Nuku Hiva

  • Photo de l'île
  • Photo de l'île
  • Photo de l'île

Good reasons to visit

  • A grandiose landscape: fairy waterfalls (including Hakaui, the third highest in the world), grand canyon, natural basins, steep cliffs where wild goats and horses can be found.
  • The magestic valleys, including those of Taipivai, Hatiheu or Anaho, considered as one of the finest in French Polynesia.
  • Huge and many archaeological sites (sites, "tiki", petroglyphs, etc..).
  • A perennial culture: languages, traditions, crafts, sculpture, tattoo, culinary arts.
  • Many attractions.
  • Excursions by boat, 4WD, on foot or on horseback.

Do not miss

  • The Cathedral of Notre Dame of the Marquesas islands in Taiohae,
  • Muake Hill offering a panoramic view over Taiohae harbor,
  • Vaipo Waterfall in the Hakaui valley (350 meters high = 1,148 ft high), the 3rd highest in the world,
  • Anaho Bay and its fabulous white sand beach,
  • The Controller bay, made famous by Herman Melville,
  • Hakatea Beach,
  • The archaeological sites of Paeke, Kamuihei and Hikokua as well as the Temehea Pae Pae,
  • Taipivai Valley,
  • The stele of Herman Melville.

Did you know that?

  • Nuku Hiva is the second largest island in French Polynesia, with 127 sq. miles in area, after Tahiti.
  • The Cascade of Hakaui valley, falling from 350 m (1148 ft), is one of the highest in the world.
  • The Notre Dame Cathedral of the Marquesas Islands is in Taiohae, the main village of Nuku Hiva.
  • Several big names in literature have succumbed to the charm of the island including: Robert Louis Stevenson and Herman Melville (novel "Taipi" published in 1846).
  • There is a time difference of 30 minutes between Tahiti and the Marquesas.
  • There are endemic bird species that can be observed in Nuku Hiva such as the “Upe” or Carpophage Marquesas, which is a giant pigeon, which is also found in Ua Huka.

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Couverture Air Tahiti magazine


Nuku Hiva is a grandiose island. It is the largest of the Marquesas and the second largest island in French Polynesia, after Tahiti. The airport of Nuku A Taha, or "Deserted Land", lies on the northwest coast of the island, on the opposite side from the main village of Taiohae, which is also the administrative and economic capital of the archipelago. It is about a 1½-hour drive. On the way, encounters with wild horses and goats, basalt ridges and deep canyons make for a truly enchanting spectacle. The island's secrets appear impenetrable, well guarded by exuberant vegetation which covers the "Land of Men" with a veil of mystery, indescribable yet very much present.

Nuku Hiva is a preserved island with some fantastic natural and archaeological sites, such as the impressive complexes of Kamuihei and Taipivai, which transport you into the past of the ancient Marquesans, or the magical waterfalls that cascade all along the cliffs. That of Hakaui, with a height of 350 metres, is the third highest in the world. The bay of Anaho, too, is a sheer wonder of nature, with its stunning beaches of white sand, only accessible on foot or by boat from the pretty little village of Hatiheu.


After a busy day out, Taiohae, a quiet harbour at the foot of a spectacular bay protected by two rocky headlands, provides a relaxing setting full of charm. Lined with trees and bordered by long beaches of black sand, it is perfect for walking, strolling and exploring, encountering along the way proud horsemen for whom the horse remains the main mode of transport. Essential sights include: the fine cathedral of Notre Dame des Îles Marquises, a small museum and a number of monuments, including the stele of Herman Melville, who made the island famous with his novel Taipi, published in 1846. Symbolic of a genuine revival in Marquesan culture, the crafts, tattoos and sculpture developed here ensure the future safeguarding of designs and techniques that date back centuries. Nuku Hiva is a spectacular island which is sure to make a lasting impression!

Things to do


Nautical activities :

  • Boat trip along the cliffs,
  • excursions in deep sea,
  • melon-headed dolphin watching.

Inland  activities :

  • Guided horseback riding tour,
  • hiking,
  • 4x4 safari,
  • visit of the various archaeological sites,
  • handicraft exhibitions,
  • car rental.


  • Surface area : 127.4 sq miles
  • Circumference : tracks connect some villages between them.
  • Highets peak : Mount Tekao (1224 m = 4,015 ft).
  • Districts : Taioahe (main village), Taipivai, Hooumi, Hatiheu Anaho, Aakapa, Pua, Nuku Ataha (airport) and Hakaui.
  • Population : + 3151 inhabitants.
  • Airport : located in Nuku a Taha - Deserted land at about 1 ½ hour drive from the main village of Taiohae.

Practical information

  • Tourist office : in Taiohae
  • Bank(s) : Socredo Bank. ATMs.
  • Post office(s) : in Taiohae, Taipivai, Hatiheu and Aakapa
  • Public phone(s) : in Hatiheu, Taiohae and Taipivai.
  • Shop(s) : a few grocery stores. It is also possible to purchase sculptures and artefacts.
  • Restaurant(s) : A few snack-bars and restaurants.
  • Medical services: 1 hospital in Taiohae and 2 infirmaries.

This island can be visited with the pass : Marquesas Pass

Travel tips

Click on the links below to make sure your trip goes smoothly: