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Atuona – Hiva Oa, Marquesas Isl

The largest of the southern islands, Hiva Oa, the master pillar or finial post of the ‘Great House’ - which represents the Marquesan archipelago in the local mythology - has always been the rival of Nuku Hiva. The island is shaped like a seahorse and has a mountain range running southwest to northeast whose main peaks, Mt. Temetiu and Mt. Feani form a real wall around Atuona.

Atuona, a peaceful little port at the head of the Taaoa Bay, also known as Traitors Bay, has emerged from obscurity due to having had the privilege of being the last resting place of Paul Gauguin and of the singer Jacques Brel. The tombs of these famous personalities are on the side of the Calvary cemetery looking out across the bay and are places of great pilgrimage. In the village, the Gauguin Museum displays items related to the painter's stay there at the beginning of the century and has copies of his works.

The ‘House of Pleasure’ where Gauguin lived has been rebuilt with copies of the carved wood panels and the lintel bearing this inscription. In the outskirts of Atuona, heading towards the airport on a site dominating Tahauku bay and Hanakee Islet a memorial to the singer Jacques Brel has been erected. Near the airstrip, Brel's little Beechcraft Bonanza airplane, baptised ‘Jojo’, is on display. Also, very close to Tahauku, a track leads to Tehueko a petroglyph site whose carvings bear a strange resemblance to the ones on Easter. The island’s beauty is tropical, but rugged. Unlike other islands in French Polynesia, the Marquesan coast has no fringing reef or coral-clad turquoise lagoons, and the pacific swells crash right onto the rocky coast. Of volcanic origin, the islands consist of eroded and partially submerged peaks of extinct volcanoes.

Pier Information

The ship is scheduled to anchor in Taaoa Bay and its tenders will take guests ashore. The distance to local shops is approximately two miles (three kilometres) but the road is hilly. Taxis are generally not available.

Shopping

Handicraft items can be found in the few shops in Atuona. The local currency is the Pacific Franc (XPF) but euros and U.S. dollars are generally accepted.

Cuisine

Dining on the island is limited to the two snacks stations in Atuona, serving local foods.

Other Sites

Gauguin Museum and Jacques Brel
Located in town, this museum highlights the island’ two famous former residents.

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.
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Atuona – Hiva Oa, Marquesas Isl

Atuona – Hiva Oa, Marquesas Isl