French Polynesia: 7 Days Exploring The Society Islands
The Society Islands, with their lush green mountain peaks and exquisite beaches, beckon with the promise of adventure and exploration. Visitors will certainly experience the same emotion that moved Captain Cook when he first came upon the island now known as Tahiti and the peaceful lagoons and natural, coral-fringed passes that surround her.
Don't let the tranquil landscapes and enticing underwater worlds fool you, as the Society Islands are pulsating with a colorful and vibrant culture, beautifully juxtaposed between traditional customs and the occasional glimpse at high-end luxury lifestyle.
With an average year-round temperature of 27°C (80°F), a beauty that is enticing and a charm that is inspiring, the Society Islands are your own piece of paradise, waiting to be explored.
Tahiti to Mo'orea
Arrive at Faa'a International Airport on the island of Tahiti and transfer to Belle Aimée at the Marina Taina in nearby Papeete. After a warm welcome and refreshing cocktail, your adventure begins as you depart for the island of Mo'orea.
Disembark for a 4WD safari adventure in the mountains and around pineapple groves or a cultural tour guided by an anthropologist from the Polynesian cultural center.
That evening, dancers and musicians arrive on outrigger canoes for a private Polynesian dance show onboard. The rhythms of the ukelele and toere drums and graceful dancers depicting their stories through movement, song and costume set the tone for a week of exciting cultural discovery and exploration.
Explore Opunohu Bay, Mo'orea
After a fabulous breakfast on the main deck, don your swimsuit, snorkel and dive gear to get up close and personal with blacktip sharks, grey reef sharks, jackfish, eels and myriad undersea life in the waters surrounding Opunohu Bay.
Visitors during the months between July and November might be treated to a glimpse of—or even the chance to snorkel with—magnificent humpback whales who travel 6,000 kilometers from the Antarctic to breach, swim and sing in these waters.
Recap the day's adventures back aboard while nibbling on canapés, playing board games and watching the sun set.
Onward to Huahine, the Garden Island
Lush green tropical foliage gives this Society Island the nickname, "The Garden Island," but with its tranquil azure bays and white sand beaches presided over by steep mountains, Huahine is one of the most picturesque islands in all of French Polynesia. Explore the interior by horseback, walk the bridge connecting the two islands that comprise Huahine, or spend the day snorkeling or diving the surrounding coral reef. It is also here, on Huahine, that you can visit one of the more authentic pearl farms and see how this beautiful gem is cultured in the warm lagoons. Worn by Polynesians as a symbol of their attachment to the ocean, the delicate pearl comes in various shapes and colors. Each pearl is unique—as unique as the families and generations who have been farming them for decades. The day winds down with a private beach barbecue of fresh-caught tuna marinated with coconut. Polynesian music, dancing, stories and perhaps some fire eating go well into the evening hours.
A Day of Culture on Ra'iatea
You will enjoy the coconut-kissed dishes the chef prepares for breakfast this morning, as Belle Aimée departs for the island of Ra'iatea. On deck, look out for dolphins who love to play and jump in the bow's wake as you cruise through an island pass. Not only is Ra'iatea the second largest island in French Polynesia, it also hosts the largest ancient ceremonial sacred sites of the Polynesian triangle where Polynesians from Tahiti, Hawaii and New Zealand used to gather. Disembark for a day on the water, utilizing some of Belle Aimée's many water toys or testing your skill in a traditional outrigger canoe race. Later, enjoy a shiatsu, Swedish, deep tissue or reflexology massage on the sun deck or curl up in the main living room with a good book from the yacht's literary collection. The day ends with a gourmet meal enjoyed al fresco on the upper deck.
Spa and Taha'a
Guests can break off in smaller groups to enjoy individual activities today. Some may wish to continue with undersea exploration while others may prefer to follow the underwater adventures from onboard via the yacht's ROV underwater camera.
Taha'a, known as the "Vanilla Island," is a quick tender ride from Ra'iatea and well worth the visit, if only to experience the fragrant orchids and Tahitian vanilla. While away the afternoon around the yacht's spa pool on the sun deck.
After a relaxing dinner, a lively karaoke session on the sun deck will bring out the performer in everyone.
Your charter culminates in the most famous of French Polynesian islands — Bora Bora. Adventure seekers' dreams will be fulfilled as the famous and charming Tahitian surfer Moehau "Moe" Goold comes onboard to serve as your personal surfing and kiteboarding guide for the day.
Swim with manta rays, dive, snorkel and simply spend the day enjoying the waters and beaches of this beautiful island. Back aboard, the tune of "Bali H'ai" is ever more inspiring as you enjoy the movie "South Pacific" under the stars from the outdoor theater on the sun deck.
The day ends with great food, superb wine and toasts to memories that will last a lifetime.
Return to the port on the island of Tahiti.