There’s no better way to explore the Marquesas Islands than on horseback. The wild horses of Hiva Oa inspired both Brel and Gauguin. So saddle up and enjoy a timeless moment, off the beaten track in ‘The Land of Men’.

There’s more to a vacation in the Marquesas Islands than sitting on a white sandy beach and admiring the turquoise lagoon. For instance, you can take a guided tour on horseback to the high plateaus and valleys. with a break for a picnic lunch if you go for a full day. There are trails to suit riders of any level, even complete beginners, especially on the islands of Nuku Hiva and Ua Huka. And the views are always superb. Of course, you don’t have to get up in the saddle to explore the Marquesas Islands. There are countless hiking trails which lead to scenic viewpoints that will take your breath away, and archeological sites that take you back in time to the earliest inhabitants of these mystical islands.

The Marquesas Islands at a trot

The Marquesas Islands is a superb destination for anyone who likes horseback riding, or wants to give it a try for the first time. Known as ‘The Land of Men’, the archipelago could just as rightly be called ‘The Land of Horses’, because you see them wherever you go, especially on the unspoiled and authentic island of Ua Huka. You can even go on a bivouac camping tour by horseback. Herds of wild horses roam the plateaus and valleys and from time to time you’ll see Marquesan ‘cowboys’ roping one in with a lasso.

Once the horses are broken in, you can ride them in complete safety. The Marquesans ride without a saddle, just a sack cloth. Trot along the ridges of the plteaus and in the dry, unspoiled valleys. From time to time, you can enjoy the thrill of a gallop, especially along the beach. Sometimes you’ll even be joined by wild horses. Ua Huka is an island that is particularly unspoiled and the islanders still live in harmony with their ancestral traditions.

There’s so much to see in the Marquesas Islands

The Marquesas Isands are known for their tales and legends and the landscape which is very different from elsewhere in The Islands of Tahiti, but equally superb. From the bay of Taiohe in Nuku Hiva to Tahuata beach in Hiva Oa and the pitons of Ua Pou, you’ll find much to marvel at in the Marquesas Islands

The rocky peaks of the Ua Pou mountains © Grégoire Le Bacon
The rocky peaks of the Ua Pou mountains © Grégoire Le Bacon

The biodiversity of the Marquesas Islands is extremely rich. You can scuba dive to swim with manta rays, eagle rays and a host of other marine animals, or go snorkeling to admire the beautiful flora and fauna. And you can even observe whales during the mating season from july to november. If you have the opportunity, visit Fatu Hiva to see one of the most beautiful spots in French Polynesia, the Bay of Virgins.

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