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Fatu Hiva Hiva Oa Nuku Hiva Tahuata Ua Huka Ua Pou

French Polynesia


Fatu Hiva (Marquesas Islands)

Experience the natural wonder of the Bay of Virgins on beautiful Fatu Hiva, the most southerly island. Fatu Hiva is the southernmost island of the Marquesas archipelago, 35 miles southeast of Tahuata.

The island is wild and spectacularly beautiful. The jungle greenery begins at the waterís edge, with narrow ravines, deep gorges and luxuriant valleys briefly open to view as the boat glides past, close to the sheer cliffs that plunge straight down into the splashing surf.

The Bay of Virgins was sculpted by Nature in her most generous mood. Rock curtains, which Catholic missionaries said were formed as veiled virgins, enclose Hanavava Bay. White patches of goats and sheep look down from their green mansions above the quiet harbor.

Blessed with abundant rain and rich, fertile soil, sweet and juicy citrus fruits fill the gardens. Large, tasty shrimp live in the rivers that rush through each valley and rock lobsters are plentiful. Dried bananas are a specialty of Fatu Hiva, as is the Umu Hei Monoi -- a delightful blend of coconut oil, sandalwood, spearmint, jasmine, ginger root, pineapple, sweet basil, gardenia, pandanus fruit, ylang-ylang and other mysterious herbs.

These flowers and herbs are used as perfumes for massages to seduce a boyfriend or to ward off mosquitoes. Sculptors carve miro (rosewood), tou and sandalwood, plus coconuts and basaltic stones. They produce bowls, platters, small canoes, turtles, tiki and other designs. The artisans of Fatu Hiva still produce tapa cloth, made from the bark of trees and painted with the same designs their ancestors formerly wore as tattoos.

The 497 inhabitants live in the villages of Omoa and Hanavave, which are separated by 3 miles of sea. A narrow path winds over the mountains between the two villages offering a challenging hike and panoramic views. The Catholic church in Omoa is one of the most picturesque scenes in any Marquesan village. Facilities include food stores, a post office, direct dial international communications, a town hall and primary schools.

Accommodation is offered in small pensions and family homes on each island and activities include hiking on mountain trails, horseback riding, deep sea fishing and sailing.

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We have included French Polynesia in some of our specials to the South Pacific, eg. our Kontiki Voyage and South Sea Dream Voyage. Another option is to create your own package to French Polynesia by utilizing the seperate travel components, like hotels, flights and excursions on the islands.

For a legal wedding the legal requires in French Polynesia that you remain at least 30 days in French Polynesia before the marriage. In practice this means you may only have a ceremonial wedding in French Polynesia (see also Tiki Village).

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