The Other Islands Sights


  • Town/Village

Published 03/29/2016

Fodor's Review

Although it has no airport, the neighboring island of Tahuata—the only landing place of Spaniard Alvaro De Mendana, the first European to see the islands—can be reached by boat or helicopter and is popular with visiting yachties. Approximately 600 people live in either the village of Vaitahu, which is backed by a massive green cliff-face, or in several smaller villages around the island. Hapatoni is a delightful village by the sea, the seafront road being constructed with very old carved slabs. It can be reached by boat from Vaitahu village in about 15 minutes. There are no normal roads on the island and getting around can be difficult; horseback is the favored mode of transport. There are several lovely beaches that look tantalizing, but take precautions before taking the plunge as the dreaded nono will be there in large numbers. Petroglyphs can be seen in an inland valley and there are also relics of the fighting between the local people and the French in earlier days. Today, villagers sell carvings, paintings, and monoi (a fragrant mix of coconut and tiare flower extracts that's used as a body moisturizer).


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