Marquesas, Tuamotus, and Society Islands

A South Seas Idyll aboard the Paul Gauguin


Natural beauty is on display everywhere you look on this two-week voyage through the Marquesas, Tuamotus, and the Society Islands, a dreamy realm of majestic mountains, blue lagoons, and vibrant cultures. During your journey, explore captivating Fakarava, an atoll known for its pristine beaches and exceptional snorkeling, and the utterly remote Marquesas Islands, home to ancient cultural traditions. Your adventure circles back by way of the Society Islands, including Bora Bora, legendary for its immense turquoise lagoon and barrier reef, and spectacular Moorea, with its jagged mountains.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.


Papeete, Tahiti / Embark Paul Gauguin

Begin your journey through paradise in the capital of Tahiti, the largest and most populated of the French Polynesian islands, as you embark on the Paul Gauguin.

Day 2
At Sea

Spend the day enjoying the m/s Paul Gauguin's Polynesian ambiance: casual, leisurely, and graceful. Perhaps take in a lecture on local wildlife or history, then dine in the evening over classic French cuisine at L'Etoile, one of the ship's two elegant restaurants.

Day 3
Fakarava, Tuamotus

Explore the clear waters of Fakarava, a sanctuary for rare birds, plants and crustaceans in the remote and pristine Tuamotus. You can stroll the pink-sand beaches and perhaps visit the island's black pearl farm or the ruins of the first church in French Polynesia built entirely of coral.

Day 4
At Sea

Take another day to enjoy shipboard life: relax poolside, watch the South Pacific slip by, play some table tennis, or take advantage of the ship's Reading Library.

Day 5
Omoa, Fatu Hiva

The southernmost island in the Marquesas, Fatu Hiva is wild and spectacularly beautiful. The jungle greenery begins at the water's edge, with narrow ravines, deep gorges, and luxuriant valleys briefly open to view as the boat glides past, close to the sheer cliffs that plunge straight down into the splashing surf.

Day 6
Atuona, Hiva Oa

Above the steady rumble of the Pacific surge, the sharply sculpted mountains of Hiva Oa hide their summits in the mists of rain-filled clouds. The largest and most fertile island in the southern group of the Marquesas, Hiva Oa has deep valleys, lush plateaus, and thickly wooded forests. The main town of Atuona is a favorite port of call for yachters, who dock within Traitors Bay. And, Paul Gauguin himself called the town home and is buried on the island.Your explorations today may include the archaeological ruins of the Tiu, ancestors of most of the Hivaoan tribes.

Day 7
Hapatoni, Tahuata

The smallest of the Marquesas archipelago, at only 19 square miles, Tahuata is a leaf-shaped volcanic island with sheer cliffs, white-sand beaches, lush vegetation, twin bays—and a turbulent colonial history. Call at Hapatoni, a charming, seafront village with an ancient paved royal walkway shaded by tamanu trees, visit the huge Catholic church, built by the Vatican and decorated with stunning stained-glass windows and beautiful local carvings, admire traditional carvings at the crafts center, and enjoy fine swimming and snorkeling in the only Marquesas island edged by coral reef.

Day 8
Tiaohae, Nuku Hiva

A charming seafront village, Taiohae is the administrative, economic, educational, and health center of the Marquesas Islands and the gateway to the island of Nuku Hiva’s natural beauty. You'll be enchanted by lush valleys, impossibly blue bays, sky-high waterfalls, and ancient ruins—it’s no wonder Nuku Hiva is called “Mystic Island.”

Days 9-10
At Sea

You'll be at sea for the next two days, with time to relax and enjoy the amenities of the ship. You may elect to visit the award-winning spa, or listen to a lecture by onboard experts.

Day 11

Known as the “Garden Island” for its untamed, verdant forests, Huahine remains relatively untouched by modern development. Explore some of its abundant archaeological treasures—ancient homes, buildings, and marae (stone platforms that served as places of worship)—excavated and preserved throughout the island, or dive in Huahine's crystalline lagoon, which teems with over 450 species of fish.

Day 12
Bora Bora

Bora Bora's lagoon is a must-see—your chance for a swim, snorkel, or outrigger cruise. The lagoon is constantly replenished with ocean water from the swells that crash between sandy motus (small islets) and over the fringing reef.

Day 13
Taha'a (Motu Mahana)

Arrive at our South Seas paradise featuring white-sand beaches with swaying palms, crystal-clear waters, and gentle breezes. Spend a full day exploring this idyllic, isolated island, and relax with a delicious barbecue lunch and Polynesian entertainment featuring strolling musicians.

Day 14
Moorea / Papeete, Tahit

Moorea's scenery is like a dream. You can try your hand at some exciting optional watersports like scuba diving among a host of interesting sea creatures, including sea turtles, a staggering number of fish species such as barracuda, tuna, jackfish, red snapper, moray eels, trigger fish, rays, and more. At the end of the afternoon, cruise to the home port in Papeete, docking there for the night.

Day 15

Disembark in Papeete and fly home.

Post-Cruise Extension

Extend your journey to enjoy the delights of Bora Bora, Moorea, Taha'a, or Tahiti. Call us for details and prices.



View manta rays gliding effortlessly through the underwater world when you take a diving excursion during your cruise—it’s the best time of year to see them
Explore Fakarava, a nature lover’s paradise, with its rare birds, plants, and crustaceans, many of which are easily spotted during a stroll on the island’s pink-sand beaches
Step back in history on the island of Hiva Oa, the burial place of artist Paul Gauguin, as well as home of the largest stone sculptures in the Marquesas, considered to be linked to the famous tikis of Easter Island
Spend a relaxing day on Motu Mahana, a private islet, complete with white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, a barbecue lunch, drinks served in coconuts, and a floating lagoon bar
In Bora Bora, spend time at an exclusive white-sand beach on a motu enjoying snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, volleyball, and stunning views of Mount Otemanu


Length: 15 days
Cost From: $8660  
Arrive: Papeete, Tahiti
Depart: Papeete, Tahiti
Lodging: 14 nights aboard a deluxe 332-passenger vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore
Activity: Small Ship Cruising, Wildlife and Natural History, Cultural Adventures, Snorkeling
Trip Level:

15-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, snorkeling