The birthplace of Polynesian culture. The ‘sacred’ island, Raiatea, is in the Society Islands in the western part of French Polynesia. Formerly called Havai’i, it is considered to be the birthplace of the gods and houses numerous archeological treasures (marae, petroglyphs, etc.) which tell the history of a unique people and their culture. The first island in the region to be inhabited, it is also home to the most spectacular and important marae in the Polynesian Triangle, the marae of Taputapuatea, which was once the center of religious and political power in all of Polynesia, including Hawaii, New Zealand Easter Island and the Cook Islands.

Raiatea abounds with natural treasures, such as its magnificent lagoon, rocky mountain cliffs and lush, unique vegetation. An ideal destination for lovers of nature and anyone interested in history. Although less famous than its illustrious neighbors Bora Bora and Moorea, Raiatea will surprise and delight you by the strength of its mana and the beauty of its scenery.

What makes it so special

Why visit Raiatea?

Diving Raiatea © Grégoire Le Bacon

Aquatic universe to explore

Raiatea and Taha’a are sister islands which share the same lagoon. Situated to the southeast of Bora Bora, the turquoise lagoon houses a multitude of motu with beautiful white sandy beaches.

It is a popular destination for surfers and diving enthusiasts, attracted by the multicolored coral and myriads of tropical fish. The idyllic setting of the lagoon is a veritable arena for all types of watersports.

The Tiare Apetahi, an endemic flower of Raiatea © Philippe Bacchet

A rich nature

Raiatea’s luxuriant natural scenery is home to many endemic species of plants, among which is the rarest in the world, the tiare apetahi. A truly magnificent hiking trail takes you to the top of Mount Temehani, which is the unique home of this beautiful and precious flowering shrub.

Raiatea also possesses the only navigable river in Polynesia, which offers an exceptional outing by kayak , paddleboard or outrigger canoe. A local guide will add color and security to your adventures of discovery in Raiatea.

Diving in Raiatea

The wreck of the Nordby in Raiatea

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Not to be missed

What to do in Raiatea

The island of Raiatea abounds with activities for the adventurous, the romantic and lovers of nature. Whether you’re a couple, a family or on your own, take an excursion to the marae of Taputapuatea and plunge into the very heart of Polynesian culture. Discover the endemic natural vegetation, waterfalls and rivers on the island. Or opt for a day on the motu with a picnic enjoyed while sitting in the shallows admiring the view over neighboring Bora Bora. If paradise is a place on earth, it might well be called Raiatea.

What to do in Raiatea ?
Sacred Marae of Taputapuatea, Raiatea © Tahiti Tourisme
Faaroa river, Raiatea © Tahiti Tourisme
Le Marae Taputapuatea de Raiatea © Tahiti Tourisme

Suggested itinerary

Three days in Raiatea

Raiatea means ‘distant sky’ or ‘sky with soft light’ in Tahitian. This green, mountainous island is the most sacred island in French Polynesia. The dive sites in the passes have very clear water, so you can observe the marine life from a distance and see down to the seabed.

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You’ll also enjoy

Activities in Raiatea

Looking for adventure? There’s a large choice of hiking trails for you to take, preferably with a local guide. Whether on foot, bike, quad ATV, four-wheel drive or horseback, you’ll find the trail to suit you. The turquoise lagoon which Raiatea shares with Taha’a is a playground for watersports lovers. Take a day trip on a boat to explore the lagoon and admire the island from the sea. Or if you prefer, explore the beauty that lies beneath the waves – you can even dive down to a shipwreck, The Nordby, which sank in the lagoon in the year 1900. If you’re seeking thrills, opt for a flight in a helicopter or light airplane to get a bird’s eye view of the island.

Activities in Raiatea
Norby wreck © Marie Charlotte Ropert
Mountain hiking on the island of Raiatea © Tahiti Tourisme

Be inspired

Experiences

Get to the very heart of Polynesian culture in Raiatea. Learn about the sacred force, mana, through the the myths and legends of this sacred island.

More experiences
More experiences

Vacation packages for Raiatea

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Latest offers

Find all our inclusive travel offers which include the island of Raiatea

All the vacation packages

11 days

Aranui Cruises

Austral Islands, Bora Bora, Fakarava, Marquesas Islands, Other Tuamotu Islands, Raiatea, Tahiti

From 6912 NZD per person

7 days

Paul Gauguin: Society Islands Cruise

Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, Raiatea, Tahaa, Tahiti

From 6570 NZD per person

11 days

Silversea Society Islands, Tuamotus and Marquesas Cruise

Bora Bora, Fakarava, Marquesas Islands, Moorea, Raiatea, Rangiroa, Tahiti

From 14275 NZD per person

10 days

Oceania Tahitian Legends Cruise

Bora Bora, Fakarava, Marquesas Islands, Moorea, Raiatea, Rangiroa, Tahiti

From 5520 NZD per person

10 days

Windstar Fly Cruise Packages 2024

Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, Raiatea, Tahiti

From 8099 NZD per person

Tahiti Holiday Homes

Moorea, Raiatea, Rangiroa, Tahiti

From 379 NZD per person
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A superb room at the Raiatea Lodge © Tahiti Tourisme

Vacations in Raiatea

There is a vast choice of accommodation on offer in Raiatea. Whether you want a hotel on a private island, a Tahitian Guesthouse, or a vacation rental, you’re sure to find the place you’re looking for.

Getting there and getting around

To get to this little corner of paradise, you can either catch a 45 minute flight from Tahiti or take a boat from the ferry terminal in Tahiti. The voyage takes from 5 to 8 hours, depending on which company you choose. The airport is in the capital of Raiatea, Uturoa, where you’ll find taxis and car rental offices. We recommend that you reserve in advance with your accommodation provider. Motor scooters and bikes are also available for hire. There are taxi-boats and ferries for getting around on the lagoon, or you can take one of the many excursions that are available.

Arrival of an Air Tahiti ATR on Raiatea © Alikaphoto
Vue aérienne sur l'atoll de Tetiaroa © Tahiti Tourisme

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