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Nuku Hiva/Taiohae, Marquesas

Atop a green peak bordering the bay at Nuka Hiva is a statue of Virgin Mary (984 ft above sea level). In the valley is the Naniuhi "tahua", a meeting place for pre-Christian Marquesans, including a dance platform, ceremonial stones and petroglyphs carved in boulders. Taipivai Valley has numerous waterfalls, a long river and one of the best preserved archeological sites in the Marquesas including several tiki. Anaho Bay and its golden sand beach has great swimming and is one of the loveliest spots in the Marquesas with only six families living in the valley. Don't miss the sculptures of Taiohae. They are unquestionably the most skilled wood and coconut craftspeople in French Polynesia. Taiohae is a pleasant village bordering the sea with French and Territorial administrators, government buildings, gendarmerie, post office, general hospital, town hall, Air Tahiti office, and well-stocked stores and shops. It lies on the south coast at the head of the Bay of Taiohae whose entrance is guarded by two rocks called "Les Sentinelles" Motu Nui to the west and Matauapuna to the East.

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