The Marquesas islands in 3 words: beauty, savage and mysterious
The Austral Islands (Marquesas Islands) are the southern most islands of French Polynesia, consisting of five islands along the Tropic of Capricorn. The region is essentially made up of two archipelagos, to the northwest are the Tubuai islands of Maria, Rimatara, Rurutu and Raivavae while to the south east are the Bass Islands of Rapa and Marotiri.
This area is best known for its exquisite weaving of pandanus and coconut leaves into hats, purses, bags, baskets and mats.
With well paved roads and little traffic to speak of, this is a great place to explore on bike or horseback. Whale watching is also a fantastic activity to indulge in seasonally.
Rugged, savage and unforgiving in its beauty, The Marquesas have long been isles of mystery, their isolation ensuring the preservation of a unique culture found nowhere else in the world. With its dramatic landscape of soaring peaks and lush valleys, the islands are dotted with mysterious stone tikis and waterfalls so high that the water evaporates before it even hits the ground!
Such dramatic landscape and mysterious people have attracted interesting characters to the islands – one of the most famous being the great French painter, Paul Gauguin who lived, died and is buried here.
The Paul Gauguin Cultural Centre is located at the Marquesas, opened on the 100th year anniversary of his death. Located on land bought by Gauguin, it houses representations and reproductions of his great works.