Author Herman Melville summed up Nuku Hiva as a "country that no description could fit the beauty." Melville deserted his ship, the whaler Acushnet in the Marquesas and for a short time lived among the Typee people. At 329 square km (127 square mi), this is the largest of the Marquesas Islands; it was also the inspiration for two of Melville's novels, Typee and its sequel Omoo.With towering mountains, eight magnificent harbors, and one of the world's highest waterfalls, Nuku Hiva is richly blessed. View more
Discover the beauty of Nuku Hiva and follow the trails of adventurer and novelist, Herman Melville on this half-day exploration of the island.
After tendering ashore, board the 4x4 vehicle for a rugged trip into the island's interior. The first stop is at the 2,834-foot (864-metre) Muake Hill, from where you can enjoy the best view of the bay. Continue driving up a steep trail, over the high Toovii Plateau and through lush vegetation toward the Taipivai Valley. Along the way, photo stops at various viewpoints provide breath-taking vistas of the coastline, bays, and valleys. Pausing every so often, the guide tells you about the rich flora and fauna of the area.
The Taipivai Valley was made famous by the American writer, Herman Melville (1819-1891), who deserted his ship and hid in the valley. Captured by the natives, he spent several weeks here and learned during this time about their way of life. His novel Typee is based on this experience. Your tour takes you through the small village of Taipivai, where the people engage mainly in agriculture. From here, proceed to the beach area from where you can enjoy views of the surrounding mountains.
Travel back to Taiohae and visit the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Marquesas. The church was built with different coloured stones from the six Marquesas Islands; magnificently carved sculptures adorn the interior. Conclude the tour back at the pier.
Please note: Little walking is required; however, guests must be agile and able to climb in and out of the vehicles. This tour operates in a variety of small, non air-conditioned 4X4 vehicles (sport utility vehicles) that offer a bumpy ride at times and are the best available on the island. This tour is not suitable for anyone with neck, back or hip problems or those who utilise a wheelchair. The price of this tour reflects the high cost of the limited tour infrastructure on this remote island. Drivers go not give commentary; they are not certified guides and their English is very basic. There will be a local guide giving explanation at each stop. Itinerary and stops are subject to weather conditions. We recommend wearing lightweight clothing. Restroom facilities may not be to Silversea standards. Participation is limited.