What to do in Huku Niva and Hiva Oa?

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#1
73 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Wondering what to do here? We're going next month...

We're waitlisted for the Princess tour on Nuku Hiva. Is that worth it?

Any suggestions on some beautiful tropical beaches to go to on either island? While snorkeling is fun, we also like to just play in the waves....

Thanks for any help!
#2
MA
436 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Hard to comment on the tour you are waitlisted for unless you provide more information.

Which tour is it? What are you interested in?

Hiva Oa does not have beaches for swimming, if I recall correctly -- this is the hammerhead shark breeding ground and NO ONE swims there!
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Past cruises:
1999 NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) Sept
2001 NCL Norway (Eastern Carribean) April
2002 NCL Sky (Pacific Coastal) April, Sea Dream 1 (Transatlantic Inaugaral Lisbon-FLL) October
2003 NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) June, NCL Dawn (RT NYC - Bahamas) December
2004 Celebrity Millenium (Panamal Canal San Diego-FLL) April
2005 Island Princess (RT LA - Hawaii) February, NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) Sept
2006 Regal Princess (Santiago Chile-FLL) March , HAL Noordam (Eastern Carribean -RT NYC) October
2007 Tahitian Princess (Marquesas, RT Papeete) January, HAL Noordam (Carribean, RT NYC) November
2008 HAL Rotterdam (Rio - Valpariaso) March
2009 NCL Spirit (Boston -Bermuda) August
2010 Azamara Quest (Singapore-Hong Kong) February
2011 Hal Noordam (Carribean) March, Regent Navigator (Tropics) November
2013 Regent Mariner (Athens-Istanbul) July

2014 HAL Noordam Carribean November
2015 Blue Lagoon cruises, Fiji Princess March; HAL Nieuw Amsterdam (Barcelona-Ft. Lauderdale crossing) November
#3
Toronto, Ottawa Valley ON, and Dunedin FL
14,026 Posts
Joined May 2001
Well I'll be sure interested to hear what you do and how you like it. We'll be there in December, although not on the TP.

I'm curious about private tour guides, but also about what you can do or see on foot from the docks. Not eager to drop an arm and a leg on tours, since we're already doing that for the trip itself. Our cruise also includes Fatu Hiva and Ua Huka as well as Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva.
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#4
Toronto, Ottawa Valley ON, and Dunedin FL
14,026 Posts
Joined May 2001
Well I'll be sure interested to hear what you do and how you like it. We'll be there in December, although not on the TP.

I'm curious about private tour guides, but also about what you can do or see on foot from the docks. Not eager to drop an arm and a leg on tours, since we're already doing that for the trip itself. Our cruise also includes Fatu Hiva and Ua Huka as well as Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva.
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⚓ Upcoming Cruises:
Paul Gaugin Cook Islands & Society Islands, October 2017

Azamara Journey, Norwegian Fjords, Edinburgh - Copenhagen, July 2018
⚓Past Cruises:

Seven Seas Mariner, Miami-Lima, January 2017
Azamara Journey, Rome-Rome, September 2016
Uniworld Egypt, River Tosca, October 2015
Paul Gauguin 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2014
Oceania Riviera, Nov. 2013
Seven Seas Navigator, Dec. 2006, Alaska May 2012
Radisson Diamond June, Black Sea 2004
Regent Voyager, June '06, Dec. '07, Dec. '09, Dec. 2010
#5
589 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
I second the comment on Nuku Hiva being unsuitable for tanning your backside and boogalooing on a sandy beach.

Almost all beaches in Polynesia (esp. the Marquesas) are rocky - not like idyllic sands of St. Lucia or Barbados. Plus, waters teem with sharks in Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa.

If you enjoy swimming with sharks, hey, this will make your day.

BTW, roads & island infrastructures are a mess. Don't rely on map distances to time excursions on either island. You will need an experienced driver to get around and back to the ship by departure time.
#6
MA
436 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
If I recall, this is the Island where Paul Gaugin is buried. Princess provided free 'shuttle' service into town, where they have a polynesian dance and music demonstration in the town square. There were no tours available, as it was on a Sunday.

The shuttle service is some buses and lot's of locals with their personal vehicles.

We had a lovely woman take us to the Cemetery, and then we walked down into town (she offered to drive but we like to walk). Lots of photo ops.
There were a few booths set up with local crafts.

