Nuku Hiva is the original tropical island setting of author Herman Melville’s book, Typee. Formerly known as Madison Island, Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands and the second largest in French Polynesia, following Tahiti. Picture the quintessential South Pacific island, with tall rugged cliffs, secluded bays, gorgeous sandy beaches lined with coconut palms and dense tropical jungles dotted with misty waterfalls and wildflower valleys. That’s Nuku Hiva for you, rich with natural, cultural and archeological treasures. Walk down to the lovely Hakatea Bay or the scenic Taioha’e Bay with its waterfront promenade. Hike up to Tekao, the island’s highest peak, for magnificent panoramic views from the summit. Enjoy an excursion to the misty Vaipo Waterfall, the highest cascade in Polynesia. When you’re not horse riding or hiking down the verdant valleys, mountains and forests, visit the many archaeological sites dotting the island. Discover sacred statues (or tiki), open-air community spaces (or tohua) and ruins of ancient homesteads (or pae pae) while trekking through the dense jungles. Visit local settlements to get to know the islanders better and learn about their daily lives and their exquisite craftsmanship.
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