Where to See Uga in Niue
Coconut crabs, locally known as uga, are an iconic species in Niue. They are integral to the Niuean culture, which locals love to eat as a delicacy. Uga also make amazing creatures to simply observe and learn about, as they are large land-dwelling anthropods that can live up to 60 years old, weighing around 3-4kg when fully grown. Uga are amazing to see in action, ripping open coconut husks with their powerful claws and climbing tree trunks to get their next fix of coconut. Learn more about where to see an uga for yourself in this list of ways to see a uga in Niue.
For more wildlife talk, see Where to See Wildlife in Niue.
1. Taue Uga Tours
As the name suggests, Taue Uga Tours’ main focus is the prized uga. Join your local guide for a tour of culture-meets-nature where you’ll learn how to set up coconut baits to entice uga for catching later in the evening. There are two tours available, best if both are experienced but it’s possible to just experience either the day tour setting up the baits or the night tour catching the crabs. Either one gives you an opportunity to learn about the fascinating lifecycle of the uga, see them in action and even hold one. Learn more about this tour in detail in The Guided Tours in Niue.
2. Matapa Guest House
Guests at the Matapa Guest House, located in the northern village of Hikutavake, have the opportunity to join their local hosts for a range of cultural activities. One of the activities is hunting for uga, where you’ll enjoy a relaxed and authentic cultural experience. Other activities they offer include weaving a Niuean basket, learning how to husk a coconut and how to make an umu (underground oven). Learn more about this accommodation in the 10 Best Holiday Homes in Niue.
3. Misa’s Nature Tour
Misa’s Nature Tour teaches you many things about the Niuean forest, from bush survival to the residents that live there. Of course, one of those residents is the coconut crab, where Misa’s Nature Tour allows you to observe a uga in action, as well as learn how to hold one. Find out more about this nature tour and others in the 7 Best Nature Tours in Niue.
4. A5 Rainforest & Plantation Tour
Another opportunity to hold an uga presents itself on the A5 Rainforest & Plantation Tour. This 4WD tour in Mutalau takes you to Niuean bush gardens and rainforest where you can learn about how locals cultivate the land and enjoy sustenance living. You’ll also learn how to husk a coconut and try a range of vegetables and seasonal fruit on this interactive tour.
5. Scenic Matavai Resort
Niue’s only resort, the Scenic Matavai Resort, has a busy evening schedule of entertainment including an uga demonstration. Typically on Wednesday evenings around 5.30pm, an uga demonstration takes place at the resort’s Pool Bar where you’ll learn some interesting facts about the infamous uga and also have the opportunity to hold one. Learn more about this resort in the 10 Best Hotels & Resorts in Niue.
6. Village Show Days
Each year, each Niuean village has one day to showcase the best of their village, whether it’s their food, crops, catch, handicrafts or something else. As part of the celebrations, there’s almost always uga involved, either for selling or for racing or just showing off whose caught the biggest uga. Learn more about village show days in What are the Village Show Days in Niue?
7. Crossing the Road at Night
Uga are nocturnal creatures with an acute sense of smell, so if they smell a coconut across the road with its name on it, nothing is going to stop it. When driving along the road at night, particularly in forested areas near the coast, you might be lucky enough to spot an uga on the road so slow down and watch the show!
8. Niue Market
If you want to try an uga for eating, then you are typically able to buy one from the Niue Market. The Niue Market is held in the market building in Alofi next to the Visitor Information Centre. It takes place on Monday and Friday mornings between 5am and 8am, while the one on a Wednesday morning starts at 6am until the afternoon.