Aranui Cruises have released their 2025 schedule for their voyages to The Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. This is an incredible journey to a remote archipelago with several stops at various islands along the way. Guests get to explore the destination while the crew load and unload supplies for the islands. One such stop is Nuku Hiva, known for its incredible vistas.
Here is what our New Zealand Manager, Shar Jones, had to say about Nuku Hiva after her cruise aboard the Aranui 5:
Nuku Hiva is the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia and is known for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unique experiences. After travelling 1400 kms from Papeete, arriving into Huku Hiva is an amazing sight. Aranui 5 anchors on the South side of Nuku Hiva in the picturesque bay of Taiohae where you can see the rugged mountains, lush valleys and see that this island offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploring its diverse terrain.
Prepare for an early start with either coffee in the Sky Bar or Breakfast at the restaurant before meeting in the Lounge for disembarkation. After the tender transfer to shore you will be met by your local guide and led to 4WD’s for the days excursion.
The first stop is the Cathedral of Taiohae (Notre Dame) a striking building built from wood and stones on a former scared site and filled with history dating back to 1839 when the French Catholic missionaries arrived in Taiohae. Over the years, however, more and more Marquesan’s became Christians. Education was declared compulsory and all pagan activities (dances, songs, tattoos etc) were prohibited. To follow was a great famine and a smallpox epidemic to where it is today.
Next stop is the Village of Hatiheu on the Northeast side of the island and a guided tour of the archaeological site of Kamuihei (one of the largest excavated in Nuku Hiva). This ancient ceremonial site with its strong spiritual presence provides a journey through time. History, rites and sacrificial rituals, we found volcanic stone sculptures, petroglyphs, paepae stone platforms and archeological remains. In the center, an imposing Banyan Tree believed to be over 600 years old spreads its branches like armour protecting the sacred stone platforms. Such a moving experience where local dancers performed to the beating drums.
Our first introduction to traditional Marquesas cuisine was our at Chez Simon in the village of Taipivai. The local ‘UMU” an underground oven where the food is cooked for hours buffet style A great opportunity to reflect on the Marquesas culture we had all experienced.
Returning to the village of Taiohae, we had free time to explore the stores (Bank, Post Office, Internet Café, Crafts) and were able to purchase some souvenirs before either walking or returning by car to the Aranui 5.