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Ua Huka: the wild horse paradise of the Marquesas

The island of Ua Huka (83 km², 571 inhabitants) is located in the archipelago of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. The island is located 35 km east of the island of Nuku Hiva and 55 km northeast of the island of Ua Pou. The first westerner to discover it was, in 1791, the American captain Joseph Ingraham.

The island, like all the Marquesas, is volcanic in nature, and appears barren and desolate, but it is a paradise for wild horses of the Marquesas. Its highest point is Mount Hitikau, which reaches 856 meters in height. The island is made up of two overlapping volcanic buildings.

There are three villages on the island: Vaipaee, Hokatu and Hane, all of which are located along the southern coast. The inhabitants are famous for the creation of handicrafts especially for wooden sculptures. The main center is Vaipaee, here there is a museum dedicated to the culture of the island and a botanical garden.

Thousands of seabirds nest in the small islets (motu) off the coast of Ua Huka. Some species of endemic birds of the Marquesas live on the island, including the ultramarine lorikeet (Vini ultramarina). This bird, locally called “pihiti”, is a superb blue parrot that now lives only on this island. Another endemic bird is the imperial pigeon of the Marquesas (Ducula galeata) called in Polynesian “upe”.

The island is traditionally believed to be the first to have been inhabited by the Polynesians. There are several archaeological settlements, the most important are those of Hatuana, Meiaute, Vaikivi and the bay of Haavei.


The island has a small airport, located in its southern part, between the villages of Vaipaee and Hane. Ua Huka is connected by regular Air Tahiti flights with Tahiti, Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou and Hiva Oa. Alternatively, the cruise with the Aranui cargo ship is a great option to visit the island.

The climate of the Marquesas Islands.


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