Raiatea Travel Destinations
Revered by Tahitians as The Sacred Island, Raiatea is an undeveloped tropical playground that’s home to both a rare mountain flower and French Polynesia’s only navigable river. Raiatea travel is ideal for those who love under-the-radar adventure steeped in ancient history and overflowing with panoramic mountain and lagoon vistas. Its accommodations are not as upscale as on other islands, nor are its lagoons as laden with tourists, but its old-school Tahitian vibe and haunting legends make it a memorable island to discover at your own preferred pace.
Raiatea’s heart is Mount Temehani, the only place in the world where the delicate Tiare Apetahi blossom grows, and its sacred soul is the Taputapuatea Marae, where Polynesian ancestors offered sacrifices seeking safe overwater journeys more than 1,000 years ago. You can ascend the mountain’s slopes by either 4X4 or horseback and explore the archaeological ruins of the marae, considered French Polynesia’s most sacred site, on foot. Another popular excursion is to venture up the Faaroa River by kayak or motorized outrigger canoe to discover the wealth of tropical vegetation, including massive green ferns and ruby-red flowering ginger stalks, that grow along its shores.
The island’s main town, Uturoa, has a newly renovated waterfront with small shops and a handicrafts market. Raiatea, Tahiti’s second largest island, is also a good place to visit a family-owned vanilla plantation or pearl farm, with opportunities afterward to purchase fragrant vanilla beans or luminous black pearls fashioned into rings, bracelets, pendants and more.
Divers are in luck, too, as the wide lagoon shared by Raiatea and neighboring Taha’a is rich with both coral formations and sea life – large schools of triggerfish, silver jacks, red snapper and reef sharks – as well as dramatic drop-offs an even a few famous shipwrecks. And when you depart Raiatea you will take with you the legend of the Tiare Apetahi, whose delicate petals open each dawn with a gentle crackling sound that Tahitians say represents the breaking heart of a young maiden who was forbidden to marry her true love, the Tahitian king.
Popular Sightseeing and Tours
Ask and our experts at Islands in the Sun can help you with a range of Tahiti excursions and sightseeing needs.
An unforgettable trip with spectacular views, fruit tasting and vanilla plantation. Learn the importance and uses of various plants in Polynesian culture.
Private Motu Picnic
Indulge yourself with a private half-day excursion in the turquoise lagoon, including a visit to a black pearl farm and a special Tahitian lunch for two with wine on the beach.
4WD Historic & Religious Sites
Explore Raiatea's numerous archaeological sites, including French Polynesia's most famous and best preserved Taputapuatea marae (temple).