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Cruise to the Marquesas Islands with the Aranui cargo ship

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One of the most beautiful and interesting ways to visit the Marquesas islands is to take a cruise aboard the Aranui 5 cargo ship. This is an interesting combination of a transport ship and a cruise ship operating between Tahiti and the Marquesas archipelago. The ship offers various levels of accommodation for up to 254 passengers (Suites, Deluxe, Standard and Class C) as well as a small swimming pool, a deck for sunbathing, and interesting conferences held by professors who are experts in Polynesian culture. The price of the cruise includes all meals and all excursions.


The complete itinerary from Tahiti to Tahiti is carried out in 14 days. It allows the visit of all the inhabited islands of the Marquesas archipelago.


After leaving Tahiti, Aranui makes the first stop in the Fakarava atoll in the Tuamotu, where cruise passengers have a whole morning at their disposal to swim or snorkel in the warm waters of the lagoon.


After a day of sailing at sea, the ship arrives in the first island of the Marquesas, the most important island of the archipelago, Nuku Hiva. Aranui docks in Taiohae bay, a spectacular volcanic amphitheater dominated by sheer cliffs. In Nuku Hiva two more stopovers are made in the villages of Hatiheu and Taipivai. During the excursions ancient Polynesian ceremonial centers with petroglyphs and sacred tikis are visited. In particular the archaeological centers of the Taipivai valley are visited.


The next day the ship visits the spectacular Ua Pou, characterized by the imposing and bizarre mountains of the center of the island. Here two stops are made in the villages of Hakahau and Hakahetau.


The day after Aranui docks on the island of Hiva Oa, in the village of Puamau. Today’s excursion leads to visit the important Polynesian archaeological center of Puamau with its great tikis, the largest in Polynesia outside Easter Island. Then the ship stops on the island of Tahuata in the village of Kokuu.

The next day the ship is still on the island of Hiva Oa. The ship stops in the port of Atuona, famous for being the burial place of Paul Gauguin. After a short crossing, we dedicate ourselves to visiting the island of Tahuata, here we will visit the village of Vaitahu where the main attraction is a beautiful church decorated by natives with wooden sculptures.


The next day is dedicated to visiting the most isolated and greenest island of the archipelago, the legendary Fatu Hiva. The first stop is made in the village of Omoa, where the inhabitants still today continue to manufacture tapa fabrics. From Omoa the most athletic can travel the 17 km of road that connects Omoa to Hanavave, here in the spectacular Bay of the Virgins they will find Aranui. The Bay of the Virgins is one of the most beautiful bays in the world dominated by very particular shaped rock formations …..


Today is the day of the visit of Ua Huka, the island of wild horses. Aranui will stop in the three villages of Vaipaee, Hane and Hokatu. The island is famous for its beautiful wild landscapes with the Pacific ocean to act as In the background. The island also has an interesting museum dedicated to the art of the Marquesas islands and a beautiful botanical garden full of flowers and fruits.


This is the last day spent in the Marquesas islands. Aranui will dock in the village of Tahioae on the island of Nuku Hiva and then make a new stop on the island of Ua Pou in the village of Hakahau.


After a full day of sailing the ship arrives in the atoll of Rangiroa. this is the second largest atoll in the world and the largest of the Tuamotu. On the last day of the cruise the cargo ship stops in the island of Bora Bora, the jewel of the French Polynesia.

The next morning Aranui arrives in Papeete where this exciting cruise to discover the wild Marquesas islands ends.


  • 1st day: Departure from Papeete, Tahiti around 10.30 am.
  • 2nd day: Tuamotu archipelago – Fakarava.
  • 3rd day: at sea.
  • 4th day: Nuku Hiva (Taiohae-Hatiheu-Taipivai).
  • 5th day: Ua Pou (Hakahau-Hakahetau).
  • 6th day: Hiva Oa (Puamau) and Tahuata (Kokuu).
  • 7th day: Hiva Oa (Atuona) and Tahuata (Vaitahu – Hapatoni).
  • 8th day: Fatu Hiva (Omoa-Hanavave).
  • 9th day: Ua Huka (Vaipaee-Hane-Hokatu).
  • 10th day: Nuku Hiva (Taiohae) and Ua Pou (Hakahau).
  • 11th day: at sea.
  • 12th day: Tuamotu archipelago – Rangiroa.
  • 13th day: Society Islands – Bora Bora.
  • 14th day: Arrival in Papeete, Tahiti around 9.30 in the morning.

In recent years, Aranui offers, once or twice a year, also interesting alternative itineraries that touch Pitcairn, the Austral Islands and the Cook Islands.

The climate of the Marquesas Islands.

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