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Raiatea

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.

The Legend

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.

The Locale

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.

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Featured Raiatea Vacations

Islands of Discovery, Raiatea and Tikehau

Islands of Discovery, Raiatea and Tikehau

Featuring Opoa Beach Hotel and Relais Royal Tikehau

Indulge in a secluded Polynesian getaway to the islands of Raiatea and Tikehau. Package includes round-trip international airfare from select California cities, all transfers, round-trip inter-island air, three nights at Opoa Beach Hotel with daily breakfast and dinner, three nights at Relais Royal Tikehau with daily breakfast and dinner, and one night in Papeete at the Hotel Royal Tahitien. 

FROM

$3,050

PP

7 Nights

Accommodations

There are two quaint hotels on the island, as well as several pensions and guesthouses. The first option is the charming Raiatea Lodge Hotel, located on the western coast of the island. The second is the Opoa Beach Hotel, which features white wooden cottages along a lovely beach toward the south end of the island.

Dream Yacht Charter

Dream Yacht Charter

Dream Yacht Charter provides private or shared sailing options in the Society Islands and Tuamotu Atolls. These luxury catamarans are designed to accommodate up to twelve passengers, meaning you can reserve the yacht as a group or reserve a single cabin on a scheduled cruise departure. Visit islands including Bora Bora, Moorea, Raiatea, Taha'a and Huahine with an array of onboard water activities and onshore excursions to allow you to fully experience multiple islands on your trip.

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Tahiti Yacht Charter

Tahiti Yacht Charter

Experience the luxury of private yacht cruising in Tahiti with custom cruise itineraries through Bora Bora, Raiatea, Taha’a and Huahine aboard your own private catamaran. Enjoy secluded white sand beaches, stop at a remote motu and swim in translucent lagoons – the beauty of Tahiti Yacht Charter is you can do as much or as little as you want. The crew will tailor your sailing experience to your desires, taking into account the type of catamaran, the season and the duration of your cruise. The fleet of 30 modern and luxurious catamarans can accommodate anywhere from two to twelve people. Each is equipped with two kayaks, two floating hammocks, dinghy, snorkeling and fishing gear.
 

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Haumana Cruises

Haumana Cruises

Experience a refined small-ship cruise through Bora Bora's sparkling lagoon and the natural wildness of Taha'a. The Haumana offers 3-night cruise itineraries between the islands of Raiatea, Taha'a and Bora Bora. Each cabin is newly refurbished and features large windows and Polynesian accents. The onboard chef creates menus based on fresh and local produce with a well-complemented wine selection. 

Activities onboard include kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, land excursions to a pearl farm and leisurely visits to private motus. All crew members onboard are Polynesian and very proud of their traditions and culture. Learn ancestral techniques such as pareo painting and enjoy traditional song and dance performances each evening. 

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Opoa Beach Hotel

Opoa Beach Hotel

The Opoa Beach Hotel is located on a lovely white sand beach on the south side of Raiatea, about thirty minutes from the airport and the main town of Uturoa. This secluded setting affords incredible views of the lagoon and the island of Huahine. The hotel features only nine bungalows situated near the beach, pool or garden. Each guesthouse is designed to reflect a comfortable and charming beach cottage with white teak furniture, tropical decor and a large patio with private hammock.

 

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Raiatea Lodge Hotel

Raiatea Lodge Hotel

The Raiatea Lodge is located on the northwest coast of Raiatea, facing the nearby island of Bora Bora. This quaint hotel is only five minutes from the airport and ten minutes from the main village of Uturoa, serving as the ideal home base from which to explore both Raiatea and Taha'a. Reminiscent of an old colonial plantation, it covers two acres of tropical gardens and features a large swimming pool amidst the foliage, creating an inviting locale for lounging and relaxation.

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Recreation

Raiatea serves as the nautical center of French Polynesia. The island is home to nearly all sailboat and yacht charter companies in the region, including Tahiti Yacht Charter and Archipels Cruises. You will find them in the main town of Uturoa, a sleepy waterfront village reminiscent of Papeete from years past. Raiatea is also the only island in Tahiti with a navigable river. The Faaroa River curls through its lush rainforest, providing a great way to explore the island via powered outrigger canoe, kayak or motorboat.

Mount Temehani, the Polynesian equivalent of Mount Olympus, towers over the northern part of the island. You can hike to the top of this extinct volcano and encounter the rare and sacred Tiare Apetahi. This delicate flower only grows in Raiatea and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Polynesians will share with you a popular legend to explain this phenomenon, but it remains a botanical mystery. In addition, there are over two dozen other plant species indigenous to the island.

Marae Taputapuatea, on the southeast coast of Raiatea, is the largest outdoor marae (temple) in French Polynesia. You can embark on a Jeep Safari tour into the island's interior jungle and pay homage to this massive archaeological site, discovering other small historical remnants along the way.

Raiatea Activities

Half-Day Kayak Excursion on the Faaroa River

Half-Day Kayak Excursion on the Faaroa River

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. 

FROM

$55

PP

Half-Day Raiatea 4x4 Island Tour

Half-Day Raiatea 4x4 Island Tour

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. 

FROM

$55

PP

Raiatea Waterfall Hike

Raiatea Waterfall Hike

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.

FROM

$59

PP

Raiatea Hobie Cat Lagoon Discovery

Raiatea Hobie Cat Lagoon Discovery

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. 

FROM

$66

PP

Faaroa River and Ancient Marae Tour with Lunch

Faaroa River and Ancient Marae Tour with Lunch

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. 

 

FROM

$88

PP

Raiatea Mountain Hike to Mt. Temehani

Raiatea Mountain Hike to Mt. Temehani

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. 

FROM

$117

PP

Taha'a Day Tour with a Polynesian Lunch

Taha'a Day Tour with a Polynesian Lunch

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. 

FROM

$124

PP

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