We walked back to the ship (the same woman passed us many times and offered to drive) but it was a beautiful day and we enjoyed all the stunning views.

There isn't much else there. Just a beautiful, rugged Island with very nice people.

I can't recall which excursion we took on Nuku Hiva. I THINK it was a 4x4 tour around the Island, the "Taipivai Valley 4wd Overland & Hike" but I really don't remember. IF this was the tour we took, we enjoyed it very much- it is as described though - the hike is strenous and the trails can be very muddy and slippery.

We thought every Island was more beautiful than the next.
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_______________________

Past cruises:
1999 NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) Sept
2001 NCL Norway (Eastern Carribean) April
2002 NCL Sky (Pacific Coastal) April, Sea Dream 1 (Transatlantic Inaugaral Lisbon-FLL) October
2003 NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) June, NCL Dawn (RT NYC - Bahamas) December
2004 Celebrity Millenium (Panamal Canal San Diego-FLL) April
2005 Island Princess (RT LA - Hawaii) February, NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) Sept
2006 Regal Princess (Santiago Chile-FLL) March , HAL Noordam (Eastern Carribean -RT NYC) October
2007 Tahitian Princess (Marquesas, RT Papeete) January, HAL Noordam (Carribean, RT NYC) November
2008 HAL Rotterdam (Rio - Valpariaso) March
2009 NCL Spirit (Boston -Bermuda) August
2010 Azamara Quest (Singapore-Hong Kong) February
2011 Hal Noordam (Carribean) March, Regent Navigator (Tropics) November
2013 Regent Mariner (Athens-Istanbul) July

2014 HAL Noordam Carribean November
2015 Blue Lagoon cruises, Fiji Princess March; HAL Nieuw Amsterdam (Barcelona-Ft. Lauderdale crossing) November
#7
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,524 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
We just loved the Marquesas. We did a private tour on Hiva Oa and just walked around Nuku Hiva. The wooden carvings that the locals make are of the highest quality and quite beautiful. The Marquesas are quite unspoiled and unique for a cruise port. You can see pictures and read about our wonderful cruise in French Polynesia on our website www.thepreismans.com . Enjoy your cruise.
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#8
Phoenix az
33 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
We just got back from the Marquesas Islands,on the TP. We had wanted to renew our wedding vows at the church in Nuku Hiva.Checking the boards for tour guides,we found Jocelyne of Jocelyne Henua Enana Tours.She speaks great english,gave us a great full day tour of the island.And she also arranged our wedding vows.She had flowers at the church,had the priest ready,had the church choir in place. We'd recommend her to anyone looking for a tour guide who can tell you about the island and arrange extra for you. You can reach her at [email protected]. Have a great time. azllama
#9
589 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
I realize the Priesmans had a different experience but we relied on CC comments and booked with Claude who represents Pua on Nuku Hiva.

The tour was a disaster and absurdly expensive. We were promised English speaking guides. Did not happen. We were promised several stops. Did not happen. In fact, with 7 passengers (all booked separately) we all uniformly stated it was a rotten tour. We had no idea where we were going and our guides - rather, taxi drivers - were clueless. Why we were dropped at one sight or another was irritating.

Our one day in Nuku Hiva was a disappointment. I wrote to Claude to express our unhappiness but failed to receive the courtesy of a reply.

I recommend readers do not book with Claude. What was provided bore no resemblance to what was promised (and it was absurdly expensive to boot)
#10
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,524 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Wristband,
I am so sorry that your experience was so bad with Claude's company. We were very fortunate to have his guide, Marie-Jo. When we were trying to find guides when we went, the big challenge was to find one that could speak English. That was the main requirement we had when we originally contacted Claude. The tours in the Marquesas are extremely expensive. It sounds like you got ripped off. It is really a shame, since Nuku Hiva is such a unique place. Claude just arranges the tours rather than giving them himself. So if he can't deliver with an English speaking guide, the customer suffers. I am glad that you reported the problems, so others can be aware of the problems. Please let me know if you don't hear back from Claude. I will modify our review to provide an update for people to be aware.
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Mike


