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The Marquesas islands, Land of Men

Golden rays of light filter through the clouds suspended on sharp mountainous peaks, drawing an unreal and subtle ambience….Lush and high islands emerge from the Pacific Ocean, a land of history and legend, all as fascinating as unforgettable: welcome to the magic environment ‘The Land of Men’, the Marquesas Islands.

It is geographically isolated and one of the most remote archipelago from any continent. It is located 1500 km North-East of Tahiti and spread out over 12 islands of which only 6 are inhabited. In Hiva Oa, discover monumental tiki and follow Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel’s journey, both now buried in ‘Atuona’s cemetery. Opposite the island, Tahuata is a small paradise island sheltering a population of local handicraft experts. In Nuku Hiva, explore Taipivai’s bay and valley, Melville’s and Hatihe’u bay, which Robert Louis Stevenson fell in love with. Ua Huka, the driest of all, is also named “the island of horses” whereas in ‘Ua Pou, huge volcanic rocks and columns overlook the island. Discover Hanavave Valley in Fatu Hiva and the Bay of Virgins, one of the most stunning bays on Earth.

Although all very different, these islands have much in common - their beauty. They all feature spectacular landscapes, untouched and of a unique rich culture, treasures and mysteries.

ince the late 1970s, there is a strong cultural renewal all around these islands. Marquesans are taking ownership again of their songs, dances, carvings, handicraft and tattoos, which always remained in the islanders’ ancestral memories. Nowadays, pahu (large drums) can still be heard in the valleys and tūhuna – skilled and knowledgeable craftsmen are more talented and in greater numbers than ever.

The cradle of Polynesian art lies in the heart of these rugged landscapes away from the worldwide development. “Fenua 'enata also called “Land of Men” is a genuine location of a simple and powerful world.

These are as many reasons why the Marquesas are currently applying to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

An extraordinary adventure onboard the passenger – freighter cruiser Aranui 3 is a great way to discover these islands. From one bay to another, sailors unload goods to the local people eagerly awaiting the arrival of the famous South Seas cargo ship. In the meantime, passengers explore the natural and cultural discoveries of every island where they are warmly greeted by the Marquesans.

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