Discovering the Marquesas archipelago (part 4): Ua Huka


After visiting Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa, we finally landed on the last island of our Marquesas trip, Ua Huka. We decided to spend 3 days on this very small island as everybody told us that it was the most magic and wild one, absolutely different from all the other islands. And indeed, we really made a trip “into the wild”…..

The first thing very exciting when going to Ua Huka island is the plane. Yes, because this very small island (only 8 km from north to south and 12 km from east to west…) has a very little airport and only a very small plane can land there. This plane is called the Twin Otter, has max 19 seats for passengers (+ 2 pilots of course…) and brings you a big rush of adrenaline when taking off!! And during the flight you really have the sensation of flying, I mean that it isn’t like in those big airplanes where you can feel comfortable, you really are in the air and every variation of the wind has an effect on the plane, shaking it in every direction! But the pilots seemed to have the control of the situation and laughed sometimes when the plane was shaking, telling us that it was normal in such a little plane and that they never had any accident before….

After more than 1/2 hour flight, we saw Ua Huka from the airs: wow, what an island! No huge tropical forest on here, but a very dry area, full of colors, from yellow to brown with the blue from the sky and the sea….. And as soon as we landed I smelled something typical I knew before: it was exactly the same smell as in Corsica (you know, this beautiful french island in the mediterranean sea just in front of the Cote d’azur…)!! I spent almost all my summer holidays there when I was a kid and, wow, that was a strong and strange feeling! It’s surprising how a smell can be powerfull in your memory and bring you back to your childhood in a few seconds. And more surprising is when you absolutely don’t expect this smell of a “maquis corse” in the middle of the pacific ocean on a very small island! At this right moment I thought myself “Oh man, I think I gonna love this place”! :)

At the airport we were welcomed by the owner from our hotel (or more a family pension, as there’s no real hotel on the island) and I said to him that this island was smelling like Corsica, and he answered me that a lot of people told him the same before!

Our family pension was called “Le rêve marquisien” (“The marquesian dream”) and it was surely a dreamy place to stay. And the owners were really very very nice people, as if we were old friends coming for a visit. We ate together and had a lot of great moments talking together (Charles, the owner is almost 70 years old and had a life full of adventures….. :), often late at night after dinner. It was really the best place to stay….

Day 1

As soon as we were installed we wanted of course discover the island and asked for a car to rent. Charles told us that there was no car rental on Ua Huka, but we could take his own car, just paying for the gas. And we found ourselves with a beautiful yellow Range Rover to make the tour of the island! But in fact you can’t make the tour of the island, as there is only one road of 15 km length going through the 3 only villages from the island. I forgot to tell you that Ua Huka has only 500 inhabitants who live all in these3 villages, called Vaipoe, Hane and Hokatu. They’re located on the south coast, in the 3 valleys of Ua Huka, and every village is opening on beautiful bays with huge mountains going directly in the sea. The views are absolutely breathtaking…

Day 2

As we were a bit frustrated to have seen only a little part of the island in our car tour, we asked Charles how to discover the north of the island, “by horse, of course” he answered, and he immediately took his phone to find us a guide and horses to explore the north of Ua Huka. This part is so wild that nobody lives there and it’s the realm of wild horses and goats.

We were very excited about this trip into the wild on horseback and we had there one of these breathtaking life experiences you’ll never forget. The beauty of the wild nature, along with these impressing mountains, the changing colors of the environnement, and the encounter with all these wild horses… wow, a real feeling of total freedom and liberty, totally alone in one of the most beautiful places on earth….! The horses knew the way very well, we had nothing special to do… and sometimes it was surely better to be confident in our horses as we took some surreal ways to climb on the top of the mountains… When you’re in the valley you can’t even imagine that with a horse you can climb as high as that on some 1 meter large path… Sometimes we had the deep (very deep) view on the sea on our left and the very deep view on the valley on our right…. and the path made out of rocks was very very small…. At the highest point of the mountain I was thinking “don’t move, don’t try to make anything, don’t even try to shoot a picture and be confident in the horse or you’ll fall”…. well, again a big adrenaline rush in my veins….!!

Day 3

For our last day, we asked Charles if it was possible to go on the sea in a way or another. He called one of his friends, a fisherman (like every man on this island…) who was willing to take us out for a boat trip and show us in the same time how he’ll catches some huge tuna fishes.
So we made he whole tour by boat of the island, and the landscapes we saw the day before from the mountains, we could see them on the reversed way from the sea. And we thought ourselves “we were on the top of this mountain yesterday”… and saw how high it was…
One very surprising place on the sea is the “Birds island”, just 2 impressing rocks coming out of the sea in front of Ua Huka. These 2 rocks are totally colonized with birds and when you approach of them you hear them screaming loudly and a special smell…. well a birds smell with over thousand birds… ;)
And the fishing party was very interesting too, even if we came back without any fish. As the fisherman told us, “the fish decides and when the fish doesnt want to show up, you simply must eat something else!”

Well, this was it, the time of our holidays was over and we had a great great time in the Marquesas archipelago. Every of the 3 islands had something different and unique. And there are other islands in this archipelago we hadn’t the time to visit (Ua Pou, Fatu Hiva, Tahuata,…..) but we surely come back there one day!

And I only can highly recommend to anyone to visit these islands: if you want to live an unique life experience in an amazing wild, beautiful and authentic place, without any tourists and the nicest people I ever met, you really should come visit the Marquesas one day! I hope my locations convinced you for that….

written by vicuna on 2010-04-22 #places #people #culture #travel #history #island #landscape #view #discovery #amazing #wild #horses #beautiful #bay #location #pacific-ocean #wild-horses #marquesas-archipelago #marquesas


  1. dogma
    dogma ·

    WoW another great location! I'm so jealous for your experience :) in a good way

  2. stouf
    stouf ·

    Rhaaa ! So intense ! And this post reminds of personal things... Twin otters (but landing on ice), the smell of Greek Islands, spending time with fishermen, seeing dolphins jumping around... I definitely have to visit these places... Thanks for the fantastic trip vicuna ! Gorgeous galleries !

  3. kdstevens
    kdstevens ·


  4. coca
    coca ·

    wow vicuna, another amazing location with fantastic pictures!! reminds me to easter island

  5. myloveletter
    myloveletter ·

    Amazing. Jealous. Genius. Really great work.

  6. myloveletter
    myloveletter ·

    I really love the 2nd and 8th pictures in the gallery ABOVE day 1.

  7. myloveletter
    myloveletter ·

    And number 16 and all the redscale in the gallery UNDER day 1.

  8. panelomo
    panelomo ·

    looks like you had a great adventure! :)

  9. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Thanks for all these nice comments!! Was really a great time there and it's my pleasure to share it with you! :)))

  10. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    and sorry for the jealousy syndrome... ;)))

  11. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    Stunning island ! Looks like Corsica or Esterel coast ! A beautiful location, Vicuna.

  12. blueskyandhardrock
    blueskyandhardrock ·

    Lovely gallery, beautiful place. You've captured it quite nicely. Thank you for sharing.

  13. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    An incredible journey and a generous host you had!

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