Anyone with an interest in ancient Marquesan civilisation shouldn’t leave Atuona without a visit to the Tehueto petroglyphs. You’ll find a massive rock with prolific carvings on two sides, including stylised human figures.

Hidden high up in the Tahauku Valley, the petroglyphs are a good walk from Tahauku Bay (approximately 2.5km inland), but it’s usually quite overgrown and the path is confusing; we suggest hiring a guide (ask at your pension).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Smiling Tiki

1.78 MILES

Hiva Oa’s most bizarre statue can be found near the road to the airport, about 10km from Atuona. About 1m in height, it stands alone in a clearing. To…

2. Calvaire Cemetery


A must-see for Gauguin and Brel devotees is the Calvaire Cemetery, perched on a hill overlooking Atuona. You will find this frangipani-filled graveyard an…

3. Catholic Church

2.07 MILES

The Catholic church, right in the centre of Atuona, is worth a peek for its elegant architecture that combines wood and stone.

4. Mairie

2.07 MILES

The Atuona mayor's office.

5. Espace Culturel Paul Gauguin

2.18 MILES

A homage to Gauguin that traces the artist's life through locally painted reproductions of his art. The main signs are translated into English but the…

6. Tohua Pepeu

2.19 MILES

Restored for the 1991 Marquesas Arts Festival, the Tohua Pepeu faces Banque Socredo in the centre of town. It’s used today as a festivities centre, where…

7. Centre Jacques Brel


Behind the Espace Culturel Paul Gauguin you’ll find a big aircraft hangar. In the centre is Jacques Brel’s plane, Jojo; faded posters tracing the musician…

8. Atuona Beach

2.26 MILES

Framed by basaltic cliffs, this wide curve of black sand is very scenic – it inspired painter Paul Gauguin, which is saying a lot – but it’s not…