Known as the "Land of Men", the Marquesas are admired for their lush, untamed landscapes. There are very few coastal plains or white-sand beaches, but the rugged terrain and sharp, majestic peaks of these distant islands are something to be seen.
The Marquesas Archipelago is one of the most remote island groups in the world.
They are located farther away from a continental landmass than any other islands known to man. These volcanic Polynesian islands are so secluded that they even have their own time zone. Flight time to get here from Papeete, Tahiti is approximately 3.5 hours.
Its islands include Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata and several other small, uninhabited islands. The best way to experience these islands is a 14-day adventure cruise aboard the Aranui 3
. This working freighter operates as a cruise ship for passengers who want to experience the full variety of the Marquesas in one visit.
Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa are the only two islands with hotel accommodations: The Nuku Hiva Keikahanui Pearl Lodge and The Hiva Oa Hanakee Pearl Lodge. There are also a handful of family-run pensions that occupy the islands. Wherever you decide to stay, you will experience the true hospitality of the Marquesan people and share in their customs.
Nuku Hiva is home to many rare and marvelous attractions including the magnificent black-sand beach of Anaho, submarine caverns that shelter an impressive variety of flora and fauna, and the Hakaui Valley waterfall – the third highest in the world. Also be sure to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Inside are marvelous wood and stone carvings donated by each island....
Hiva Oa is known as “Gauguin’s Island” because artist Paul Gauguin chose this majestic locale as his final resting place. One look at this primitive land, where wild horses roam free, and you’ll understand why. Poet Jacques Brel also chose to live on Hiva Oa to inspire his work. Both artists are buried in the Cimetière du Calvaire (Calvary Cemetery) overlooking Atuona, the main village of Hiva Oa. Amidst the island’s lush mountains and deep valleys are many tiki statues, archeological sites and petroglyphs. In fact, Hiva Oa boasts the largest ancient tiki in Polynesia.
The Marquesas Islands are home to many accomplished artisans. The locals have proudly safeguarded the ancient patterns and techniques of tattoo artistry, sculpture and handcrafts. They are leaders in the revival of the creation of the traditional pahu (drum). Every four years, the island of Nuku Hiva hosts the Marquesan Arts Festival. This world-renowned cultural event is the perfect opportunity to witness and celebrate the islands’ artistry and deep-rooted traditions.
The Marquesas will surely quench your thirst for adventure. As you ride through their untamed landscapes on horseback, you will fall captive to the primitive qualities and cultural significance of these islands.