Wonders of the Windward Islands
The Windward Islands, especially Tahiti, are some of the best-known and most interesting Polynesian islands. These islands in a way represent the essence of Southern seas – with palms, rugged mountains, deep blue sea, and friendly people.
The most amazing wonders of the Windward islands are:
- The archaeological heritage, especially the numerous marae – sacred places where gathered community.
- The rugged mountains covered with dense tropical forest.
Map with the described wonders
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Top 23 wonders of the Windward Islands
Teahupo’o reef break
A break in the reef, where are formed especially large, glassy blue, smooth waves. These are some of the heaviest waves in the world – a huge water mass is broken and may fall on the head of an unwary surfer. Waves are beloved by surfers but are very dangerous.
Tall and thin waterfall, falling into Papenoo reservoir.
Impressive, tall and thin waterfall.
A tall and thin waterfall.
A pierced rock on a dramatic, enormous cliff. According to local legend, it was pierced by a spear thrown by Pai.
Fautauà Falls (Fachoda Falls)
80 m tall waterfall. Below the falls has formed a deep, shaded canyon.
Amazing blowholes, one of them located inland from the coastal trail.
Vaifau submarine source
50 m off the coast, at some 15 m depth there is a powerful submarine source of freshwater. It is seen as greenish halo of freshwater, in calm weather the upsurge is seen on the surface of the water.
Giant banyan tree (Ficus prolixa) with a diameter above 10 m. Tree remained standing next to a motorway thanks to its protection by the local people.
Banyan of Gauguin
Very large and old banyan tree. Painter Paul Gauguin loved to sit in a platform built in this tree and to sip absinthe.
One of the first marae to be restored in 1954. Contains a stone statue.
Tuauru funeral caves
Funeral caves in remote valley of Tahiti. Caves are intact, filled with valuable historical artifacts. One flute has been carried away and sold, thus desecrating the cave.
An enormous sacred site, 65 by 101 meters. Ahu is 7 m high. Some stones have petroglyphs. Here have taken place rituals of human sacrifice.
Restored marae, located in forest. 40 m long, 17 m wide, partly paved. Contains 15 standing stones. The area next to marae was inhabited in the late 16th century and contains remnants of more than 500 ancient structures.
Paneo’o Valley petroglyphs
A boulder with ancient engravings – concentric circles, linear forms, human figures.
Marae Tefana I Ahura’i
Large marae, meticulously restored in 1980.
35 m long and 15 m wide marae, with stone enclosure, 75 cm high. Well preserved. Very large stones on the corners.
Three marae located close, side by side. Seven burials were found here during the excavations in 1973. Restored in 1973.
Fare Hape petroglyphs
Large rock with numerous petroglyphs – stylized humans, spirals.
Robert Wan Pearl Museum
This is the world’s only museum that is dedicated to pearls, their history, traditions, collection.
Paul Gauguin Museum
This art museum dedicated to the life and works of Paul Gauguin and Constance Gordon-Cumming. In the garden are located two tiki – sacred stone statues from Ra’ivavae island.
An octagonal church, built in 1822. Considered to be the oldest existing European building in the Southern Pacific.
When Elsie Hulsizer was little, she lived on the shores of Puget Sound in Washington where she spent the summers sailing in a small open sailboat with her parents. Her parents would always start out by sailing windward, or against the wind, so they would have an easy ride home with the wind pushing them from behind.
Revised and updated for 2015-2016, this guide features detailed sketch charts based on the author’s own surveys and aerial photos of most anchorages. It also includes clear and concise navigational information. By far the most popular guide to the area, it covers the islands from Martinique to Grenada, with dazzling scenic photography, unsurpassed onshore information, sections on exploring, provisioning, water sports, services, restaurants, and photography.