Exotic Islands of the Pacific: French Polynesia and Easter Island Itinerary

A 16 day trip to Chile & Tahiti 
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This vacation in paradise comes with lavish myths and fascinating legends to be found in the clear turquoise waters, verdant tropical rainforest, and surreal volcanic statues throughout French Polynesia and Easter Island. Indulge with your luxurious overwater bungalows, drift with the current above the sparkling coral gardens and swim with the curious manta rays and dramatic sharks in a shallow lagoon. Watch the sunrise over the mysterious moai statues and then discover ancient petroglyphs that offer clues to historical civilizations. The serene surroundings of these idyllic isles will give way to fabulous discoveries on Tahaa, Bora Bora, and Easter Island.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Tahaa, Bora Bora, Easter Island 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1-2: Tahaa - Arrive in French Polynesia for a Relaxing Day on Tahaa Island

Secluded Tahaa offers a tranquil paradise with a view of French Polynesia’s second largest island, Raiatea. Hills rise against the turquoise and indigo blue of the lagoon as towering coconut palms shade the white sandy beaches. The scent of vanilla emanates from the plantations that grow on the island’s tropical inland. As your flight lands at Raiatea Airport, your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival and escort you by boat over the South Pacific to reach the shores of Tahaa. Your resort spreads across the shallow lagoon with iconic overwater bungalows as the sea breeze rustles the stray thistles on the thatched roofs.

You private plunge pool has views to the towering silhouette of Mount Tefatua as the summit reaches more than 3,300 feet above sea level. A glass floor panel looks down into the lagoon where schools of angelfish pass through the crystal clear water. Local farmers tend to the land nearby to cultivate the vanilla and the watermelons that grow beneath the jungle canopy. At dinner, you will make your way to the restaurant following the rhythmic sounds of a heavy drumbeat heard on the way. The scent of coconut and lime accentuates the tropical ambiance as dancers swarm the dining room and make their way to the dance floor. The rhythm speeds up until at the heart of the room spinning fire in the night’s dim glow as you look forward to your days ahead, and there are many ideas on how to spend your time!

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, dinner

Day 3: Tahaa – Explore the Coral Gardens of Tahaa on a Full Day Snorkel Tour

In the morning, you can lay leisurely and listen as the lagoon’s current splashes gently against the wooden posts of your overwater bungalow. The gentle strum of a ukulele accompanies the rhythmic lull of the water’s ebb and flow as a canoe decorated with bright hibiscus, and frangipani drifts closer to your suite. The scent of banana pancakes accompanies the aroma of sweet guava and luscious coconut. The breeze carries the fragrant vanilla from the island interior, and you will delight in the beautiful display of Tahaa’s exotic fruits and culinary traditions. The gentle, encouraging strum of the ukulele fades as the canoe floats away, leaving you to enjoy the delicious flavors of breakfast on your private deck.

After your meal, you will meet your guide on a boat bound to explore the coral gardens that fringe Tahaa and the nearby islets. The current will allow you to drive over the blossoming coral to view the beautiful fish and colors that edge the white sand beaches. You can submerge into the warm, refreshing water, and the salt will help you to keep afloat as you peer beneath the surface to find an underwater world shimmering for your enjoyment. Sunlight will pierce the surface of the lagoon and bring crystal clear views nearly 20 feet ahead. Bannerfish swim in large schools with dorsal fins resembling streamers as sea anemones glow with yellow and slightly purple tendrils waving in the current. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4-5: Tahaa – Relish a Half-Day Excursion across Tahaa and Enjoy a Dance Class

The scent of vanilla is strongest in the morning as the sunlight washes over the indigo and turquoise hues of the water, returning the elegant shimmer to the lagoon and the kaleidoscope of colors beneath the sea. After breakfast, you will step onto the white sands of the main shores of Tahaa to meet your overland guide. The 4x4 jeep has an open back to allow the sea breeze to brush over your skin as you travel through the lush vegetation. The unpaved roads add an adventurous ambiance amongst the blossoming hibiscus and frangipani. You will stop first at the source of the vanilla scent that sweeps across the island with a visit to a vanilla plantation.

