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French Polynesia

Marquesas Islands

The Marquesas Islands lie 1,400kms northeast of Tahiti and comprise twelve volcanic islands, the smaller six are uninhabited, the other six are home to 7,000 people.

Farther from a continental landfall than any other group of islands on earth, the twelve Marquesas jut out of the open Pacific just south of the equator, shrouded in a constant cloud cover. Brooding volcanic pinnacles pierce the landscape, while the lush vegetation overflows with sweet-smelling plumeria, bougainvillea, orchids, spider lilies, flamboyant, ginger, ylang-ygland, jasmine and tiare flowers.

Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana arrived at this Eden in 1595 and stayed long enough to name the islands Las Marquesas de Mendoza for the wife of his patron. Later, whalers, missionaries, and explorers wreaked havoc upon the population of 50,000 with rifles and diseases. Today, some 7,000 people inhabit six of the islands, while six remain uninhabited.

France helps support the Marquesas, providing the basics of modernization, from schools to rustic roads. The beneath these civilized trappings, a wild pulse still leaps in the streams and the fierceness of the old religion remains alive in the ruins and tikis half devoured by jungle.

The Marquesas Islands, named by its people ěTe Henau Enanaî (Land of the Men), consist of six inhabited islands and six smaller unpopulated islands.

They are divided into two distinct groups about 60 miles apart. Nuku-Hiva, the administrative and economic center of the Marquesas, lies 932 miles northeast of Tahiti, in the northern group. Ua Huka and Ua Pou are also in this group, with the southern Marquesas including Hiva Oa, Tahuata and Fatu Hiva.

How to get there:
AIR TAHITI has 5 flights a week from Tahiti to Nuku Hiva (3 1/2 hour flight).
By boat: the mixed-freighter ARANUI takes up to 100 passenger in air-conditionned cabins for a 16 day cruise from Tahiti to the Marquesas through the Tuamotu archipelago and back. It offers deluxe accomodation and meals as well as land excursions in the various islands.

Where to stay
Accommodations are available in only a few hotels (Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa) and small pensions and family homes on each island, and activities include Landrover excursions, horseback riding, hiking over mountain trails and to inland cascades, picnics on the beach or mountains, deep-sea fishing, sailing, motorboat rides, visits to archaeological sites, visits to artisansí workshops to buy wood carvings, tapa hangings and monoi perfumed oils.

For more regional information on the Marquesas Group, go to:

For hotels on the Marquesas Islands, go to:

For more general information on French Polynesia, go to:

For more regional information on French Polynesia, go to:

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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).

I. To see minimum rates and availability for the hotels in this area,  press the button "Hotel Overview" From for night(s)

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