Take the time to stroll around the main village, Atuona. You’ll discover the wealth of Marquesan craftsmanship: stone tiki sculptures and wood carvings, tapa, pareu decorated with Marquesan designs, penu (pestle), Marquesan honey, local jams as well as jewelry made from carved bone and seeds. The local craftsmen and women will be delighted to explain the significance of the designs and the traditional methods employed in creating their art.
It would be impossible to visit Hiva Oa without paying homage to the two world-famous figures who chose the island was their last home. Begin with a visit to the Paul Gauguin cultural center in Atuona. The museum has a permanent exhibition of the artist’s works and a reconstruction of the ”Maison du Jouir” where he lived and painted. Then go to the Espace Jacques Brel, a vast hangar where you’ll hear some of his best-known songs and see a selection of his personal photographs. In the middle of the hangar is his private airplane, Jojo.
The Paul Gauguin Museum and the Espace Jacques Brel are open Monday to Friday from 8h00 to 11h00 and from 14h00 to 17h00. Both are closed on weekends.
Jacques Brel and Paul Gauguin are both buried in the Calvaire cemetery in Atuona. The graves are easily accessible for those wishing to pay their last respects.