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Epic Polynesia: Cook Islands to Fiji

Reverse Itinerary
(16 Days)

Days 1, 2, & 3 — U.S./Nadi, Fiji

Cross the international date line and arrive in Nadi, Fiji. Tour western Viti Levu Island, before embarking National Geographic Orion in Lautoka. (Day 3)

Days 4 & 5 — Exploring Fiji

Our first stop is Taveuni, Fiji’s third largest island, known as “The Garden Island” for its rich vegetation, which includes several species found nowhere else in the world. Enjoy a warm Fijian welcome at the village of Waitabu, and snorkel in one of the Pacific’s most successful community marine parks. Explore the waterfalls of nearby Bouma National Heritage Park, and dive nearby reefs.

Days 6, 7, & 8 — At Sea / Exploring Wallis And Futuna

Another of France’s South Pacific territories, the tiny island group of Wallis and Futuna lies between Samoa and Fiji. Be on deck just after sunrise, as National Geographic Orion navigates the channel into the lagoon at Wallis Island, where we’ll anchor for the day. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Mata-Utu, a stunning edifice built of blue volcanic stone chiseled and trimmed by hand, or the Church of St. Joseph, with its colorfully decorated interior. Later, snorkel, kayak, or paddleboard from one of the tiny islets offshore.

Days 9 & 10 — Samoa

With its spectacular beaches and aqua lagoons, hidden waterfalls and lava-sculpted landscapes, Samoa captures the essence of the South Pacific. Hike through rain forests vibrant with flowers and birds, take a dip in a swimming hole, go snorkeling or diving on the reef, and soak up the languid rhythms of island life that drew Robert Louis Stevenson to these shores.

Days 11, 12, & 13 — At Sea/Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Enjoy life aboard National Geographic Orion as we spend one day sailing west toward Samoa. Renowned for its spectacular inner lagoon ringed with white sand, Aitutaki has been described as the perfect South Pacific island. In 1789, Captain William Bligh sailed here just before the mutiny aboard the ill-fated H.M.S. Bounty. Board Zodiacs to enter the lagoon via the pass on the western side of this volcanic atoll. Once ashore, step over sacred welcome stones to be greeted with a traditional Polynesian welcome of drumming and dancing. Explore the aquamarine waters of the lagoon and its surrounding reef and walk along palm-fringed white beaches. Meet the island’s friendly residents and experience traditional Polynesian food, culture, and hospitality on a visit to a village in the interior.

Days 14, 15, & 16 — At Sea/Tahaa/Raiatea

Acclimate to Polynesia’s slower pace with a day on Tahaa, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding the lagoon and stroll the tiny island’s beaches. On adjacent Raiatea, visit Marae Taputapuatea, an important ceremonial site that served as the starting point for Polynesian seafarers heading for Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Hawaii, and New Zealand. Spend the morning exploring this site, then jump in the warm seas for a swim.

Days 17 & 18 — Papeete/U.S.

Disembark in Papeete this morning and tour Tahiti before your overnight flight home.