February 15 to 24
February 26 to March 7
What makes this trip special
- Explore the most remote Island group in the world
- Traverse the Marquesas onboard a comfortable and spacious Catamaran
- Incredible hiking through dense jungle, deep valleys
- Spectacular coastlines, with incredible paddling
- Visit fascinating archaeological sites
- Meet the locals and get to know the Marquesas culture
Journey through the Marquesas Islands onboard a 60 foot Catamaran, explore at least 4 islands within the archipelago starting on Nuku Hiva and finishing in Hiva Oa. The Marquesas are known for their rugged spectacular scenery with 1000 metre basalt spires, soaring sea cliffs and gorgeous beaches. The Jurassic like landscape offers exciting kayaking opportunities as we paddle through calm bays or along the islands rugged coastline. Our hikes will take us to through lush, empty valleys filled with the remnants of the ancient Polynesian people, we’ll visit spectacular viewpoints where we will see volcanic peaks, and the Pacific Ocean colliding with the rugged coastline and spend time cooling down at refreshing waterfalls and rivers.
We will also meet the locals and be invited to share a traditional Marquesan feast and explore the cultural heritage of the islands, ancient sculptures and significant anthropomorphic structures.
The Marquesas Islands are a group of 15 jungle clad volcanic Islands rising straight out of the pacific ocean to the east of Tahiti. They are part of French Polynesian Tahiti, but offer a very different experience to the well known and very developed Tahiti. Because of the remote and rugged nature of the Marquesas Islands, there is very little development, no resorts, and very few organized tours. The local people are polynesians, and have a unique language, culture, art, and religious beliefs.
The Marquesas Islands sit close to to the equator, and the Islands in the South-East have the most rainfall, while the Islands in the North West are considered semi-arid. The temperatures throughout the year vary between 24 to 31 degrees celsius, and the water temperature hovers around 28 degrees year round. The dry and calm season is November to March, but rainfall amounts vary between islands even during the dry season.
We’ll use a 60 ft Catamaran as our main form of transport between locations and islands. Whenever possible during a transit we’ll pull out the sails and use the power of the wind. The Catamaran will also be our home for the trip, we’ll sleep and eat most of our meals onboard.
Our main mode of exploration during this trip will be kayaking. Depending on the weather each day, we will explore protected bays or more exposed and rugged coastlines. The basalt nature of these islands offers the potential for sea caves and arches and lots of rock hopping. We will land on remote, black sand beaches and enjoy swims in the tropical water of Tahiti!
The hiking on the Marquesas Islands is not to be missed, as the view from the tops of the mountain spines are incredible! With a maximum of 1200m of elevation gain, the view points are a marvel as we peer over the steep valleys, the volcanic cones, and the pacific ocean rolling past these islands. There are several waterfalls we can Hiking allows us the opportunity to visit local villages and experience culturally significant sites filled with tiki sculptures.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
The Marquesas has very little fringing reef however the snorkelling and scuba diving is quite good. Often we’ll snorkel or dive with Manta Rays, Sharks or large schools of fish.
Scuba Diving is only offered to certified divers. There is a certified dive master onboard who runs the scuba diving program, all diving equipment is provided for a surcharge.
The Marquesas is home to wild horses, and the local people have integrated the horse into their culture and lives. Horseback riding is an optional activity for those interested.
- 10 days and 9 nights onboard a comfortable catamaran
- All meals while on trip
- 1 dedicated captain, first mate and chef
- 1 western kayak guide
- full fleet of kayaks consisting of 3 doubles and 3 singles
- all kayaking gear
- Airport Transfers
What's Not Included
- All flights
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Surcharge for Scuba Diving
- Hotels and transfers in Papeete
The itinerary may change depending on weather and sea state. There are many things to do and see in the Marquesas, this itinerary is an example, but we can change and customize the trip as need be to make it the best experience possible.
Pick up from Nuka Hiva airport, 1 hour transfer across the top of the island to Taiohae village. The drive is spectacular and we’ll stop at several view point to take it in. Board the Catamaran and move into your cabin. Orientation and safety briefing. Afternoon paddle in Taiohae bay and along the coast to Hakatea Bay. Anchor in Hakatea Bay for the night.
