Ua Pou: The world’s only Tahitian Chocolate.

Ua Pou in the Marquesas islands of Polynesia is a fascinating place. Home of traditional Hula Kahiko, the most amazing abundance of tropical fruits, and the world’s only chocolate grown in Polynesia, this emerald island is not to be missed.

The small town sits above a green bay with white sandy beaches where you can kayak or take the sun. In the town center is a community garden, where locals will bring their arts and crafts, and lots of fruit for you to try, which is amazing. Don’t miss out on visiting the little general store to pick up some amazing local honeys and wares.

One of the most unique elements of the island is a man named Manfred Drexler (badass) who was born in East Germany and escaped to Tahiti 35 years ago. A chocolatier by trade, he pioneered the planting of cocoa on the island, and now produces the only chocolate in all of Polynesia. In a region of the world where vanilla is king, Manfred looked the other way, and brought the good dark brown stuff to this island paradise. It’s a unique chocolate, silky smooth, with rich umami and toasted flavors, and definitely a unique gift to bring home.

Of course a trip to Ua Pou would not be complete without experiencing traditional Hula Kahiko dance performed on a sacred heiau, which is beautiful, haunting, and exciting to watch. The men are ferocious, and the women graceful, and together they bring the spirit of Polynesia to life. Thanks Aranui for bringing us to paradise.

 

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Ua Huka: The woodcarving center of the Marquesas.

Ua Huka in the Marquesas islands, is a remote paradise with lush green valleys, high peaks for carving, and amazing museums and wood carving centers throughout the island. The first Western navigator to sight the island was U.S. Navy Capt. Joseph Ingraham in 1791. He named the island “Washington Island” in honor of U.S. President George Washington, which blows my mind, considering that not many foreigners have visited the island since.

From Lonely Planet: This low-key, little-visited island feels entirely clean of the troubles of the world; the trees are heavy with fruit, wind whips over the mostly bare hills, surf swishes against the rocky cliffs – and good luck getting a signal on your cell phone outside of Vaipaee. Woodcarving is the main activity here and this is the land of masters. There are only three villages, and after a day or two the small communities here seem to absorb you like a giant, friendly sponge. Watch the artisans at work; zigzag up the flanks of an extinct volcano to reach mysterious archaeological sites in the jungle; look for one of the world’s rarest and most beautiful birds; and delve right into Marquesan life.

 

 

 

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