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.

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Points of Interest

  • Polynesian Marae
  • Lagoon Activities
  • Aquatic Adventures
  • Tahaa
  • Black Pearl Farm
  • Vanilla Plantation
  • 4WD Excursion
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More about Raiatea, French Polynesia Points of Interest

  • Polynesian Marae

    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.

  • Lagoon Activities

    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.

  • Aquatic Adventures

    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.

  • Tahaa

    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.

  • Vanilla Plantation

    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.

  • 4WD Excursion

    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.

9 EXCURSIONS

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Kayak the Faaroa River

3.5 hours | Raiatea | RFP-770
  • Aquatic Adventures

Glide along the tranquil Faaroa River on this half-day kayak adventure that makes the most of Raiatea's natural wonders. Follow your guide along the waterway lined with dense foliage, verdant cliffs and a vibrant bird and wildlife population. Take in the scenic beauty, and bring your camera for wonderful pictures.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$99.95

Tales & Legends of Raiatea

3.5 hours | Raiatea | RFP-600
  • Polynesian Marae
  • Aquatic Adventures

Discover the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Raiatea when you explore key sights along its east coast. Enjoy a guided cruise down Faaroa River, the only navigable river in French Polynesia. Visit the historic Marae of Taputapuatea, the cradle of Polynesian religious and political life, and swim at a picturesque beach.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$99.95

Raiatea Highlights

3.5 hours | Raiatea | RFP-110
  • Polynesian Marae
  • Tahaa

Board an air-conditioned bus for a panoramic drive through the main town of Uturoa -- the cultural and administrative center of Raiatea.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$119.95

Anapa Pearl Farm Reef House & Snorkel

3 hours | Raiatea | RFP-790
  • Tahaa
  • Lagoon Activities
  • Aquatic Adventures
  • Black Pearl Farm

Tour the Anapa Pearl Farm Reef House situated over the lagoon, and then, don snorkel and mask for a swim amongst the oyster beds. You'll have time to shop for black pearls afterwards. Fresh fruit, juice, and local beer are included on this excursion.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$119.95

Tahaa Coral Gardens Drift Snorkel

3.75 hours | Raiatea | RFP-795
  • Tahaa
  • Lagoon Activities
  • Aquatic Adventures

Join a drift snorkel excursion for experienced snorkelers. From an isolated motu off Tahaa, let the current carry you through a channel in the reef to your waiting boat. Afterwards, enjoy free time in the lagoon or on the motu. Fresh fruits and juices are included on this half-day excursion.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$139.95