Ponant French Polynesia and Easter Island Cruising
From Papeete Anakena to Hanga Roa, come onboard Ponant’s Le Soléal ship for an exceptional cruise in the heart of the Pacific between Chile and Polynesia.
Far from the conventional tourist destinations, the Gambier is one of the best kept secrets and most preserved destinations of the Polynesia: large coral-ringed belt lagoons are adorned with various colours, each more brilliant than the other.
Come unravel the mysteries of Easter Island, famous for its “Moai” monumental megalithic statues of four metres and its wood chips, the “Rogo-Rongo” signs remain partly covered and indecipherable: a unique world heritage protected by UNESCO since 1995. The Ponant French Polynesia and Easter Island itinerary really is the trip of a lifetime!
DAY ONE – Papeete (French Polynesia)
Late afternoon embarkation.
DAY TWO – Fakarava (Tuamotu, French Polynesia)
Fakarava is an atoll known for its pristine beaches and wildlife. The island is a sanctuary for rare birds, plants and crustaceans. Strolling along the pink-sand beaches, you will view many of birds of them. You will disembark by zodiac and arrive at the pontoon of the Veke Veke guesthouse, where you will be greeted with flower leis and traditional music. Enjoy the crystal clear waters, fluorescent corals and warm waters of Fakarava. Snorkeling gear will be distributed on board the ship.
DAY THREE – At sea
DAY FOUR – At sea
DAY FIVE – Rikitea(Mangareva, Gambier Islands)
The lagoons of Mangareva were formerly worked for their pearl oysters. This work continues today since the biggest and most famous pearl farms are here, being the main resource of these islands. Its lagoons are reputed to be the best source of fine quality pearls. You will disembark by tender and be greeted with flower leis and local music on the pier. You will explore on your own the village of Rikitea. On your way to the old convent, you can make a stop by the church. The ship zodiac will shuttle you from the pier directly to a Pearl farm for a short visit.
DAY SIX – Sailing along TEMOE (Gambier Islands)
DAY SEVEN – Taravai (Gambier Islands)
DAY EIGHT – At sea
DAY NINE – Adamstown (Pitcairn, British Overseas Territory)
DAY TEN – Sailing along Ducie Island (Pitcairn, British Overseas Territory)
DAY ELEVEN – At sea
DAY TWELVE – At sea
DAY THIRTEEN – Hanga Roa (Easter Island, Chile)
Depart from Hanga Piko quay towards the restored Ahu Tongariki. This magnificent platform is the largest on the island and holds fifteen moais. This site was completely destroyed by a tsunami in 1960. The ahu was restored in 1992/1995 by Claudio Cristino of the University of Chile. From this site the tour continues on to the volcano of Rano Raraku, which is on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Enjoy a 700 meters guided trekking up by the walls of the volcano where 95% of the moais were carved. Today you will find 394 statues in various stages of completion. For those wanting to explore deeper, follow a second steep trail independently up to the crater of the volcano, where you will find a quarry where the locals extracted the hard volcanic rock to create nearly all of the existing, immense moais.
DAY FOURTEEN – Hanga Roa (Easter Island, Chile)
Heading towards Ahu Akivi located 15 km north is one of the main sites of this island. In contrast to the monumental statuary at other sites on the island, the moai at Ahu Akivi faces the ocean, it is inland and has a commanding view of the western part of the island. Its 7 moai, all about 14 feet tall and approx. 12 metric tons each, are remarkably similar. Built in 1460 B.C., probably at a time when the statue cult was beginning to unravel, it is one of the “youngest” ahu of the island and was completely restored in 1960 by archaeologist William Mulloy. Continue your excursion towards Puna Pau, which is a quarry in a small crater or cinder cone on the outskirts of Hanga Roa in the south west of the island. From this site, the tour continues towards Huri A Urenga. This is one of the few inland Ahus of the Island. The inland ahus are generally thought to have astronomical significance. The four hand single moai here faces the sun as it rises behind a hill (Poike) at the winter solstice. Finally continue towards Hanga Roa Village, where you will have approximately 30 minutes at leisure to explore the village independently discovering its church, which is decorated with spectacular carved wooden statues, a syncretic vision of Christianity and indigenous spirituality.
DAY FIFTEEN – Hanga Roa (Easter Island, Chile)