If you're in search of a true cultural experience, make sure Raiatea is part of your itinerary. The island is rich with cultural and historical significance. This intriguing and mystifying destination will instantly spark your interest and keep you actively exploring its beautifully majestic terrain.
Raiatea is the largest of the Leeward Group of Society Islands
. It's a 45-minute flight from Tahiti
, or an even shorter flight from any of the other neighboring islands. Raiatea shares its lagoon and its airport with its sister island, Taha'a
The Birthplace of Polynesia
Many Polynesian cultures believe that Raiatea, known in legends as "Hawaiki," was the birthplace of Polynesia. They call it the "Sacred Island" because it has kept many traces from its past and is still a place of pilgrimage today. It is home to the largest outdoor marae (temple) in Polynesia called the Taputapuatea Marae.
Yacht Charter Capital of Tahiti
Because of its central location and expansive lagoon, Raiatea has become the nautical center of Tahiti. It is home to nearly all of the sailboat and yacht charter companies in the region. Tahiti Yacht Charter
is just one of many operating out of Uturoa, the island's capital. Boating enthusiasts and experienced sailors will find a world-class variety of charter vessels available for a multitude of adventures.
Raiatea is also the only island in Tahiti with a navigable river. The Faaroa River winds through its lush rainforest and serves as a great way to explore the island via powered outrigger canoe, kayak or motorboat. Other water activities include diving and snorkeling. The shared coral reef between Raiatea and Taha'a
is rich with a variety of marine life, caverns, drop-offs and famous shipwrecks including the Nordby, a three-masted ship that sank in 1900....
Popular land excursions include a private motu picnic, a visit to the sacred Taputapuatea Marae, a 4WD trek into the island's interior jungle or a hike to Mount Temehani where you can encounter the island's sacred flower. Known as the Tiare Apetahi, this rare and delicate flower only grows on Raiatea and can't be found anywhere else in the world. Polynesians will share with you a popular legend to explain why this is, but it's a phenomenon that has long been a mystery to botanists. In fact, there are 26 other plant species that are also indigenous to this island only.
While there are several pensions and local bed and breakfasts available, there are also two lovely hotels on the island of Raiatea. The first is the Raiatea Lodge Hotel
, located just 2.5 miles east of the airport. This property features 15 lagoon and garden view rooms and a popular full-service restaurant. Secondly, there's the Opoa Beach Hotel, featuring romantic cottages along a lovely beach toward the south end of the island.
We recommend getting lost in the stories and legends surrounding this exciting island paradise. Whether you're looking to explore the inner jungles or glide across the blue waters on a catamaran
- or maybe even a combination of both - Raiatea is the perfect destination for these unforgettable adventures.