Shaped by volcanic activity, the Marquesas Islands will dazzle you with its soaring cliffs, tumbling waterfalls and stunning beaches. The archipelago is marooned in the Pacific Ocean and made up of 12 islands, some inhabited and others deserted.
Taiohae on Nuku Hiva Island is a gateway to the archipelago. The town is set on a turquoise bay and framed by jungle-covered mountains. Atuona, a laid-back waterfront village on Hiva Oa, is another popular base. The air is perfumed with the aromas of papayas, mangoes and vanilla grown in surrounding plantations. Venture into the jungled interior to visit ancient archaeological sites like Takaii, one of the biggest tiki statues in French Polynesia.
The Marquesas Islands are rich in French Polynesian history, culture and traditions. The locals are talented craftspeople and will impress you with intricate woodcarvings and jewellery. Dine on traditional dishes like raw tuna soaked in coconut milk and spit roast pig.
At 1,230 metres above sea level, Mount Oave is the tallest peak in the archipelago. It soars over Ua Pou Island and commands far-reaching views over the island and shimmering Pacific Ocean. Strap on scuba gear and explore vibrant underwater ecosystems to be amazed as sharks, manta rays, swordfish and dolphins cruise by.
The Marquesas Islands are in French Polynesia. Airports are located on Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa. Other options include passenger ships and private boats, while 4x4 rentals are the best way to get around the Marquesas Islands.