The Sacred Island
Raiatea is rich with cultural and historical significance. Believed to be the original birthplace of Polynesia, this legendary island is a secret garden of ancient myths and hidden temples. Her unique and fascinating heritage gives the island of Raiatea an intriguing sense of place.
Raiatea, which translates to "faraway heaven," was once the cultural and religious center of the Society Islands. Known in legends as Hawaiki, "the homeland," many cultures believe that this is where the great Polynesian migration began, from which large double-hulled sailing canoes set out to colonize Hawaii and New Zealand. Believed to also be the final resting place for the spirits of these ancestors, the island has remained a place of pilgrimage today.
Raiatea is the second largest of the Society Islands, next to Tahiti. Flight time is about 45 minutes from Papeete, or just a few minutes from the neighboring islands of Huahine or Bora Bora. The island shares its expansive lagoon and surrounding coral reef with sister island Taha'a. This central location and large, protected lagoon makes Raiatea one of the best islands in French Polynesia for sailing, deep-sea fishing and scuba diving.
Raiatea invites you to immerse yourself in the stories and legends surrounding ancient Polynesia. Whether you are looking to explore her inner jungles or sail the sapphire blue waters on a chartered catamaran, this island will surely deliver on its promise.
Explore Raiatea's lush jungle interior with a guided kayak excursion down the Faaroa River, French Polynesia's only navigable river. Enjoy peaceful views and discover the rich history of this island while on your river journey. Ages 3 and up. Price is per person.
Availably only to guests of Raiatea Lodge Hotel.
Explore the sacred island of Raiatea and it's rich culture with a half-day island discovery tour. Led by a knowledgeable guide, you will travel in an open-air 4x4 vehicle and see the remarkable lagoon and Faaroa Bay as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Taputapuatea, the largest marae in French Polynesia. Ages 3 and up. Price is per person.
Only available to guests of Raiatea Lodge Hotel.
Begin your 2.5-mile hike on the east coast of Raiatea, below Mt. Temehani. You will snake your way between the giant roots of the Tahitian chestnut tree and along a river that leads you to a succession of waterfalls. Giant ferns mark the path before reaching a 60-ft waterfall. From there, travel up a steep path with the help of a rope to a stunning 100-ft waterfall that empties into a natural swimming pool. Intermediate skill level. Ages 8 and up. Price is per person.
Enjoy the beauty of Raiatea and Taha'a's lagoon while at the helm of your very own Hobie Cat catamaran. With the assistance of your experienced guide, you will learn the art of using the wind to direct your boat and will visit some of the most beautiful parts of the lagoon, including getting close to the reef. A full-day tour with a picnic lunch is also available, inquire for pricing information. Ages 6 and up, must be in strong physical condition. Price is per person.
Only available to guests at Raiatea Lodge Hotel.
Discover the Faaroa River, Tahiti's only navigable river, by kayak with your expert guide leading the way through Raiatea's verdant interior. Then by car, you will visit the ancient marae temple at Taputapuatea, a recent UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will learn about it's Polynesian origins and historical relevance before sitting down to a locally-inspired picnic lunch. Ages 3 and up. Prices are per person.
Embark on a scenic 11-mile hike to Mount Temehani in the center of Raiatea. Begin in the shade of the Caribbean pine trees and scale rocky inclines. You will stop at the first crest for wonderful panoramic views of the lagoon and the islands of Taha'a, Huahine, Bora Bora and Maupiti in the distance. Continue on a narrow path amongst the local flora and fauna, crossing a few shallow rivers before arriving at the top of Mt. Temehani with breathaking views of the Raiatea coastline, lagoon and bordering islets and the island of Huahine in the distance. Sandwiches will be provided for lunch. Advanced skill level, ages 12 and up. Price is per person.
Explore the beautiful lagoon landscapes of Taha'a on this full-day boat excursion around the island. With the help of a friendly guide, you will discover Taha'a's luxurious tropical vegetation, admire breathtaking views of the magnificent turquoise Bay of Haamene and visit a pearl farm and a local vanilla plantation. Complete your Taha'a experience with snorkeling and a Polynesian lunch served on a quiet motu.
Only available to guests of Opoa Beach Hotel.