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Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Nuku Hiva is the main island in the northern archipelago of the Marquesas, with the town of Taiohae its administrative and economic centre. Rising vertically from the ocean floor, the emerald-green Marquesas form the most spectacular and remote archipelago in French Polynesia. A mountain range dominated by Mt. Tekao (4,015 feet /1,224 metres) runs the length of the desert lands in the west where the airport is located. The centre of the island consists of the Toovii Plateau, which extends out as a large agricultural region with pastures, fields and forests. As the island is without protective coral reefs or lagoons, it lacks flat coastal surfaces, making it almost impossible to build roads along the coasts to connect one valley to another. Road transportation is therefore replaced by boats between the villages, which required the construction of port facilities for cargo ships. A rare exception is Taiohae Bay, which offers safe anchorage for all ships.

The town of Taiohae, the administrative capital of the Marquesas Islands, is located on the shores of Taiohae Bay. In fact, it lies in the centre of a volcanic crater, half of which collapsed into the ocean creating the bay.

The first humans arrived in Nuku Hiva in 150 BC. There was a development period that lasted until 1100 AD. Many stone monuments were built between 1100 and 1400 AD, and it was during this period that artisans began what later became their famous sculpting of tikis found in the Taipivai Valley.

The Catholic Church began proselytizing the people of Nuku Hiva in earnest in 1839, encouraged by France’s annexation of the island in 1842. The Taiohae Cathedral was built in 1974 and is the largest church in the Marquesas.

Herman Melville wrote his book Typee based on his experiences in the Taipivai Valley in the eastern part of Nuki Hiva; Robert Louis Stevenson’s first landfall on his voyage on the Casco was on the island’s north side. More recently, the island was the site of the popular CBS reality television show Survivor. Despite this recent claim to fame, the infrastructure is still very limited and visiting Nuku Hiva is not unlike discovering a secluded and remote destination.

Upon arrival in Nuku Hiva, our guests will receive a traditional greeting with fresh flower lei, song and dance. Add the breathtaking beauty of this tropical Eden and your visit will be a memorable experience.

Pier Information

The ship is scheduled to anchor off Nuku Hiva. Guests are taken ashore via the ship’s tenders to the Taiohae pier located at the centre of town. A limited number of 4x4 vehicles may be available for hire for trips inland. It is recommended to agree on the fare before leaving the pier.

Shopping

Handicraft items and woodcarvings can be found in shops at Taiohae. Most shops are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The local currency is the Pacific Franc (XPF). Euros and U.S. dollars are generally accepted.

Cuisine

There are a few small restaurants/cafés along the waterfront street of Taiohae Bay, with menus offering local fare and seafood.

Other Sites

Taiohae
Wander around the small capital and experience the flavour of village life. Taiohae is located under the shadow of imposing Mt. Muake. Its sheltered harbour is guarded by two rocky islets, the ‘sentries’ of the East and West. Several giant tikis can be seen at the eastern side of Taiohae, carved for a recent Marquesas festival.

Hakaui Valley
Located nine miles (15 km) inland from Taiohae, the valley’s main feature is the 1,148-foot-high (350 metre-high) Ahui Waterfall and its refreshing pool. Reaching the valley requires hiking.

Diving
Diving tours can be booked locally.

Private Arrangements
Silver Shore Privato is unavailable in the Marquesas Islands, due to the very limited number of qualified guides and suitable vehicles. Guests wishing to consider any private arrangements should enquire at Concierge@silversea.com for any availability and price.