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Atuona, French Polynesia Cruise Port

Journey to the heart of remote French Polynesia with a voyage to Atuona in the Marquesas Isles – one of the most secluded spots on Earth, lying hundreds of miles northeast of Tahiti. Yet for all their small size and  isolation, these islands have a huge amount of history and culture surrounding them – being the site of some remarkable tribal ruins, ancient rock art, and the last home and resting place of the artist Paul Gauguin and singer Jacques Brel.

Sightseeing in Atuona

Atuona is an island scattered with ancient stone tiki figures, and its wild landscape, traditional buildings and stunning black-sand coastland won't fail to impress during your visit. Be sure to take a wander among the tropical plants and flowers that surround the town, where you'll find incredible vistas across the bay and the island at every turn.

Gauguin Museum and Cultural Centre

As Paul Gauguin's final resting place, Atuona boasts a charming museum dedicated to the artist with many of his colourful works on display, as well as objects that illustrate the man's time on the island. Built in 2003 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of his death, the Paul Gauguin Cultural Centre is a charming  complex, built in traditional style and a hub for both local artists and visitors looking to find out more about Gauguin's work during his retreat to these beautiful islands. Behind the Cultural Centre is another centre, dedicated to the singer-songwriter Jacques Brel.

Taaoa Valley

Delve into Polynesia's past with a trip to this magical valley, the nation's foremost archaeological site. Take an adventure by 4x4 to see the spectacular forest and ruins that line the valley, once home to several tribes who left behind many relics of their way of life: from altars and tiki statues – the largest in Polynesia – to a broad plaza where village activities would have taken place. Crowning the ruins of the valley is the Upeke Ceremonial Centre, where visitors can find some of the most comprehensive remnants of tribal life on the islands.

Tehueto petroglyphs

A guided excursion may be possible to see this remarkable native rock art, carved into boulders high in the Tahauku Valley. There's a trek involved if you decide to see these carvings for yourself, but seeing the the curling designs and human figures left by the ancient tribes is truly worth the effort – and following your guide up the forested paths will later bring you to another ancient tiki figure, carved into a stone altar.

Shopping in Atuona

Those looking for souvenirs of their time around French Polynesia won't struggle to find something in Atuona. Shoppers can choose from mementos made of bamboo, as well as carvings in stone and wood;  alternatively, be on the lookout for traditional jewellery made from carved bone, as well as locally produced clothing.

Eating Out in Atuona

Your adventures across the island are bound to leave you with an appetite, and luckily there's a great selection of places to eat. Take your pick of native Marquesan dishes or French-influenced fare, many of which include plentiful amounts of local seafood. Be sure to wash your meal down with a glass of French wine, surrounded by the magnificent views of the bay.

Cruise Lines

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