Marquesas, French Polynesia
The Marquesas lie shrouded in mystery, with their mist-laden mountains and untouched wilderness. Here, wild stallions run free on Ua Huka. Fatu Hiva boasts only one road. And Paul Gauguin himself went to his eternal rest on Hiva Oa, buried beneath a statue of a Polynesian goddess.
The Marquesas, or Henua Enata (Land of Men), are seemingly lost at the end of the earth. Even now, some of the islands are virtually untouched since the era of European exploration. Their isolation from other lands has created an immense pride among the people and a fascinating and undiscovered culture. The language is unique to Tahiti, as the lilting Marquesan dialect is traced directly to the ancient Polynesian tongue of Maohi. 1,000-foot waterfalls cascade down sheer volcanic cliffs, and because the islands have no coral reefs or lagoons, the ocean crashes directly against the rocky coast indented with fjord-like bays.