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Hiva Oa is the second largest island in the Marquesas Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean.


This majestic and historic island is known for its wild, untamed landscape, giant stone tiki, endless and unearthly vistas, and as the final resting place of poet Jacques Brel and artist Paul Gauguin. Hiva Oa has many huge and interesting pre-European archaeological sites offering maraes, tikis and petroglyphs

Get in[edit]

Air Tahiti flies from Tahiti to Hiva Oa daily, on some days directly, on some days you have connected flights via Nuku Hiva, the "main" island of Marquesas Islands. There are also daily flights to Nuku Hiva

The Aranui III is a mixed passenger/cargo vessel that operates between Tahiti and the Marquesas. In its 14-day voyages once or twice a month it visits atolls of Tuamotus and 6 inhabited islands of Marquesas including Hiva Oa, which she visits twice (stopping for one day each time)

Get around[edit]

Ask your hosts to collect you from the airport, as there are no taxis or other ways of public transportation on the island

Both 4WD excursions and 4WD rent-a-cars are available, order through pension owners or directly:

  • Atuona Rent-a-car, +689 92 79 79, 72 17 17
  • Hiva Oa Location, +689 91 70 60, 72 83 83
  • David Location, +689 92 72 87
Tiki of the chief Taka'i'i, in the archeological site of Mea'e Te l'Ipona, close to the village of Puamau


  • Espace Culturel Paul Gaugin (Museum of Paul Gaugin), Atuona. 8-11AM & 2-5PM Mon-Thu, 7:30AM-2:30PM Fri, 8-11AM Sat. Has exhibition of copies (including scanned and than printed digital copies) of Paul Gaugin's works, a couple of archaeological finds on Gaugin's yard; and a rebuilt copy of Maison du Jouir, painter's own house
  • Calvaire Cemetery. Pauil Gaugin and Jacques Brel are buried in the small Calvaire cemetery on a hill overlooking Atuona
  • Centre Jacques Brel, behind Espace Culturel Paul Gaugin. 8-11AM & 2-3PM Mon-Thu, 7:30AM-2:30PM Fri; 8-11AM Sat. 500XFP.
  • Smiling Tiki, on the road from Atuona to airport look carefully for a hand-made sign on the right; than a 200m walk to a forest. A statue of Smiling Tiki, 1m high, stands alone in a clearing
  • Tehueto petroglyphs. Hidden high up in the Tahauku valley, a good walk from Atuona. It's difficult to find, so hire a guide
  • Taaoa archaeological site, near Taaoa, 7km drive from Atuona. Remains of a huge marae
  • Iipona archaeological site, near village of Puamau, a 2 hour 4x4 drive from Atuona. One of the best-preserved and most interesting archaeological sites in French Polynesia, offers remains of marae and some tikis
  • Tiki Moeone, near village of Hanapaaoa, a 1,5-hour 4WD drive from Atuona. This interesting tiki has a crown around his head. It's hidden in a forest and you will not be able to find it yourself, so hire a guide
  • Petroglyphs, near village Hanatekuua. Hanatekuua is a picturesque village itself with well-preserved petroglyphs near the entrance. As usual, you will not find petroglyphs yourself, so ...


4x4 Safari[edit]



Atuona and villages on the island have grocery stores

Restaurants in pensions offer mix of Polynesian and French cuisine. Some people think that the best venue on the island is the restaurant in Hanakee Hiva Oa Pearl Lodge, there are also some places in Atuona:


In pensions


  • Temetiu Village, BP 52 HivaOa Iles Marquises 98741 Atuona Polynésie française, +689 917060, . A clean 2* family run pension in only 10 min walk from Atuona, 6 bungalows with excellent view over Tahauku bay, friendly owners and staff, small pool, and high-quality meals. Wi-Fi. 7,080-10,000XFP.
  • Hiva Oa Hanakee Pearl Lodge, +689 927587, . The island's most luxurious resort on top of a hill overlooking Tahauku Bay only 10 min drive from Atuona, but pricey. It has 14 bungalows, a restaurant with French cuisine, swimming pool, everything with spectacular view. Wi-Fi.


Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Hiva Oa is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.