French Polynesia

Best Time to Visit Marquesas Islands

08/31/2022

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Seasons in the Marquesas Islands

The Marquesas Islands are the northernmost archipelago in French Polynesia, approximately 1,500 km north of Tahiti and just 10 degrees south of the equator. The group consists of six inhabited islands from a total of 15, each with its distinct dialect. With 10,000 inhabitants, the archipelago’s population represents less than 4% of French Polynesia’s total population. 

If you’re still wondering when to visit the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia, this quick guide is ideal for you. This article contains all the information on the best season to visit Marquesas Islands and our best tips.

Marquesas Islands

In general, you can visit the Marquesas Islands throughout the year but the best time is during the dry season.

In the Marquesas, seasons are opposite to the rest of the archipelagos in French Polynesia. This means that the dry season in the Marquesas Islands runs from November to April and the wet season is from May to October. 

That said, during the wet season, the Marquesas Islands’ weather is not as wet as in Tahiti. Despite their position very close to the equator, the Marquesas Islands are quite dry by the standard of equatorial islands, especially the northernmost islands. The southernmost islands in this archipelago are rainier.

Being the Marquesas Islands outside the hurricane area, the probability to be hit by a tropical cyclone is very low. There’s however the constant blowing of the trade winds, which translates into moderate temperatures throughout the year (22C to 31C).

Festivals in the Marquesas Islands

You may want to plan your vacation in the Marquesas Islands around its most famous festival, the Festival des Arts des Iles Marquises (Matavaa O Te Fenua Enana). This festival brings together more than 1800 participants from the different corners of the Polynesian Triangle (Hawaii, New Zealand, the Easter Island), and it’s the best opportunity for travelers to experience the drumming, dance, carving, language, and culture of the Marquesas Islands.

The  Matavaa O Te Fenua Enana takes place every four years (usually in December) on one of the three most populated islands of the archipelago: Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva, and Hiva Oa.

Since 2006, a mini festival has been added every four years, in order to also promote the smaller islands: Tahuata, Fatu Hiva, and Ua Huka. Not having the resources and reception capacities of the main islands, the mini festival only receives groups from other Marquesan Islands but it is also well worth the trip!

In the end, this alternating of Major and Mini Festivals means that there is a festival every two years. The next Major Festival will take place in 2023 on Nuku Hiva (dates to be defined) while the next Mini Festival will take place in 2025 in Ua Huka (dates to be defined).

When to Go to Marquesas Islands

To summarize, the best time to visit the Marquesas Islands to enjoy good weather is between September and November, which are the least rainy months.

If you are interested in the archipelago’s fascinating culture, target December, around the days of the Major or Mini festival (book everything well in advance!)

If you want to visit the Marquesas Islands to enjoy water activities, the sea temperature is suitable for swimming all year round (around 27C-29C).

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