You will soon arrive in the northern lands of French Polynesia. Getting to the Marquesas Islands is not an easy task. Now it’s time for cultural and sports activities, for contact with an incredible nature and for meeting the inhabitants. Discover the best things to do in the Marquesas Islands!

1. Hakaui Valley on Nuku Hiva

Hakaui Valley, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands

Go to the largest island of the archipelago, Nuku Hiva, where, from Taiohae, you will reach Hakaui Bay by boat. The arrival in the cove is exceptional, full of contrasts and extraordinary relief. This hike goes up the valley through a pretty vegetation dotted with flowers and palm trees, topped by the huge peaks and impressive walls. The destination will be the Vaipo waterfall, one of the largest in the world.

Five kilometers to cover in an incredible landscape, sometimes even disturbing. Everything seems to be standing upright, and yet the walk is done peacefully. On the way, many vestiges of the ancient Marquesan civilization appear. The feeling of discovering an extinct but still present world is sensational. This is definitely one of the best things to do in the Marquesas Islands.


2. Giant Tikis on Hiva Oa

Marae of Puamau, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

The Marquesas Islands have an exceptional archaeological heritage and many sites remain to discover. The ancient Marquesan society had its gods, its legends and a whole organization including community places, living quarters and of course ritual and religious centers. Among its vestiges, the tiki occupies a primordial place. This extraordinary being protected the populations and guided them in their quest. Hiva Oa holds several of these statues, some of which are among the largest in French Polynesia.

Close to the village of Puamau, the site of Iipona is a must for those who wish to immerse themselves in these ancient times, of which only the stone and the legendary stories remain today. Huge statues of several meters stand in the middle of the ceremonial center, impressive and mysterious. As the transmission of knowledge in the Polynesian islands is essentially oral, it is essential to have a local guide accompany you.

3. Inland Route on Ua Pou

Things to do in the Marquesas Islands: seeing the rocky peaks of Ua Pou

With its contrasting landscapes and surprising relief, the island of Ua Pou is a favorite destination for hiking. The ancient volcano has collapsed, revealing a magnificent caldera, surrounded by numerous rocky peaks several hundred meters high. The fantastic atmosphere lends itself to legendary tales.

Starting from the village of Hakahau, this walk of almost 10 km leads you from east to west to Hakahetau. The views of the Ua Pou peaks are often exceptional. To appreciate the route and discover more about Marquesan culture, we recommend that you take a guide. The best address is the Pension Pukue’e, particularly indicated for its guided hiking tours.

4. Hiking of the Two Villages on Fatu Hiva

Bay of Virgins in Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands

Seventeen kilometers separate the villages of Omoa and Hanavave. For their travels, the inhabitants use boats, as there is no road between them. What remains is an incredible track on red dirt roads crossing the forest and the mountains. With more than 700 meters of difference in altitude, the ascent offers superb panoramas on the bays and the interior of Fatu Hiva, from where impressive crests rise. A striking relief!

The descent to Hanavave offers a beautiful view of the famous Bay of Virgins. Upon arrival, you can wait with a refreshment before boarding a boat that will take you back to your starting point, 30 minutes later, for a fee. This hike is quite physical and requires a good half-day’s work.

5. Horse Riding on Ua Huka

Meet the wild horses on Ua Huka

In addition to its red and often desert-like landscapes, Ua Huka is famous for hosting more than 1,500 horses, many of which live in the wild. It’s simple: there are more horses on the island than inhabitants. There is such a harmony on Ua Huka that the land is called the Horse Island. A horseback ride seems logical and lends itself perfectly to the discovery of the coastline, the rocks and the long paths connecting the different villages.

The population practices breeding and some pensions organize horseback riding excursions, notably the Pension Maurice et Delphine in the village of Hokatu. For those who have never ridden before, the routes are adapted to the level of each person and the guides will know how to choose the ideal mount for the rides. This experience is an excellent way to discover the Marquesan landscape and its inhabitants in a different way.

Discover the Best Things to Do in the Marquesas Islands

A trip to the Marquesas Islands offers a privileged contact with an often extraordinary nature. The changing landscapes from one island to another make each one unique and unforgettable. The activities are therefore mainly focused on hiking and cultural approach. All you have to do is choose the best time to visit the Marquesas Islands! Contact us to prepare your arrival in the South Pacific Islands.