Hiva Oa, Paul Gauguin's Island

(Marquesas Islands)


Introduction to Hiva Oa

Hiva Oa, the island where Paul Gauguin came to rest has maintained her savage characteristics and traditional ways. As a result, you will have the impression this land is untouched by the 20th century. Come to Hiva Oa to discover the secrets and stories of the Marquesas. While you venture past papaya and banana trees into hidden valleys, you’ll discover the largest tikis ever to be found in Polynesia. It seems like these strange statues surrounded by pebbles, speak the language of ancient times. Most noteworthy are the thousands of cult sites “ma’am” which emerge from lava stones.  You’ll encounter them from the Valley of Taaoa to Hanaui, Hanapeteo and Hanatekua. Walk the footsteps of Gauguin and experience the hospitality of the Marquesan people who will welcome you with a thundering “Koaha Nui.”


Where is Hiva Oa?

Hiva Oa is about 852 miles northeast of Tahiti.  It is a three-hour flight from Tahiti and an hour ahead of Tahiti. The nearest continental land mass is Mexico which lies about 3,000 miles away. Consequently, the Marquesas Islands are one of the most remote in the world.

Map of Hiva Oa

Hotels in Hiva Oa

While on Hiva Oa you’ll find just one hotel — the Hanakee Lodge. Most noteworthy are the local artists/sculptors who have designed each of the 14 bungalows. In addition, one of the best ways to experience Hiva Oa is via the Aranui 5. The Aranui 5 is a working cargo freighter, that transports food and other essentials items to these remote islands. At the same time, it operates as fine cruise ship for passengers wanting to explore more deeply, the Marquesas Islands.


Hanakee Lodge


Aranui 5

What to do in Hiva Oa

Because Hiva Oa calls for exploration, we encourage you to put on your hiking shoes and discover high mountains. In addition, we want you to explore remote beaches, hidden waterfalls and dense forests. Finally, we hope you will discover first hand, the ancient archaeological sites of stone tikis and petroglyphs. While visiting the island of Tahuata, we hope you’ll stop along the way to explore the villages of Vaitahu and Hapatoni. In addition, be sure to pick up some wood carvings as the Marquesan designs are coveted the world over.