The island of Nuku Hiva (387 sq km, 2,660 inhabitants) is the largest island of the Marquesas. This is an island of great scenic beauty with high basaltic mountains, plateaus, waterfalls, green valleys, and rocky shores overlooking the sea. The highest mountain on the island is Mount Tekao, which reaches a height of 1,224 meters. American captain Joseph Ingraham was the first westerner to discover and land in Nuku Hiva in April 1791.
There are four main villages on the island: Taiohae, Hatiheu, Taipivai, and Aakapa. Taiohae is the administrative center and the capital of the Marquesas islands. This town is dominated by Mount Muake (864 meters) and Mount Moukaopaoho (527 meters), and is located on the bottom of a beautiful bay. The population of the island practices subsistence agriculture. The fruits of the bread tree, taro, cassava, coconut and many types of fruit grow on the island. Goats, pigs, and horses are bred there. Fishing is practiced in the waters around the island.
Among the places to visit on the island we find the Hakaui valley. Here among majestic rock walls, made green by vegetation, there is the Vaipo waterfall, which makes a jump of 350 meters from the mountain above. Nuku Hiva has numerous archaeological sites, the most famous being those of the Taipivai (Paeke) valley, Hikokua, Kamuihei and Tahakia, where meae, tohua, pae pae, tikis and interesting petroglyphs are found. Other places to visit are the bay of Hatiheu, dominated by impressive basaltic rock formations, and the nearby bay of Anaho with a beautiful white sand beach.
HOW TO GET TO NUKU HIVA
The island has an airport which is located at the north-west end. The island is connected by regular flights with Tahiti and the other Marquesas islands with an airport, namely Ua Pou, Ua Huka, and Hiva Oa. Alternatively, the cruise with the Aranui cargo ship is a great option to visit the island.