Voyage through the enchanted island of Tahiti and her sisters, idyllic in their carved intricacies: majestic peaks emerging from emerald green jungles, chalk-white atolls, and beryl-blue lagoons.


  • Visit the west coast of Tahiti, home to the sacred Arahurahu Marae temple, the Spring Garden of Vaipahi, and the enchanting Mara’a Grotto.
  • Venture through the well-preserved James Norman Hall Museum and the iconic Point Venus lighthouse on the east coast of Tahiti.
  • Sail to the island of Mo’orea, the tropical paradise said to have inspired James Michener’s mythical “Bali Ha’i,” and witness magnificent views from Belvedere Point.
  • Explore Ra’iatea, the cradle of early Polynesian culture and a favorite destination of Captain Cook.
  • Experience a panoramic tour on idyllic Bora Bora, watch a demonstration of the dyeing of the traditional Polynesian pareo, and enjoy an authentic meal on a private motu.

Itinerary at a Glance

January 28Depart gateway city
January 29Arrive in Pape’ete, Tahiti, Society Islands
January 30Pape’ete—Embarkation
January 31Huahine
February 1–2Bora Bora
February 3Taha’a
February 4Ra’iatea
February 5Mo’orea
February 6Pape’ete—Disembarkation | Depart for the U.S.
February 7Arrive in the U.S.

Optional Extension(s)

Post-tour: Mo’orea

Trip Scholar

Jill Mateo

Jill Mateo is an associate professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development, the Institute for Mind and Biology, and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. She received her doctorate in biopsychology and animal behavior from the University of Michigan and was a postdoctoral scholar at Cornell University. Mateo joined the UChicago faculty in 2002 and teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in biology and psychology.

Her research focuses on the development of adaptive behaviors that have been favored by natural selection. She has studied the mechanisms of two functional behaviors: learning and antipredator strategies (especially the role of stress on acquisition and modification of these behaviors) and recognition of kin (including the genetics of mate choice and the “armpit effect”). Most of her research has been conducted in the field on an unusually social ground squirrel, and her recent work has shifted to birds.

This will be professor Mateo’s fourth trip with the Alumni Association.