Swim With The Whales In French Polynesia

My friends over at Inertia Network who I’ve partnered with in the past to put on some unique itineraries in Central Asia and the Middle East is offering a departure this fall to swim with the whales on the French Polynesian island of Rurutu. They have been running these whale encounter trips for a few seasons and work with an expert family from the island of Rurutu to put on an expedition that everyone raves about. 

Each year humpback whales make the journey from Antarctica to Rurutu where they mate, give birth, and raise their calves between August and November. During this period of time is when we go out on the search for playful whales to observe them from underwater (At a safe distance, of course). 

We will be hosted by the lovely Tavita family while on Rurutu. The family has over a decade of experience whale guiding in French Polynesia and hosting travelers in their family guesthouse. 

Swimming with the Whales French Polynesia Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrivals to Rurutu

Today you will be picked up at Rurutu Airport in the late afternoon (there is only one flight per day from Tahiti). You will be welcomed with a family-style Polynesian dinner this evening after you’ve had a chance to get settled in. At dinner you’ll have a chance to get to know the other participants, your guides, and your host family. 

Days 2-7: Swimming with Whales & Exploring Rurutu

For the next 6 days here is a general schedule of what you’ll get up to on most days:


Breakfast at the house, home cooked, of course and gear prep for the day. 


Drive to the pier, jump into wetsuits, gear up and get on the boat. 


Leave the pier by boat. For the next four hours you’ll be on the lookout whales. Once a group is found, two scouts will go in to approach the whales carefully. Once cleared, our group will have the opportunity to swim with the whales. 

It’s worth noting that we don’t get lucky and find groups of whales or have good conditions every day. Some days we may not swim with whales at all while other days we may get in a good two hour swim with them. 


Arrive back to land and hop in  the car for a ride to Moerai where we’ll have lunch in town for the next couple hours. 


The afternoons are generally saved for cultural activities and relaxation. This would include island tours, cooking lessons, artisan workshops, hiking, fishing, and traditional music and dance on more active days. On days where the group is more exhausted from swimming in the morning we’ll relax on the beach. 


Enjoy a home cooked dinner all made from local ingredients. Spend the remainder of the evening playing games and having conversations with the other participants and our host family. 

Day 8: Departure day

On the final day in Rurutu the group will head out for one last swim with the whales in the morning. Following the swim we’ll go straight back to the house for a farewell lunch before we leave for the airport at 4pm to catch the afternoon flight back to Tahiti. 

September 5-12, 2021

8 days | 7 nights 

Rurutu, French Polynesia 

Rurutu, French Polynesia

$3,500 USD

Max of 9

30% due at time of sign up 


  • 7 nights shared accommodation in family home
  • Meals and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Whale boat, guide
  • Island excursions & cultural activities 
  • Ground transportation on island


  • Gear
  • Travel insurance 
  • Flights to/from French Polynesia 
  • Personal spending 
  • Alcoholic drinks 

Other Info

  • You must be able to confidently swim at least 300 metres in open water unaided at a time in order to participate in this program.
  • No SCUBA diving certification is required. Snorkelling only. Free diving is an option with playful whales. 
  • PADI or AIDA II free diving certification is recommended if you would like to free dive; however, it is not required.  

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