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Setting sail from Papeete
If you are in search of paradise, don't expect it to be easy to get there! It's a long old haul to get to Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia. And once you are there, Papeete itself is by no means the most magical spot - you need to venture forth to see the other islands, and luxuriate in the turquoise lagoons, white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, rugged mountain peaks and coral reefs. Expensive and remote, these islands have maintained their uncommercial magic, with excellent hotels and a warm Polynesian welcome everywhere you go.
Don’t bother with local currency – all the local shops and markets will take US dollars. And take aqua shoes, impossible to walk in the sea otherwise.
French Polynesia: Fakarava (Tuamotu Islands)
The Fakarava atoll surrounds a deep lagoon in the west of the Tuamotu island group, scarcely populated and home to a host of rare wildlife. The entire atoll has been declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and the shallow coastal waters make for excellent snorkelling.
French Polynesia: Omoa (Fatu Hiva)
Remote and unspoilt Fatu Hiva is the southernmost of the Marquesas island group, known for its tapa bark paintings and wood carvings. There are just two settlements on the island: the village of Omoa has a church and a small museum, while Hanavave lies on the staggeringly beautiful Bay of Virgins.
French Polynesia: Atuona (Hiva Oa)
Hiva Oa is the last resting place of the artist Paul Gauguin, who spent the final years of his life here, and the Gauguin museum in Atuona documents his time in the South Pacific. This beautiful island is also home to some evocative archaeological sites, including ancient petroglyphs and stone tiki statues.
French Polynesia: Hapatoni (Tahuata), Taiohae
French Polynesia: Huahine
Huahine is perhaps the most beautiful of the Society Islands, and one of the least developed too. The laid back ambience means it’s impossible not to relax here, whether you’re on one of the gorgeous beaches or taking a stroll around the friendly village of Fare.
French Polynesia: Bora Bora
Bora Bora is the very definition of idyllic, a diminutive Polynesian island dominated by rainforest-clad volcanic peaks, overlooking an electric blue lagoon ringed by coral reefs. The beaches and over-water bungalows are particularly popular with honeymooners, and the clear waters of the lagoon are perfect for snorkelling.
French Polynesia: Taha'a
Sleepy Taha’a is just a few minutes away from Raiatea by boat, and is known as the ‘vanilla island’ due to the many fragrant plantations secluded amongst its valleys. Although the island itself lacks beaches, the surrounding reef is dotted with beautiful little white sand islets known as ‘motu’.
French Polynesia: Mo'orea
Mo’orea is one of the real highlights of the South Pacific, a picture perfect landscape of jagged green mountains and dazzling cobalt bays. The warm waters of the lagoon are perfect for a host of watersports, while the lush island interior can be easily explored by scooter or bicycle.
Arriving in Papeete
The island of Raiatea – extraordinary scenery, like being in Jurassic Park.
Your home from home
Designed specifically to cruise the shallow waters of the South Pacific islands, the MS Paul Gauguin perfectly embodies the famous Polynesian warmth and flair.
What we love
This much awarded little ship carries 332 fortunate guests. What we love is the way in which, after 16 years cruising year round in this part of the South Pacific, she has absorbed everything that is special about the islands into her very DNA, making her the perfect choice to holiday in the area.
|Crew||217 International Staff|
|Style||The Polynesian paradise is permanent home to Paul Gauguin, allowing her to offer a better experience aboard and ashore than any other vessel visiting the area, in a laid back, warm and welcoming style.|
Tailor-make your trip
Extend your stay in French Polynesia
For the ultimate eco-hotel experience, go for the Brando! Eye wateringly expensive, but a bit special.
Explore the islands
If you are visiting Bora Bora tour the island by open bus - Le Truck.