The natural growing method encourages the sweet perfume and a reinforced flavor. The gardens blossom around the central open-air thatched-roof hut with orchids and Tahitian gardenias that decorate the landscape with an array of vanilla products on display inside the hut. You will nibble on freshly opened coconut and sip juice squeezed from guava as before setting out into the field. Acacia trees offer shade to the walkways and the leafy vanilla plant. Each plant can produce nearly seven pounds of vanilla pods a year in the wild. In the dry room, you find a variety of vanilla beans washed of their color and slowly drying on metal sheets. The rich aroma entices you at the heart of the plantation, which embodies the difference between regular vanilla and the exotic, tropical beans, giving credence to Tahaa’s nickname, “Vanilla Island.”

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6-7: Bora Bora – Transfer to Bora Bora for a Private Lagoon Safari

The aroma of the lagoon drifts through the open windows of your overwater bungalow in the morning, and the scent blends with the luscious coconut fragrance and vanilla scent that seem to rise from the shores. After an early breakfast, you will travel by boat to the gorgeous Bora Bora. The island rises out of the northwest and is crowned by the silver-streaked basalt peak of Mount Otemanu. The sensational summit stands at nearly 2,400 feet above sea level and offers a blissful panorama of the crystal clear turquoise waters of the famous Bora Bora lagoon.

You will arrive at the Vaitape Marina and meet your private transfer to your beautiful private resort situated on a secluded islet. Your overwater bungalow offers iconic style and modern luxury with views of the ever-present dramatic cliffs of Otemanu. Step aboard a traditional outrigger canoe to begin your snorkeling excursion across the sensational lagoon across three celebrate spots. The last stop on your snorkel tour will bring you within view of the black tip of a shark’s dorsal fin poking out of the water.

The blacktip reef sharks average five feet in length and linger around the edges of your boat in search of food. Your guide will throw feed into the water and allow you to slip into the lagoon to view the sharks up close. The crystal clear water creates a grand theater to watch the sharks move dramatically through the water. Your heart will pulse with excitement as you feel the water rush against your skin as a tail nearly brushes against you.  

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Bora Bora – Delight in the Beauty of Bora Bora on a 4x4 Jeep Expedition

The mornings in Bora Bora feature the delightful scent of coconut and passion fruit. At breakfast, you can sip a rejuvenating, decadent cup of coffee made from beans sourced on the islands of French Polynesia. You will think back to the sharks and manta rays you watched swimming in the lagoon the previous day and will be ready for the adventure of the day to come. Meet your guide on the shores of Bora Bora and step into an open-air 4x4 jeep to explore the both the rugged and the serene terrain of the rainforest. The vibrant aroma of hibiscus and frangipani will overtake the lingering scent of vanilla carried over from you morning in Tahaa.

The unpaved road will offer you another adventure through the lush islands as you stop at a promontory to look out over the lagoon. A nearby World War II defensive gun continues to protect the straight between Bora Bora and Raiatea, as it has since the US Navy placed it on the coast during World War II. You will have a spectacular view over the lagoon and the calm shores of Tahaa in the distance and continue to an ancient temple that overlooks the water and the peak of Otemanu. Turtle petroglyphs adorn the ancient stones and symbolize the importance of the animal in Polynesian culture.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Bora Bora – Relax in the Tropical Charms of Bora Bora at your Leisure

Over breakfast, you will find much allure in the pastel pink hues of the dragon fruit that decorates your plates while the scent of pineapple adds a refreshing citrus to the seaside air. The day is yours to enjoy and indulge in the splendors of Bora Bora at your preferred pace and leisure. Relax with a day at the spa or take to the road that rings around the island with a bicycle tour. For a mixture of activity and a leisurely pace, you can start your morning with a paddle board lesson. Meet your guide on the white sand shores of your resort to learn the basics of the relaxing sport on the calm waters of the lagoon. Grip your paddle by the top and the post, concentrating on shifting which side you position the oar to move forward.