Hike deep into the awe-inspiring Hakaui Valley to Vaipo Waterfall the highest in French Polynesia and third highest in the world. We’ll follow an ancient royal road once used King Te Moana and Queen Vaekehu passing numerous ancient sites and ruins. The landscape in this valley is nothing short of spectacular as the valley slices through the basalt interior of the island. The hike finishes at a refreshing swimming hole at the base of Vaipo falls surrounded by towering basalts peaks and spires.
On the way back we’ll stop off at a local family’s house and be treated to a traditional lunch. In the afternoon we’ll set sail and transit around the north coast of Nuka Hiva and anchor in beautiful Anaho Bay.
In the morning we’ll leave the peaceful waters of Anaho Bay and paddle around to Hatiheu Bay. The coastline on this paddle is absolutely stunning. The Catamaran will follow us and we’ll meet it out of the front of Hatiheu village. After lunch onboard we’ll go to shore and visit this pretty and friendly village. We’ll then hike up to Teavairaoaoa Pass granting exceptional views of Anaho Bay. Descending along a steep winding track into Anaho Bay we’ll enjoy a pleasant swim before continuing the hike over to Haatuatua Bay, this easy 30 minute scroll takes us to one of the most beautiful beaches in the Marquesas a long yellow sand beach framed by spectacular basalt peaks.
We’ll leave Anaho Bay early and make the 4 hour transit down to the island of Ua Pou. We hope to see Melon Headed Whales and Spinner Dolphins along the transit they are frequently seen on the East Coast of Nuka Hiva.
The relatively small island of Ua Pou is dominated by 12 spectacular basalt pinnacles which soar to a height of 1200 meters, the highest point in the Marquesas. After the transit we’ll anchor in front of Hakahetau Village. In the afternoon we’ll hike up through the village and follow a jungle track along a river finishing with a refreshing dip at stunning waterfall. A short sunset sail will see us transit around to the West Coast of Ua Pou to a beautiful and calm anchorage.
We’ll paddle along the rugged and beautiful West Coast of the island. This coastline is dominated by towering sea cliffs, punctuated by cute Marquesas villages. There are extensive bird colonies along this coastline with large populations of Frigates, Terns and Noddies. There’s also excellent snorkeling opportunities and we’ll stop half way along the coast to explore the underwater world, quite often we’re snorkeling with Manta Rays or small sharks. In the evening we’ll transit around to Hakahau the largest settlement on the island.
Today we’ll be joined by a couple locals from Ua Pou, they’ll be our guides and show us around the island. Heading into the spectacularly rugged interior of the island a landscape dominated by the 12 basalt pillars that loom overhead constantly. We’ll make several stops at viewpoints to take in the majesty of the island before visiting some local artisans and learn how to find rare stones on the island and transform them into the stunning pieces of art that Marquesas are known for, there are several opportunities on the trip to purchase these art pieces directly from the locals. After a massive traditional buffet lunch in the village of Hakatao we’ll head back to Hakahau village and prepare for our overnight transit to Hiva Oa.
We’ll wake up in the Puamau Bay. The village of Puamau sits on a coastal plain, backgrounded by a massive amphitheater of mountains. There’s definitely a special feeling to this place. It’s home to one of the most extensive and best preserved archaeological sites in French Polynesia. Iipona is a huge religious sanctuary or Meae. It covers almost 2 hectares and features numerous stone sculptures, petroglyphs and Tikis. We’ll go ashore in the morning and walk up to Iipona, aided by a local guide who will share valuable insights as we explore this fascinating historical site.
In the afternoon we’ll transit around to the incredibly picturesque Hanatekuua Bay for a swim and a snorkel.
After breakfast we’ll go to shore and hike up to Hanahaoe Pass, along the way there are superb views in all directions. Returning to the beach we’ll have a refreshing dip. After lunch we’ll load into the kayaks and paddle along the stunning north coast of Hiva Oa, there are a number of small bays to explore along way, as the sun starts setting we’ll get back onto the Catamaran and transit down to the island of Tahuata.
