The coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, and many of the countries around the world are still not open for tourism. Japan, despite deciding to move forward with the Tokyo Olympics games this summer, is unfortunately not opening its doors to tourists.
Some tourist destinations, though, have been welcoming travelers from the United States and other parts of the globe. French Polynesia, for instance, announced a couple of months ago that Tahiti and the rest of the islands have re-opened to tourists from the United States.
If you’re looking to spend your summer vacation outside the country (or want to do away with the conventional summertime road trips), head over to the Marquesas Islands.
Where are the Marquesas Islands?
The Marquesas Islands are an archipelago situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The islands are approximately 932 miles northeast of Tahiti. If you’re a fan of the hit reality television series Survivor, you’ll know that the fourth season called Survivor: Marquesas was set on the island of Nuku Hiva.
Why Visit Marquesas Islands
You won’t be disappointed when you visit this area of French Polynesia.
Here are a few great reasons to spend your vacation at the Marquesas Islands:
Fantastic Diving Destination
Travelers brave enough to scuba dive in an open ocean off the Marquesan island of Nuku Hiva will find something awesome and memorable. This geographically isolated island is home to incredible marine species, including manta rays, jackfish, swordfish, tuna, eagle rays and many more.
You can go horseback riding, hiking or riding a four-wheeler to explore the breathtaking landscapes of the Marquesas Islands. Check out the destination’s picturesque rivers, valleys, peaks and waterfalls. Adventure lovers will surely enjoy 405 square miles of enjoyment.
Rich Culture and Vegetation
The coasts of the Marquesas Islands are a mix of beautiful bays and stunning sandy beaches. You’ll discover thousands of pre-European artifacts along with boars, goats, wild horses and other wildlife. What’s more, you’ll find that Marquesans are revered as French Polynesia’s finest craftsmen. Their creations include traditional jewelry, intricate tattoos and carvings.
How to Get to the Marquesas Islands
Traveling to the Marquesas Islands would mean hopping on a flight to French Polynesia. Take note that there are no direct international flights to the Marquesas Islands. Tahiti is the only gateway to these islands. As of this writing, you can mainly travel with Air France, French bee and Air Tahiti Nui on an international flight.
Once you arrive in Tahiti, you can take a domestic flight to Nuku Hiva.
What to Do in the Marquesas Islands
A visit to this destination is a guaranteed adventure. If you’re looking for things to do in the Marquesas Islands, consider the following suggestions:
Get to Know the Marquesan Islanders
The locals are proud of their unique heritage and connected to their land. Marquesan Islanders are famous throughout the territory for their hospitality, tattoos, craftsmanship and toughness. When you have the opportunity, find a local guide who can show you around the island. They will be more than glad to take you to the breathtaking spots of the Marquesas Islands, show you how Mother Nature provides for the locals and share with you the history of their ancestors.
Hike to Anaho Bay
Anaho Bay, located on the island of Nuku Hiva, starts with a short hike through a thick forest of mango trees. After you’ve finished snacking, head over to the ridgeline to get your first glimpse of the bay. If going on a nature vacation is on your travel bucket list, make sure you check out this tourist destination.
Make Your Way to Hatiheu Village
Taiohae isn’t the only village in Nuku Hiva. After driving a few bends, you should find the jagged cliffs of Hatiheu. Life in this village seems to go by a rhythm of its own. While you’re here, see if you can find the Virgin Mary statue hoisted at the top of the cliffs a long time ago. Also, don’t forget to go for a stroll, say hello to the locals and have an amazing lunch.
Spend Time in Hakaui Valley
A day spent in this region will surely be one of your most unforgettable memories on your adventure in French Polynesia. You’ll find Hakaui Valley blanketed by coconut palms. This tourist attraction also conceals Vaipo Waterfall, the highest waterfall in French Polynesia.
Purchase Exquisite Souvenirs
The Marquesas Islands are famous throughout French Polynesia for exquisite crafts. After you’re done meeting locals and sightseeing, don’t forget to bring souvenirs back home.
Every island has at least one crafts center, which houses local artists. If you’re lucky, you could meet locals who can show you how to make artwork in real-time at their shop. A few of the souvenirs that you can purchase and take home include tapa paintings, tiki statues from wood and decorated wooden bowls.
Where to Stay in the Marquesas Islands
Many of the islands in the Marquesas area remain uninhabited. Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva are only two islands in the archipelago with hotel accommodations. If you’re unsure where to stay, consider making reservations at Hiva Oa Hanakee Lodge or Le Nuku Hiva by Pearl Resorts. Alternatively, you could stay at one of the guesthouses available around the islands.
Visiting the Marquesas Islands is something you should do if you want an international vacation. You’ll surely enjoy checking out rare and magnificent attractions and meeting locals who are proud of their wonderful heritage.