Located 740 miles northeast of Tahiti, Hiva Oa is one of the islands discovered by Mendana in 1595. It is also the final resting place of French artist Paul Gauguin and there is a museum dedicated to him. The largest and most fertile island in the southern group of the Marquesas, Hiva Oa has deep valleys, lush plateaus and thickly wooded forests but is best known for the spectacular Tahuata, the visible remains of a huge sunken volcano.
On the southern shore is the town of Atuona, the administrative centre for the southern Marquesas. From here you can take a walk to Paul Gauguin's Resting Place. Sightseeing highlights include a visit to Puamau Village, where Gauguin descendents live. In the steamy jungle above the village is the Oipona me'ae temple and the 8-ft. tall tiki Takaii, the largest stone tiki in Polynesia. Several other stone carvings adorn this quiet spot. Visit the very picturesque village of Hanaiapa; the petroglyphs carved in stone in Eiaone and Punai; the me'ae temple and black sand beach of Taaoa and the pretty bays of Nahoe and Hanamenu.
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