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Cruising Article – 2011-04-07

Raiatea, French Polynesia, is an island paradise

Australia/New Zealand Cruise Destinations

Located just 120 miles northwest of Tahiti, you'll be in for a real treat when you visit the island of Raiatea on your South Pacific cruise. Raiatea is the second-largest island in French Polynesia and offers the perfect mix of adventure and excitement with a unique look at history and culture.

Raiatea was once the cultural center for the ancient Polynesian people, and you'll be able to see remnants of that grand tradition on your drive around the island. The archeological site of Tainuu Marae is a prime example, as you'll have the chance to explore this historic stone temple. You'll also get to learn about the modern people who inhabit Raiatea when you visit a black pearl farm. These black pearls are considered a symbol of purity and are one of the island's largest exports.

Yet beyond the culture prominent throughout Raiatea, there's also plenty of opportunities to simply relax and take in the view. A sunset cruise on one of the island's many lagoons will give you a chance to appreciate all the natural beauty Raiatea has to offer.

If you'd rather get the adrenaline pumping a bit, a 4WD excursion might be more your speed. You'll get to see many of the natural wonders located on the island as well as the aforementioned stone temples.