See reviews and pictures of our Celebrity Eclipse Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Silhouette Transatlantic; Celebrity Constellation Holy Land; Iceland/Ireland on the Celebrity Eclipse; Oceania Riviera Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Equinox Transatlantic; Oceania Nautica China/Japan Cruise; Oceania Riviera Mayan Mystique Cruise; Infinity Panama Canal Cruise;Eclipse Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands Cruise ; Island Princess Alaska Cruise and Land Tour; Oceania Regatta - Bermuda; HAL Westerdam; Celebrity Reflection; New England/Canada; Celebrity Eclipse Baltic cruise and England land tour; Celebrity Century Hawaii cruise; Celebrity Silhouette Mediterranean Adriatic cruise; Allure of the Seas; Paris to Prague River Cruise; South America; SE Asia; Danube River Cruise; Celebrity Solstice; Alaska; Egypt; NZ/Australia; Fr. Polynesia/Marquesas; Mediterranean; British Isles/Norwegian Fjords and other cruises at: Mike and Carol's Website LINK

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#11
589 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
MVP - Thank you for your nice comment.

We did extensive research on Nuku Hiva and, based on CC recs for Claude, we contacted him as to what we hoped to see and the need for an English speaking guide. His pleasant emails confirmed our itinerary and an English speaking guide.

Our sour taste was shared by five others who joined us also having booked through Claude after reading CC raves. Our two "guides" were lovely but they were not guides. One admitted she did not speak English - the other struggled as much as we did with our limited French.

All seven of passengers had no clue as to what we were seeing, where we were going and the importance of any one stop. Oddly, our two "guides" repeatedly dogged TP tour trucks so we tagged along with the TP guide at several stops to understand we were looking at, say, the "Survivor" beach.

I brought sections of the Lonely Planet guide book, a detailed map and several articles which helped decipher where we were.

I emailed Claude over three weeks ago - no reply. A disappointment as really looked forward to NH. BTW, TP will not return to the Marquesas so future passengers can avoid booking through Claude.
#12
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,524 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
wristband,
It is such a shame to go so far and plan so well, to get stuck with the experience you got. It is unacceptable that Claude has not gotten back to you.

I am so glad that we were able to visit the Marquesas when we did. We knew that it wasn't visited very often and couldn't pass up the opportunity to go. It is kind of sad that others won't get to visit for a while.
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See reviews and pictures of our Celebrity Eclipse Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Silhouette Transatlantic; Celebrity Constellation Holy Land; Iceland/Ireland on the Celebrity Eclipse; Oceania Riviera Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Equinox Transatlantic; Oceania Nautica China/Japan Cruise; Oceania Riviera Mayan Mystique Cruise; Infinity Panama Canal Cruise;Eclipse Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands Cruise ; Island Princess Alaska Cruise and Land Tour; Oceania Regatta - Bermuda; HAL Westerdam; Celebrity Reflection; New England/Canada; Celebrity Eclipse Baltic cruise and England land tour; Celebrity Century Hawaii cruise; Celebrity Silhouette Mediterranean Adriatic cruise; Allure of the Seas; Paris to Prague River Cruise; South America; SE Asia; Danube River Cruise; Celebrity Solstice; Alaska; Egypt; NZ/Australia; Fr. Polynesia/Marquesas; Mediterranean; British Isles/Norwegian Fjords and other cruises at: Mike and Carol's Website LINK

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#13
589 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
MVP - I am really pleased to know you had a great experience on NH. We looked forward to visiting the Marquesas so not having an explanation of what we were seeing (or going to see) was frustrating.

On the other hand, we emailed a pensione in Hiva Oa and arranged for a full day tour with the owner. It was enjoyable and informative: driving up to the huge archeological sites in Puamau and Autona, having lunch in Iipona. It was a wonderful but arduous day. Feli had good command of English, was enthusiastic and her intimate knowledge of Hiva Oa made a huge difference.