Tahuata is the little sister to Hiva Oa, with little infrastructure and no airstrip it feels even wilder than the larger islands to the north. We’ll wake up in Hapatoni Bay. This lovely bay features some of the best snorkelling in the Marquesas, Manta Rays are often seen here as are large pods of spinner dolphins. The small village is lined with 100 year old Tamanu trees, it has a very laid-back, easy going feel which beckons for a stroll. In the afternoon we’ll paddle north along the coast exploring the many bays. As the sun starts setting we’ll get back in board the Catamaran and make the short transit back to Hiva Oa.
Departure day, after breakfast we take a short dinghy ride to Atuona village where we’ll meet the taxi to the airport.
End of trip.
The Yacht –
Our home for this trip is a well appointed, spacious and comfortable Catamaran – Aquatiki 2.
At over 18m long and 6 meters wide there’s plenty of space. She boasts a large dining table both inside and outside as well as a large inside lounge and 2 covered outside sitting areas. We aim to sail as much as possible but when there’s no wind Aquatiki calls on it’s two 38 Horsepower engines allowing it to cruise at 8 knots comfortably.
There’s 220 volt outlets throughout the boat including in the cabins.
Starlink system is onboard with full internet access
A dedicated ice machine for cocktail hour
A desalinator producing 190 litres of freshwater per hour with a 1000 litre water tank.
A medium-sized bar fridge dedicated to beers, soft drinks and cocktails
There are 4 guest cabins, each cabin has a private ensuite with toilet, sink and shower.
Air conditioning in all the cabins as well as fans and hatches
Hot water on demand both in the cabins and on the back deck
The boat is fully set up for scuba diving and has a dedicated dive guide
Aquatiki has a full sized tender that can take 14 people with a 90 horsepower outboard
There’s a chef onboard who cooks up delicious meals which mostly consist of fresh fruit, locally caught fish, shrimp and lobster but balances it out with a couple chicken and beef meals.
The skipper is very experienced and goes above and beyond to make the trip as special as possible
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the weather like?
Are there sharks?
What type of kayaks will we paddle?
Can I purchase sculptures or carvings while on the trip?
Is there WiFi on the boat?
Is there phone service out in the islands?
Is the boat air conditioned?
Can you cater to dietary restrictions?
Do I need money?
Will we sail or motor between spots?
Really enjoyed being there … I only have positive things to say about the trip and the boat (so comfortable and spacious), the crew (so efficient, helpful and happy … they looked after us extremely well – they were so welcoming and made it clear that they were there to make the holiday as comfortable and enjoyable as possible – nothing was too much), the food (delicious) and of course the itinerary and organisation in getting around. I thought being able to see something of the three islands (Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka and Ua Pou) and the wildlife (dolphins, turtles, manta rays, frigates etc) was great … and of course really enjoyed the kayaking, especially going up river to that cold fresh water!!
Fantastic trip, highly recommend it.
Liz Morell, Sydney, Australia
It was a GREAT trip, the crew amazing as was the paddling. Jumping off the stern into the warm waters free was gift. Loved it from start to finish.
Chessell McGee, Maine, USA
The trip was a memorable success, spectacular scenery with great destinations and enough ‘extra curricular’ activities to keep you on your toes. The trip around the islands really couldn’t be faulted, and the planning that had gone into it was obvious.
It was also a positive that the itinerary was flexible enough to allow for the prevailing weather conditions.
The crew were great. Greg,Tom and Almondine were so helpful and knowledgeable; they couldn’t do more to make our experience the best it could be.
Ian Smout, Coolum Beach, Queensland Australia
Once you’ve filled on our online booking form we will contact you within 24hrs. Our follow up email will include the detailed trip notes.
We’ll also send you a medical form, this helps us make any necessary preparations it does not exclude you from the trip. To secure the booking we require a 1000 Euro deposit for each person. If you’d prefer to contact us directly we can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at +12502662515
We’d be happy to discuss different trip options and help you find the perfect expedition holiday.
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