Nuku Hiva

The crater of a volcano

Mesuring 330 km2 , Nuku Hiva is the biggest island of the Marquesas archipelago, and the second largest island of French polynesia. Its beauty seen from the air or from the sea is breathtaking.The airport is situated on the north west point of the island. Taiohae, the administrative capital of the marquesas is reached by helicopter (10 min flight) or by comfortable 4x4 cars.(1 1/2 hours) In both cases , the trip is spectacular and impressive.

Hatiheu bay

The north coast ,one of the most beautiful of Polynesia, is dominated by spectacular basalt pinnacles.This is where the villages of Hatiheu, Aakapa and the bay of Anaho are found. Also to be seen is the Hakaui waterfall, situated at the end of an ancient royale valley, and the village of Taipivai, where Herman Melville resided.

Hakaui waterfall


Found on the north coast, this was the favourite bay of the writer Louis Stevenson.A statue of the virgin was hoisted up to a height of 300 m to the top of a basalt pinnacle which dominates the bay. Numerous tohuas have been restored , and many traditional homes rebuilt.Some dances are organised to take place on certain occassions.





One of the least visited villages of the island, dominated by basalt peaks which make up some of the most beautiful scenery of Nuku Hiva. Many archeological sites. A road is under construction to tie the village directly to the airport.

Plateau de Toovii

Woodland (planted pine trees), this high altitude plateau is the only cool area of Nuku Hiva. It is a privileged walking area for the inhabitants of the islands. The mountain Muake is the take off area for the paragliders of Taiohae and the base of the radio relay system. Magnificent views.


One hours walk from Hatiheu, this is one of the most beautiful bays of Polynesia. White sand, coconut trees surrounded by scenery of mountains, and imposing cliffs, which marvel each visitor.


Even if you have seen hundreds of waterfalls, the Hakaui waterfall will seduce you , not only because of its height (350 m) but also by the cliffs that surround it, where many sea birds nest and by the ancient path , bordered by many paepaes decorated by tikis, which merit a detour.


Pretty village next to the sea. Most administrative head offices are found here. The Temehea tohua next to the sea was restored for the second Marquesan arts festival, and Koueva, towards the interior was resored for the 5th Marquesan arts festival in december 1999. The carvings were created by different artists from different archipelagos and traditional habitats were rebuilt. The cathedral must be seen with its many wood carvings, and the stele in memory of Melville , near the Pahaatea cemetery. The town hall library is home to many rare books dedicated to the archipelago. The dive centre is found on the fishermen's dock.


One of the most important and most fertile valleys of all Nuku Hiva. Surrounded by many legends , and the inspiration for Melville's "typee". Home to various waterfalls and one of the most beautiful archeological sites of the island, with many stone tikis.


Copyright 1999 "Image sud"
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