Your Dream Vacation is Here
Created by: Kelaiamano Aharau
Introduction : Raiatea
Raiatea is located on the north-west of the principal island of French Polynesia, Tahiti. The flight lasts 45 min from the main island. On the contrary of Tahiti. It holds the commercial and tourism sector of the whole region. Raiatea stands to be the cultural, patrimonial and sacred island. It’s an idyllic destination for the Tahitian people to reconnect with their culture. Either of the locals and tourists can feel the Māna.
French Polynesia got its strength from the sacred Taputapuatea marae, at the south of Raiatea. The expansions of Polynesians throughout the Pacific began on Raiatea from this exact site. Raiatea means “faraway heaven” but was first named Havai’i. Recognized as the most sacred island in the region, the “faraway heaven” has a treasure to protect from everyone. The “ ‘Apetahi “ is the most respected and sacred flower because of the history behind her creation. It only grows on top of the Mt. Temehani. A flower found nowhere else in the world. Tahitian people adore and respect this gift from heaven as it was God’s hand on Earth.
The climate in French Polynesia is a tropical climate. On average, the temperatures of Ra’iatea are hot and humid. Consequently the weather is always good. Unlike big countries, French Polynesia has only two seasons: the hot and the rain season. The rain season holds tourists from coming in our beautiful blue-lagooned islands. The peak season for tourists to visit the islands are at the end of the rain season, in March. From March to October, the sun is out and lagoons are splendid. When the light meets the sea, a beautiful unbelievable turquoise lagoon appears. That time of the year is magical for most people visiting The islands of Tahiti.
The tourism industry is not flourishing in Raiatea. The paradisiac destination of Bora-Bora has its effect on its sister island. Raiatea has a lot to offer from our culture but visitors and tourists wants the idyllic part of the destination that they find in the numerous postal cards. The numbers of tourists is low in Raiatea but the quality is there. A small amount of the tourism sector is held in Raiatea. On the other hand, a specific type of tourists is coming. Usually they come to stay a week or less then visit the island around. Since Raiatea is the top yachting location the region. Boat-sailers, sailers and sea lovers are the principal target of this destination. Not only that, but Raiatea also shelters the only navigable river in French Polynesia. Tourists are welcomed and taken on an unusual canoe ride inside the forest of pūrau, bamboos and māpē.
Getting to Your Location
List the major ways tourists get to your location.
Air: Raiatea is served by Air Tahiti with a 45 minutes flight from the International Airport of Faaʻa – Tahiti. Several departures are schedule per day. Raiatea is the center of this group of island. The capital is the first stop over.
Water: Raiatea shares its lagoon with Tahaa, the neighbor island. Taxi boats, speed boats and little cruise ships are available. It takes at least 25 minutes to get to Tahaa, it depends on how far away you live on the island.
Ground: Taxis are already at the airport. For some of them, booking needs to be made before the arrival. Some just wants visitors to pay. It takes 2/3min to get to the city and the itinerary is usually $5 for each person.
Getting around Raiatea
The visitor and tourists are usually from big cities in bigger countries. To get to Raiatea you need to take the plane. There is no ferry companies, which deserve Raiatea because of the distance. After your arrival, you take a taxi/shuttle to get to the city or to your pension. For those who visits the “city”, or more like a village, they can walk around and see everything. Since, it is an island everything is smaller and more convenient. The approximate costs of these services goes from $5 to $15, depending on how far you are going. Raiatea Rental proposes e-bikes, cars and boats to rent for day or for a week. The prices are affordable.
Accomodations is part of the Travel and Tourism industry, along with Air travel and Food services sectors. The accomodation sector makes more than any other businesses in the travel and tourism industry. Hotel, motel and resort are part of this large and significant sector. Accomodations are every structures that welcome guests, tourists or residents for a night at least.
HOTELS / RESORTS
Opoa Beach Hotel
Hikes, boat tour
Hotel Raiatea Lodge
Tahaa Island Resort & Spa
Spa, pool, jet ski tour
Tourists, mid-range locals
There are a lot of guesthouses in Raiatea that allows all customers to enjoy the recreational environment.
