5 Days In Hiva Oa

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Day 3: Horseback Riding & Taaoa Bay

Riding With Paco

After breakfast with a view in Pension Kanahau, go for some horseback riding with Paco from Hamau Ranch, one of the premier horsemen in French Polynesia. Horseback riding in the Marquesas Islands is a great way to explore the countryside.

horseback riding Hamau Ranch Paco - hiva oa marquesas islands

Paco will lead you through the thick rainforest, climbing to beautiful panoramic views of Atuona and the valley (4 hours, free transfers, 7,000F).

Horseback riding Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia rainforest

SCUBA DIVING: If horses aren’t your forte, perhaps scuba diving is. As of 2018, there is a new dive center in operation in Hiva Oa called Marquises Diving. Get in touch or inquire via your hosts. Scuba diving in the Marquesas Islands is a unique experience and you’ll likely encounter large fish including sharks, dolphins ad the likes (if the visibility is decent). 

Taaoa Bay

Back in Atuona, head out on the short scenic drive to neighboring Taaoa Bay, filling up a massive extinct volcano. Stop at the wild beach and admire the church – one of the most photographed in the archipelago.

Taaoa Church Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia

From the small hamlet, drive up the valley to the Upeke archeological site and locate the tiki statue hiding amongst the giant banyan trees.

Tohua Upeke archeological site hiva oa marquesas - ancient tiki

Day 4: Hanaiapa Bay & Hanatekuua Bay Hike

This day is perfect if you’re up for some hiking! A thirty-minute drive from Atuona will bring you to the picturesque Hanaiapa Bay. Spot the small cliff rising from the water and see if you can make out the head of an African man and the head of a woman?

Hanatekuua Bay Hike Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia Hanaiapa

Hanatekuua Bay Hike Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia negro head

Hiking To Hanatekuua Bay

Ask the locals for the trailhead, and begin the 2-hour hike (one way, including stops) to Hanatekuua Bay. Before you reach the pass which then drops to the bay, take a moment to enjoy the breathtaking views from up here. Back towards Hanaiapa Bay, there might be a waterfall splashing straight into the ocean, and out in the far distance, the uninhabited island of Fatu Huku.

Hanatekuua Bay Hike Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia waterfall

A few more steps will reveal Hanatekuua Bay, one of the most beautiful places in the Marquesas Islands. The bay shelters turquoise waters that splash onto a white sand beach that’s backed by coconut plantations.

Hanatekuua Bay Hike Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia panoramic view

Walk down to the beach, go for a splash and chat with the locals if they just happen to be taking a break from tending to their copra.

Hanatekuua Bay Hike Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia locals on beach

Hanatekuua Bay Hike Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia opening coconut

Copra sacks Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia

To get back to the starting point, return on the same trail that brought you here or if you’re lucky, the locals might offer you a ride on their small boat. Use the rest of the day to relax and watch the stars!

Hanatekuua Bay Hike Hiva Oa Marquesas Islands French Polynesia leaving with locals

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