Don't miss this fun, informative, and interactive visit to a relatively little visited side of Tahiti, as onboard lecturer archaeologist Mark Eddowes leads a unique cultural tour of the upland rain forest of Opunohu valley.
Mark Eddowes has worked clearing, mapping, excavating and restoring archaeological sites in the Opunohu valley since the 1980s. He works particularly on the life of the ancient Tahitians in this natural environment, studying their ancient habitation sites, agricultural terrace complexes, stone tool workshops, and ancient temples or marae. The recognized expert on the marae of the Society Islands, Mark will share with you his research results into the history of the temples, the rituals practiced there, and the warrior chiefs associated with them.
You will also learn about the uses in ancient times of the flora and tree species of the island for canoe manufacture, medicinal uses, and the sculpture of ti'i (tiki figures) and traditional house manufacture. Also on the itinerary of this tour are the landing site of Captain James Cook in 1777, the Opunohu agricultural school, and Belvedere lookout point.
Then, follow shady trails within the forest, between the ancient archaeological sites. Your transport will be on the traditional Le Truck, providing vista views and spectacular scenery along the way.
Please note: The forest trails are all downhill but can be slick after rain, and tree roots sometimes cross the trails. Insect repellent is not provided, so please bring your own. Bamboo staffs are provided to give stability if needed. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended. A second Tahitian guide is always at the back of the line for any additional aid during the trek. Bring some money, as purchases (organic vanilla, native jam preserves, and real vanilla ice cream!) can be bought at the agricultural school. A small bottle of water is also recommended for the trek. Not recommended for people with heart disease, lung disease, or muscle, joint, or balance problems. Total length of the tour is 4 hours, 2 of which are spent walking the miles through the forest. On Sundays, the Agricultural School is closed.