The ship is scheduled to anchor in Taaoa Bay and its tenders will take guests ashore. The distance to local shops is approximately two miles (three kilometers) but the road is hilly. Taxis are generally not available.
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The largest of the southern islands, Hiva Oa, the master pillar or finial post of the "Great House" -which represents the Marquesan archipelago in the local mythology- has always been the rival of Nuku Hiva. The island is shaped like a seahorse and has a mountain range running southwest to northeast whose main peaks, Mt Temetiu and Mt Feani forms a real wall around Atuona.
Atuona, a peaceful little port at the head of the Taaoa bay, also known as Traitors Bay has emerged from obscurity due to having had the privilege of being the last resting place of Paul Gauguin and of the singer Jacques Brel. The tombs of these famous personalities are on the side of the Calvary cemetery looking out across the bay and are places of great pilgrimage. In the village, the Gauguin Museum displays items related to the painter's stay there at the beginning of the century and has copies of his works.
The "House of Pleasure" where Gauguin lived has been rebuilt with copies of the carved wood panels and the lintel bearing this inscription. In the outskirts of Atuona, heading towards the airport on a site dominating Tahauku bay and Hanakee Islet a memorial to the singer Jacques Brel has been erected. Near the airstrip, Brel's little Beech craft Bonanza airplane, baptized "Jojo", is on display. Also, very close to Tahauku, a track leads to Tehueko a petroglyph site whose carvings bear a strange resemblance to the ones on Easter.
Roads are rough on the island, and only 4 wheel drives can be rented or are used for excursions.
Among Tahiti's most popular products are black pearls, tiare and coconut soaps, monoi oil, vanilla beans, shell leis, wood carvings, woven hats and baskets, and the colorful hand dyed pareu fabric worn by the island natives. The public market is a favorite with visitors. Shops usually open about 7:30am and close at 5:30pm (Noon on Saturdays) but there is always a long lunch hour. Except in hotels, all shops are usually closed on Sundays.
Bargaining and haggling over prices in markets and stores is not customary.
1000 CFP francs = 8.38 euros. Euros and U.S. dollars are generally accepted.
Official languages: French, Tahitian
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