Marquesas Islands

Marquesas Islands

Overview:

Located around 1,370 kilometers northeast of Tahiti lies a far less-visited archipelago – the mystical Marquesas Islands. Known as Te Henua ‘Enata in the native language, this cluster of volcanic peaks is a place where ancient spirits roam and legends live on strong. Across its 15 islands, craggy green mountains rise dramatically from the Pacific waters while waterfalls plunge down the sides of impossibly lush valleys.

The Marquesas have been home to Polynesian people for centuries, as evidenced by the many archeological sites and ruins found throughout the islands. There’s an aura of the supernatural here and a certain mystique, making the archipelago feel a world away from the luxury glamor of Tahiti. Our Marquesas Islands adventures are all about immersing you in the cultural and natural beauty of the islands while sailing, kayaking, and hiking.

Highlights:

  • Explore one of the most remote island groups in the world – a place where few have ventured before
  • Sail beneath soaring sea cliffs and Jurassic-like mountains cloaked in dense vegetation
  • Paddle through calm bays and along rocky coastlines while discovering secluded beaches and coves
  • Scuba dive and snorkel with manta rays and various friendly sharks
  • Witness ancient stone tikis and mysterious petroglyphs that hint at the rich cultural heritage of this Polynesian land
  • Hike through lush valleys dotted with towering coconut palms in search of cascading waterfalls and pristine swimming holes
  • Experience a traditional Marquesan feast and the warm hospitality of the local people

Weather:

While many South Pacific islands experience a wet season from November to April and a dry season from May to October, the Marquesas experience the opposite. Their dry season runs from November to April, bringing moderately low rainfall, while the wetter months fall between May and October. Even during this wet season, the Marquesas do not see the deluge of rain experienced by neighboring island groups.

Despite hugging the equator, the Marquesas are surprisingly arid compared to other islands at the same latitude. This is especially true in the northern islands like Nuku Hiva and Ua Pou, which are protected from heavy precipitation by their location and topography. As you travel south, the islands become progressively lusher due to higher rainfall. Tropical storms are rare, with the constant trade winds bringing pleasant temperatures between 22 and 31°C (70 to 87°F) throughout the year.

Nature & Wildlife:

On the island of Ua Huka, herds of wild horses roam freely across the hills and valleys while the rocky slopes of Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa provide the perfect habitat for sure-footed wild goats. Wild pigs and boars also inhabit the islands and can often be seen rooting around in search of food. For the local people, hunting these wild pigs and boars is a tradition and provides an important source of food.

When it comes to birdlife, keep your eyes peeled for fruit doves and flocks of energetic honeyeaters, as well as colorful parrots and melodious flycatchers. What is most striking about the avian life of the Marquesas is the large size of many species compared to their counterparts in other parts of the Pacific. Unlike neighboring island groups, the Marquesas are not protected by coral reefs but are still visited by large pelagics.