We did a hike into the Haavao Valley to visit the Tohua Koueva Archaeological Park with Distant Star and some members of Charisma. Our plan to leave at 7am was delayed due to sleeping teenage boys (not mine for a change) and we ended up leaving the dock at about 7:45. The site is about 3 km uphill and not too steep a climb. I had mapped out the route using GPS coordinates and satellite images but instead of trusting my route, we followed where the map indicated it was, which led us in circles. We ended up using my original route and lo and behold it was right.
Tohua Koueva was restored for the 1999 Marquesas Festival. The site was believed to have belonged to the war chief Pakoko who was killed by the French in 1845. The site is a large rectangular field that has a giant banyan tree in the centre. It is surrounded by refurbished huts, called paepae. What are paepae? They are stone platforms used for ceremonies with a covered roof. Around the site are ancient carved stone tikis.
The paepae surrounding the giant banyan tree.
One of the highlights of the sight is a moai (Easter Island head) it was apparently donated by the Rapa Nui of Easter Island for the Festival in 1999. It is reminiscent of the statue from the Night of the Museum movies.
I managed to convince Kahlil (tarzan) to swing on one of the vines and I would snap a photo of him. Its nice to have someone a bit younger and more cooperative in our group for photos.
From the archaeological site the path continues further uphill, only about 1.5 km but it is steep and rocky and with the frequent showers of rain it can get a little bit slippery. The route has lots of fruiting trees and vines; passionfruit, starfruit, mangoes, bananas, pamplemousse and noni.
We got to within 200 metres of the viewpoint before we were intersected by a French yachtie who also seems to have a garden on the hill. He rather insistently told us to go back and not go any further. We discussed it, I think Andrew and I would have continued on the path as it’s a public pathway, but everyone was a little hesitant so we turned back. We suspect that this is the area they grow the marijuana and perhaps that’s why they didn’t want us to come there.
The hike back down was much quicker, and I will admit we were all pretty tired by the time we reached the bottom, except maybe the teenage boys.
Julie and Steph when you get here next year stop at the archaeological site.
Walking distance: 3 km (one way) to the Tiki Site and about 1.45 km further to reach the observation point (steep uphill).
Elevation min: 18 meters max: 478 meters
Type: One way
I am happy to email anyone who wants a downloadable file KML file to add to maps.me app so you can use it offline while in the Marquesas.