For over 30 years, Aranui, as the main carrier of goods to the Marquesas, has maintained a vital link with its inhabitants and the outside world. 

For this special festive Christmas expedition – 14 to 26 December 2023, Aranui 5 will stay an extra day in Nuku Hiva so that guests have the opportunity to enjoy the superb cultural performances of the Marquesas Festival of Arts.

Originally, the Festival of Arts was created by Marquesans for the Marquesas. Slowly, the festival started welcoming groups from the neighbouring South Pacific nations.
As the festival’s fame has grown over the years, more and more travellers have been drawn to this unique event, so it is now held once every two years, rather than once every four years.

With limited accommodation in the Marquesas Islands, Aranui has been a key player in allowing visitors to be part of the festival.
Aranui has not been just a carrier of goods to the Marquesas Islands. The company is also actively involved in the social and cultural scenes of the islands by sponsoring different events, like for instance welcoming young students and their teachers on visits of the vessel to give them better awareness of the spectrum of job possibilities that exist on the ship and in the travel industry overall. 

Join us this year and be part of the story and make Christmas extra special with this incredible festival gathering.

If God had a “big house” symbolising the Marquesas Islands, the largest of them – Nuku Hiva – would represent the top of the framework. Here, the steep volcanic peaks and amazing slopes blend with the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean. 

Nuku Hiva is the first Marquesan Island we reach on our expeditions. Taioha’e, the archipelago’s regional capital, opens onto a large bay bearing the same name, and is guarded by two mountains which locals refer to as the “sentinels”. 
The bay offers the possibility of a lovely stroll along the beach, while the small art and crafts centre is a delightful stop to buy souvenirs such as carved “tiki” statues, fragrant “pani”, the local body oil made from coconut, flowers and herbs or to pick up some skin soothing sandalwood powder. 
If treasure hunting is not your thing, enjoy a drink of freshly pressed juice at the market’s coffee shop, and try a delicious dried banana snack whilst mingling with the locals.

Each day of your Aranui expedition is packed with exciting visits and adventures, and in Nuku Hiva, you’ll delve into the island’s rich history and culture by visiting the island’s beautiful cathedral. You will also visit one of the most majestic sacred sites with a 600-year-old banyan tree, explore a forest with petroglyphs, and enjoy your first Marquesan lunch at the famed Mama Yvonne’s restaurant.

Outstanding landscapes, an incredible archaeological history, great stories and a rich culture can all be found alongside a welcoming population.

About the author

Nicola is the Managing Director of Micro-Cruising. Small ships great trips. Micro-Cruising sells trips on ships of 100 passengers or fewer. We are the specialists in small ships with over 700 vessels worldwide.