The Internet is a great tool and Cruise Critic is wonderful shared resource for motivated consumers. When booking a one day tour at a remote site elsewhere on the planet, you win some, you lose some!
#14
269 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
I arranged a tour with claude at [email protected] in Oct. It was fabulous.
They were waiting for our group at the dock and took us around the island and stopped for pictures in the most beautiful spots on the island. We took a tour that included lunch at Yvonne's. The lunch was yummy.
Drop him an email and he will respond right away with the particulars.
Tell him the lady from Canada on the PG in Oct recommended him to you!!!!
You will have a wonderful time in Tahiti...I wish I was going with you!!!
#15
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,524 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Degas,
I am glad to hear that your experience was more like mine than wristband's with Claude's company. It is a gorgeous island that is difficult to fully experience unless you can tour with a private guide.
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Mike


See reviews and pictures of our Celebrity Eclipse Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Silhouette Transatlantic; Celebrity Constellation Holy Land; Iceland/Ireland on the Celebrity Eclipse; Oceania Riviera Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Equinox Transatlantic; Oceania Nautica China/Japan Cruise; Oceania Riviera Mayan Mystique Cruise; Infinity Panama Canal Cruise;Eclipse Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands Cruise ; Island Princess Alaska Cruise and Land Tour; Oceania Regatta - Bermuda; HAL Westerdam; Celebrity Reflection; New England/Canada; Celebrity Eclipse Baltic cruise and England land tour; Celebrity Century Hawaii cruise; Celebrity Silhouette Mediterranean Adriatic cruise; Allure of the Seas; Paris to Prague River Cruise; South America; SE Asia; Danube River Cruise; Celebrity Solstice; Alaska; Egypt; NZ/Australia; Fr. Polynesia/Marquesas; Mediterranean; British Isles/Norwegian Fjords and other cruises at: Mike and Carol's Website LINK

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#16
French Polynesia
16 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
If you can't remember too much!

Originally posted by makai 7
If I recall, this is the Island where Paul Gaugin is buried. Princess provided free 'shuttle' service into town, where they have a polynesian dance and music demonstration in the town square. There were no tours available, as it was on a Sunday.

The shuttle service is some buses and lot's of locals with their personal vehicles.

We had a lovely woman take us to the Cemetery, and then we walked down into town (she offered to drive but we like to walk). Lots of photo ops.
There were a few booths set up with local crafts.

We walked back to the ship (the same woman passed us many times and offered to drive) but it was a beautiful day and we enjoyed all the stunning views.

There isn't much else there. Just a beautiful, rugged Island with very nice people.

I can't recall which excursion we took on Nuku Hiva. I THINK it was a 4x4 tour around the Island, the "Taipivai Valley 4wd Overland & Hike" but I really don't remember. IF this was the tour we took, we enjoyed it very much- it is as described though - the hike is strenous and the trails can be very muddy and slippery.

We thought every Island was more beautiful than the next.
#17
French Polynesia
16 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Taiohae has two white sand beaches alone, other bays are even better..... Sharks are friendly and never attack. You are totally out of order!

Originally posted by wristband
I second the comment on Nuku Hiva being unsuitable for tanning your backside and boogalooing on a sandy beach.

Almost all beaches in Polynesia (esp. the Marquesas) are rocky - not like idyllic sands of St. Lucia or Barbados. Plus, waters teem with sharks in Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa.

If you enjoy swimming with sharks, hey, this will make your day.

BTW, roads & island infrastructures are a mess. Don't rely on map distances to time excursions on either island. You will need an experienced driver to get around and back to the ship by departure time.
#18
MA
436 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Not sure why you have to be nasty... This trip was a long time ago and I was not at home to look at my trip logs and tour information.

It was several years ago! Maybe your memory is perfect all the time. Lucky you.

As far as swimming goes, some of the islands are surrounded by hammerhead breeding grounds. If you want to swim with hammerheads, be our guest.
If you have nothing constructive to provide, maybe it is best if you don't respond to posts. This is supposed to be HELPFUL to people.
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_______________________

Past cruises:
1999 NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) Sept
2001 NCL Norway (Eastern Carribean) April
2002 NCL Sky (Pacific Coastal) April, Sea Dream 1 (Transatlantic Inaugaral Lisbon-FLL) October
2003 NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) June, NCL Dawn (RT NYC - Bahamas) December
2004 Celebrity Millenium (Panamal Canal San Diego-FLL) April
2005 Island Princess (RT LA - Hawaii) February, NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) Sept
2006 Regal Princess (Santiago Chile-FLL) March , HAL Noordam (Eastern Carribean -RT NYC) October
2007 Tahitian Princess (Marquesas, RT Papeete) January, HAL Noordam (Carribean, RT NYC) November
2008 HAL Rotterdam (Rio - Valpariaso) March
2009 NCL Spirit (Boston -Bermuda) August
2010 Azamara Quest (Singapore-Hong Kong) February
2011 Hal Noordam (Carribean) March, Regent Navigator (Tropics) November
2013 Regent Mariner (Athens-Istanbul) July

