Raiatea, French Polynesia
Considered the second largest island in French Polynesia, Raiatea is situated approximately 120 miles northwest of Tahiti. For the Polynesian "Maohi," ancestor of today's Tahitian, Raiatea was known as "Sacred Havai'i" and was the center of royalty, religion, culture and history. The principal village is Uturoa, with a population of over 10,000. This bustling port town features a colorful market and arts and crafts shops along the waterfront. Raiatea is currently undergoing a renaissance, with special attention being given to preserve the island's rich culture and heritage.
Raiatea's importance as both a religious and historical center for all of Polynesia is complemented by a wealth of archaelogical sites, tropical scenery and reef fringed lagoons.
Points of Interest
- Polynesian Marae
- Lagoon Activities
- Aquatic Adventures
- Black Pearl Farm
- Vanilla Plantation
- 4WD Excursion
More about Raiatea, French Polynesia Points of Interest
Raiatea is the most sacred of the Polynesian islands and formerly the religious center of French Polynesia. It has many archaeological ruins called maraes, its most important is Taputapuatea.
Raiatea and Tahaa share a protected lagoon enclosed by a single barrier reef that boasts world-class scuba diving, along with snorkeling, swimming, jetskiing, kiteboarding and more.
Raiatea and Tahaa are idyllic destinations for all kinds of water excursions, from sport and deep-sea fishing to shark and ray feedings, to sailing, kayaking and lagoon cruises. Even a motu picnic.
Located between Bora Bora and Huahine in the Society Islands, the islands of Tahaa and neighboring Raiatea are enclosed by the same coral reef, and may once have been a single island.
Black Pearl Farm
To the Polynesians, the black pearl is a symbol of purity, and the Polynesian islands are the world's leading exporter of fine black pearls with several pearl farms based on Raiatea and Tahaa.
Admiral Hamelin introduced the first vanilla plants to Polynesia in 1848 and efficient cultures emerged in 1880. Today Tahaa, the "Vanilla Island," produces over 70% of French Polynesia's vanilla.
Discover the sacred Mt. Temehani Plateau. Explore the interior of the only island in Polynesia with a navigable river, the Faaroa, on a 4WD safari. Traverse its canyons, trails and waterfalls.