“In these islands where solitude is total, I have found some sort of peace” wrote Jacques Brel, who spent the last years of his life in Atuona, on Hiva Oa.
Exposed on the ocean, “the garden of the Marquesas” that has no reef offers the shores of its fertile lands to the assaults of the waves and currents of a stormy sea of which we see neither the background nor the colored nuances.
Paul Gauguin had spent there the last days of his life, and is buried in Atuona.
It is in this dark stretch that the sharp cliffs plunge, almost raw, surrounding the imposing mountains of Hiva Oa where the tiny airfield is located, perched high in a cluster of clouds.
This wrinkled land, whose pristine beauty remains untouched by the 20th century, tells the long and exciting history of the Marquesas, which we discovered while strolling among banana and papaya trees, in the secret valleys.
It is in the Puamau Bay that were discovered the largest tikis of Polynesia, strange statues surrounded by pebbles which speak the language of ancient times.
The site of the Taaoa valley, like Hanaui, Hanapeteo or Hanatekua, has thousands of ancient places of worship, “mea’e”, found out of nowhere among the blocks of lava.
The island of Gauguin (called “Coquin = Flirty ” by the missionaries Paul Gauguin) retained its wildness and the quiet pace of traditional activities that seduced the painter, who had also come to spend his old days in the capital.
Walking in the footsteps of Paul Gauguin means visiting the museum, discovering several copies of his works, going through the “Maison du Jouir” (House of Delight) where he lived during his stay, but mostly enjoying the hospitality of the Marquesans who greet you with a thunderous “Kaoha Nui” – “Hello”.
320 km² of lush mountains trenches beautiful valleys where galloping wild horses. Mountain trails housing the largest archaeological sites and where the greatest ensure tikis of Polynesia. The exceptional Puamau worth visiting.
A pool of sculptors, tattoo artists, craftsmen, singers and dancers. A pilgrimage site to pray at the graves of the painter Paul Gauguin and singer Jacques Brel in the old naval cemetery of Atuona. A space dedicated to Paul Gauguin, place of artistic creation and cultural exchange, the museum Segalen Gauguin, with an exhibition of the painter’s works as well as a reconstruction of the “Maison du Jouir” (House of Delight) where he lived, and a commemorative stele to Jacques Brel.
Countless hikes to explore waterfalls, peaks, river baths for nature lovers. A day discovering by boat the neighboring island, Tahuata and its charming little village Hapatoni.
A boutique hotel that offers a breathtaking view of the deep bay Tahauku. Around twenty Marquesan sculptors have decorated all the bungalows.
Six traditional guesthouses living up to the standards of the warm welcome that characterizes the Marquesas.
An air service 4 times a week (3h45 flight) and a regular boat service (6 days by boat from Tahiti).
Our lodging selection on this island :