IslandsOctober 14 — October 16
Considered one of the most beautiful island groups in the South Pacific, the Marquesas lie farther from a continental coast than any other islands in the world. Unlike other Polynesian islands, the Marquesas have no surrounding reefs or placid lagoons. Their wide, deep bays are havens for vessels such as ours.
Spend three days exploring this dazzling collection of islands whose breathtaking vertical peaks reach into the clouds, while carpets of lush tropical vegetation drape cliffs and canyons that descend to sea-sculpted bays. Countless sooty, fairy, and bridled terns circle tiny, rocky pinnacle islets. Zodiacs bring you ashore on a variety of islands, to be greeted by dancers and drummers adorned in leis and tapa cloth. On walks you may see petroglyphs or tiki figures—representing deified ancestors—flanked by banyan trees, fragrant plumeria, blooming orchids, and silvery waterfalls. Open-air craft markets display baskets, shell jewelry, and wooden carvings. Birders search for the endemic Nuku Hiva pigeon and Marquesan swiftlet. Though the islands lack fringing reefs, snorkelers and divers will discover colorful fish against a backdrop of sheer walls and dramatic arches.
Puka Puka, Tuamotu IslandsOctober 17
Delightful music and dancing welcomes you to this idyllic island—the first land sighted in the Pacific by Europeans. Visit the small village whose residents raise taro, bananas, and coconut palms for copra (dried coconut). Birders search for Pacific reef-heron while snorkelers and divers explore the fringing reef.
Puka RuaOctober 18
Coconut palms and breadfruit trees cover the beautiful islets that surround Puka Rua’s lagoon. Garland-bedecked dancers greet you in the tiny village whose 150 hospitable inhabitantsearn a living selling copra. Witness the process of coconut drying, visit a local crafts market, or stroll along the lagoon’s shores watching crested terns circling overhead.
Expedition StopOctober 19
Today, conditions permitting, explore one of the many uninhabited Tuamotu Islands and enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or diving.
At SeaOctober 20
Spend a day at sea as the ship continues towards the remote Pitcairn Islands. Join naturalists on deck to search for a variety of seabirds and marine mammals.
Pitcairn, Pitcairn IslandsOctober 21
Remote, enchanting, and tiny at six miles around, volcano-crowned Pitcairn was the fabled hideout of the HMS Bounty mutineers in 1790. Step ashore and visit with the 50 hospitable inhabitants of Adamstown, who are the direct descendants of the nine mutineers and 18 Polynesians. The anchor of the Bounty rests beside the courthouse and the ship’s Bible resides in the church.
Sheer limestone cliffs surround this elevated coralline island, a World Heritage Site, pockmarked by caves and blowholes. Henderson’s astounding natural selection has produced ten endemic flowering plants and four endemic species of land birds, including the Henderson Island crake and Stephen’s lorikeet. There will also be an opportunity to snorkel or dive in the marinelife-rich waters.
This small, uninhabited, and rarely-visited atoll is rimmed in white sand beaches that in turn surround a crystalline lagoon. As you walk along the shore, witness a vast variety of seabirds—tens of thousands nest here, including Murphy’s and Phoenix petrels, masked boobies, frigatebirds, and red-tailed tropicbirds. Underwater forays bring you face-to-face with legions of rainbow-hued fish in the warm, clear waters.
At SeaOctober 24 — October 25
Relax on deck and enjoy the ongoing lecture series as you cruise toward Easter Island, a World Heritage Site and one of the most mysterious places on earth.
Easter Island, ChileOctober 26 — October 27
Spend two full days exploring Easter Island. View the intriguing stone heads, moai, built on massive stone platforms at Tahai, along with nearly 400 monolithic statues in various states of completion at the spectacular volcanic tuff quarries. Visit the ceremonial center of Ahu Vinapu where the island’s only female moai was found. At Ahu Tongariki visit the largest ceremonial site in Polynesia—a five-year archaeological restoration project was completed in 1996. Drive to the Rano Kau volcano to view the giant caldera, home to a sprawling lake dotted with small floating reed islets, and the ceremonial village of Orongo, dedicated to the fascinating “birdman” cult.
Easter Island / Disembark / Santiago / USAOctober 28 — October 29
After breakfast disembark the Island Sky and enjoy a short tour before heading to the airport for your afternoon flight to Santiago; arrive in the USA October 29.