Curated exclusively for National Geographic
Tap into the rhythms of French Polynesia during a week at the Brando. Discover the natural wealth of the private atoll on outings with researchers and guides; delve into Tahitian culture; and go beachcombing, swimming, and snorkeling in tropical paradise.
Your experience at the lodge will be tailored to your interests. The sample itinerary below was curated for National Geographic travelers and can be customized as you wish.
Spend your first morning kayaking Tetiaroa’s pristine lagoon, followed by a lesson in preparing a Polynesian raw fish specialty. This afternoon, tour a coral garden with a guide from the nonprofit Tetioroa Society, dedicated to protecting the atoll. Then consider relaxing with a holistic spa treatment drawn from ancient Polynesian traditions. Get a crash course in Tahitian language basics at the Explorer Center, then dine on Polynesian-inspired dishes overlooking the water.
After breakfast, hop into a traditional sailing outrigger for a cruise around Onetahi island with a naturalist. Try mixing up island cocktails with the lodge’s bar staff before lunch at the Beachcomber Cafe. On a reef tour with a naturalist guide from Tetioroa Society, discover the barrier reef’s ecosystem and identify a dazzling array of coral and fish species. Later, learn about coconut palm weaving, a craft that Tahitians have practiced for centuries. This evening, dine in the elegant Les Mutinés, featuring the cuisine of two Michelin-starred French chef Guy Martin.
Head out on a guided walking tour to discover the island’s rich plant life and visit beehives and an organic garden. Spend the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps retreating to the spa, which borders a pond where Tahitian royalty once gathered for beauty rituals. This evening, delve into Tahitian rhythms with local musicians. Get a primer on playing Polynesian musical instruments such as ukulele and the toere drum, then enjoy a traditional performance. Savor a private dinner tonight on the beach in front of your villa.
Spend the morning navigating the atoll’s hidden treasures by boat. With a naturalist as your guide, observe coconut crabs, birds, sting rays, blacktip reef sharks, and jackfish. Stop at a sand bar for a dip in the water and panoramic views. After lunch back at the lodge, glide around the lagoon on a stand-up paddle board. Learn some Tahitian dance moves before dinner tonight.
Today runs at an island pace. Spend time relaxing on the beach or at the pool or spa. Join a knowledgeable guide for a picnic on a wild motu, or small island. Play tennis surrounded by coconut trees. In the evening, catch live Polynesian music at the bar, then enjoy traditional song and dance during a dinner show.
Get an insider’s perspective of the lodge’s eco-friendly facilities and pioneering systems on a guided tour with the lodge’s sustainability coordinator. See the sea-water air-conditioning system in action, and visit the research lab to find out about ongoing studies of island species. Then learn how to maneuver a Polynesian outrigger canoe and head out for a paddle. Late this afternoon, sail into the sunset on a private cruise.
Soak up one last day at the beach or spa. Linger over lunch from a private roost high up in the palm canopy, where you can watch birds and whales and get a bird’s-eye view of the lagoon below. Join naturalists from the Tetiaroa Society on a birding walk; help collect data on boobies, terns, noddies, or egrets. Later, create your own pareo (a Polynesian sarong) and try your hand at ancestral tying and dying techniques. Finish your stay with a barbecue feast prepared for you at your villa’s private beach.
Fly to Papeete to catch your flight home.