2014 HAL Noordam Carribean November
2015 Blue Lagoon cruises, Fiji Princess March; HAL Nieuw Amsterdam (Barcelona-Ft. Lauderdale crossing) November
#19
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,524 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by makai 7
Not sure why you have to be nasty... This trip was a long time ago and I was not at home to look at my trip logs and tour information.

It was several years ago! Maybe your memory is perfect all the time. Lucky you.

As far as swimming goes, some of the islands are surrounded by hammerhead breeding grounds. If you want to swim with hammerheads, be our guest.
If you have nothing constructive to provide, maybe it is best if you don't respond to posts. This is supposed to be HELPFUL to people.
Hi Beth,
I agree with your comments. Kaienana certainly doesn't act like the very sweet people we met in Polynesia. She has not posted much, but her first post related to a group stiffing her on a tip due to something that should not have happened. I do think she was treated wrongly; but that is certainly no reason to come on to this thread and attack people's opinions of the Marquesas.
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For Cruise Reviews and Pictures, visit our website at www.thepreismans.com
Mike


See reviews and pictures of our Celebrity Eclipse Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Silhouette Transatlantic; Celebrity Constellation Holy Land; Iceland/Ireland on the Celebrity Eclipse; Oceania Riviera Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Equinox Transatlantic; Oceania Nautica China/Japan Cruise; Oceania Riviera Mayan Mystique Cruise; Infinity Panama Canal Cruise;Eclipse Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands Cruise ; Island Princess Alaska Cruise and Land Tour; Oceania Regatta - Bermuda; HAL Westerdam; Celebrity Reflection; New England/Canada; Celebrity Eclipse Baltic cruise and England land tour; Celebrity Century Hawaii cruise; Celebrity Silhouette Mediterranean Adriatic cruise; Allure of the Seas; Paris to Prague River Cruise; South America; SE Asia; Danube River Cruise; Celebrity Solstice; Alaska; Egypt; NZ/Australia; Fr. Polynesia/Marquesas; Mediterranean; British Isles/Norwegian Fjords and other cruises at: Mike and Carol's Website LINK

Upcoming Cruises:
Celebrity Solstice - June 2017 - Alaska
Celebrity Edge - January 2019 - Eastern Caribbean


#20
MA
436 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Thanks Mike -
I was surprised to be attacked about a post saying that I had a wonderful time!
We are actually thinking about returning to Tahiti in 2012 on a Paul Gaugin cruise - or maybe going back to SE Asia, but doing a land tour - the Orient Express does a train trip from Singapore to Bangkok that sounds terrific.

IF we return to Tahiti, you can be sure I WON'T use her as a tour guide!
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_______________________

Past cruises:
1999 NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) Sept
2001 NCL Norway (Eastern Carribean) April
2002 NCL Sky (Pacific Coastal) April, Sea Dream 1 (Transatlantic Inaugaral Lisbon-FLL) October
2003 NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) June, NCL Dawn (RT NYC - Bahamas) December
2004 Celebrity Millenium (Panamal Canal San Diego-FLL) April
2005 Island Princess (RT LA - Hawaii) February, NCL Majesty (Boston-Bermuda) Sept
2006 Regal Princess (Santiago Chile-FLL) March , HAL Noordam (Eastern Carribean -RT NYC) October
2007 Tahitian Princess (Marquesas, RT Papeete) January, HAL Noordam (Carribean, RT NYC) November
2008 HAL Rotterdam (Rio - Valpariaso) March
2009 NCL Spirit (Boston -Bermuda) August
2010 Azamara Quest (Singapore-Hong Kong) February
2011 Hal Noordam (Carribean) March, Regent Navigator (Tropics) November
2013 Regent Mariner (Athens-Istanbul) July

2014 HAL Noordam Carribean November
2015 Blue Lagoon cruises, Fiji Princess March; HAL Nieuw Amsterdam (Barcelona-Ft. Lauderdale crossing) November