You can practice on the sand until you are comfortable enough to enter the water. A refreshing breeze will blow over the lagoon as you balance in the tranquil scenery atop the gentle current for an unforgettable moment on the sea. Continue your day of discovery with a private cooking class in the commercial kitchen of your resort. Your chef will welcome you with a freshly brewed cup of coffee and an array of traditional ingredients used in Polynesian cuisine. The aroma of coconut and lime fills the kitchen as you begin your first dish and craft a delightful Poisson Cru, a dish of raw, diced tuna cooked in the acid of coconut milk and lime juice.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10-11: Easter Island – Fly to Easter Island as Adventure Continues

The morning air fills with the aroma of passion fruit and coconut, with hints of hibiscus swirling across the lagoon. You will depart early for the airport to reach Papeete, Tahiti before crossing the Pacific Ocean to reach one of the most secluded islands in the world, Easter Island.  A longer flight, you will have time to relax on the plane as your adventures in the Pacific continues.  As your flight descends into Mataveri International Airport, you will notice the gorgeous landscape of rolling hills, verdant grasslands, and the sporadic yellow glow of the petals on the Toromiro tree. White sand beaches lead to familiar turquoise waters with an inviting ambiance that will encourage you to explore as you meet your private transfer upon arrival. The tropical breeze carries the aroma of the sea over the herbaceous, grassy hills.

What's Included: accommodation, airport transfer, international flight

Day 12: Easter Island - Settle in and Find Relaxation with a Sunset Tour

After your lengthy flight, the morning will be at your leisure to adjust to your new environment and settle in.  Nearby, the extinct volcanic peak of Rano Kau rises to a height of nearly 1,075 feet above sea level, with the tallest summit of Poike standing at an elevation of more than 1,200 feet. Your five-star resort will offer many comforts as you overlook the serene and secluded landscape that surrounds you. As you are ready, you can meet your guide in the lobby and set out to enjoy the sunset over the island at Tahai, situated on the western ridge of the town of Hanga Roa. You will then have your first view of the moai, the iconic statues of the island, which stand on platforms along the coastline looking out to the sea. Stand behind the statues and watch the golden sunlight sink behind the Pacific to cast the statues in enchanting silhouettes.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Easter Island – Discover Myths and Enchantment on a Full Day Guided Tour

In the morning, you will notice the absence of the tropical aromas you became familiar with in French Polynesia. The air carries a subtle scent of the Pacific Ocean that blends with the herbaceous aroma of the sweeping grasslands. The markets fill with displays of sweet potatoes and taro root as fishers return from the shores with vibrant lobsters, prawns, and tuna. After breakfast, your guide will greet you at your hotel and lead you on a fabulous exploration of the historical and mythological statues that decorate the Rano Raraku National Park. The landscape encompasses the main quarry from which the Rapa Nui took boulders.

The park contains various moai in different stages of production, from fully formed to half-carved, each created more than five centuries ago. The magnificent stone faces look inland towards the community that once carved them to protect the tribe against evil. The volcanic crater rises out of the grass and hides upwards of 20 standing moai inside the small crater, set against the shores of the glistening lake From atop the volcanic summit, you will have a stunning view 360-degree panorama of the rolling hills and cobalt waters of the Pacific. Your guide will lead you to the Moai Tukuturi, a unique full body statue revered for its depiction of the figure’s forearms and hands resting on its thighs.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 14-15: Easter Island – Trek Tongariki for Sunrise and Enjoy the Day at Leisure

Before the sun rises over the island, your guide will greet you at your hotel. Wipe away the sleep from your eyes and set out into the crisp air of the early morning. The sea breeze will carry a slight chill and the aroma of the briny water as you venture to the iconic site of Tongariki, known for having 15 statues placed on a single altar and set in a row. The statues look inland over the site on which the village stood. Scatted petroglyphs decorate the nearby stones with images important to the Rapa Nui culture, including turtles, tuna, and a motif of a birdman.

The sun will begin to shimmer over the horizon and cast the statues in silhouettes against the subtle pink, purple, and orange hues. In the background, the Pacific begins to glisten with blue and the silver streaks returning to the moai. Return to the resort for breakfast and the remainder of the day at your leisure to relax on the fine white sand of Anakena Beach or search the lesser known caves around the island. For an adventurous day, you may decide to follow a guide to the top of Terevaka, the highest point on the island that offers a clear and unadulterated view at more than 1,660 feet above sea level.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 16: Easter Island – Depart for Home

The fishers return to the marina near Hanga Roa in the morning. Marlon, mahi-mahi and tuna fill the nets as the fishers empty their lobster traps and prepare everything for the market. At breakfast, the bright aroma of fresh coffee lingers in the dining room. Look out the windows for your last views of the unique landscape before your private transfer greets you in the lobby to escort you to the Mataveri International Airport for your flight home. 

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$4,395
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.