Vaipo Waterfall, Highest in French Polynesia

Little Leo from the Azores catamaran

 Our hike to Vaipo waterfall in Hakaui Bay, the highest waterfall in French Polynesia, was unforgetable.  Also, it was Asher’s 10th birthday! Wow, what a lucky guy to celebrate his first decade out here!

The rendezvous spot for the valley guide to give us our safety rules and collect money ($10 per person for visiting the valley, as many times as you want)

Only two or three families now live in Hakaui Valley, and they use this elegant and simple church. in pre-European times, an unfathomable 30,000 people lived in this valley. 

The view of Vaipo Waterfall from across the valley, on the right side of the frame

The Honey Bee made a flight across the valley into the heart of the waterfall. At 1148ft, it is the highest waterfall in Polynesia outside of Hawaii and New Zealand.

Throughout the hike, we saw stone foundations of ancient village structures, built over the rocks to avoid flooding from the river.

The pool at the base of the waterfall. It isn’t possible to see the full extent of the waterfall from anywhere-  except by using the honey bee drone.

Inside the waterfall it felt like a hurricane.  The force was overwhelming. We put shampoo on our hair here.


3 thoughts on “Vaipo Waterfall, Highest in French Polynesia

  1. Happen to know where the info that 30,000 lived in the valley came from? Euro visitor memoirs, carbon 14 dating of middens and structure foundation-counting, or…? Obviously must have been before the French and Brits came bearing gifts of smallpox, typhoid and the rest. Elsewhere in Polynesia population density was also high pre-colonial. When we lived not so long ago on Kauai, the population was far less than estimates prior to Captain Cook and the whalers.

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