The 3 waterfalls Boarding -house
Hike, Canoe excursion,
Tourists with a medium wallet
Tourists with a medium wallet
Te Maeva Boarding-house
Mostly residents, visitor with minimum wage
Food & Beverage
Uturoa is the center of Raiatea therefore it holds all the main spot to eat. Fortunately, you won’t find any fast-food restaurant in Uturoa. The Tahitian culture evolved and share its property with the Chinese culture. That results of having plenty of mini Chinese store. We call it “snack” when it would actually be called “store”. We would always say to other people “I’m going to the snack, want anything?” In the islands, there are no fast-food restaurants neither fine dining restaurants unless you are staying at a Resort accommodation like, the Bora Bora
Karaoke night, DJ night
Italian and Tahitian cuisine
MEETINGS AND EVENT LOCATIONS
Raiatea holds a few formal meetings and restraint convention principally located in private and quiet location. Work meetings, marriage conventions and other large gatherings are mostly for a special event like: Important announcements in the county, union of two families or celebrating an anniversary. What’s qualified as “a special event” is often held in the same spot, that the city hall owns. Other than that, formal meeting and conventions are held in one of the “finest restaurant” of Raiatea, such as:
- Fish & Blue
- Le Tahaa
- Hotel Raiatea Lodge
RECREATION AND ENTERTAIMENT
French Polynesia loves to show off its culture and to do so, recreational activities are mainly related to water activities or mountains activities. In the Islands far from Tahiti (Main island) shopping is not able at all, the farer you are from Tahiti the more culture you will discover. Tahitian people show off their culture through creations:
Earrings, bracelets, necklaces or dresses. Tahitian culture has water activities to propose and inland activities. Landscapes are mostly what we have to offer to tourists.
Sports & Recreation Spas:
Arts, Culture, Entertainment:
Fun in Your Location: A Itinerary for An Audience
MORNING: THE THREE WATERFALLS, CADICHON VALLEY
The Cadichon valley has a ranch with horse riding session and donkey. This valley is a private but accessible valley that goes into a wildlife forest of acres. A cattle is living in this valley and is really gentle. The private valley is leading to a source of clear water where animals can refresh. For the waterfalls, only the third one is worth stop by. The hike takes about 45-60 minutes to reach the last waterfall and connect with nature. Guides are required to do this hike because the track is tricky. The feeling you get from this hike are: calm and peace.
AFTERNOON: SUN SETTING OVER BORA-BORA
The « three waterfalls » is actually a boarding house that has excursions to Tahaa for the sunset. People will take the blue excursion boat to go off the coast of Tahaa, island sister, to see the sun setting over Bora-Bora. The travel is short of about 30-45 minutes from the city of Avera, where the boarding was to the spot of the sunset view. Appetizer and barbecue are available on demand.
MORNING: OFF TO TAHAA to VANILA VALLEY
Tahaa is the sister island of Raiatea because they share the same coral barrier thus the same lagoon. Tahaa is well-known as the « vanilla » island. Locals call it: Black gold, it is cultivated and exported worldwide. Vanilla is a much appreciate flavor and fragrant but its growth process requires a human intervention. A flower bloom but farmers need to put the pollen in the bean to create one bean of vanilla. If the marriage isn’t done well, the flower perishes.
AFTERNOON: GARDEN CORAL, SUNSET & DINNER AT THE « VAHINE ISLAND »
All the activities in the islands are held at sea. The coral garden is similar to a botanical garden but it is under the sea.This garden belongs to locals, it was made available to tourist not long ago. It’s located at the back of Tahaa, on what we, locals, call a « motu » which mean island with no mountain. People ensure that they have their shoes on, their masks and tuba on to go on a tiny adventure in the turquoise blue of the coral garden. It’s only corals in their perfect form with millions of colors. The process of the visit is quite remarkable. You go by the reef at the very top and you dive in. The current will take you down and you will see every corals without even swimming in the garden. The rules are clear: you only touch with your eyes. Vahine island is another motu where you can only take breakfast or brunch. It is also a boarding house.
Day 3 DREAM YACHT CHARTER
A day or two on a dream charter. Some of the locals haven’t got the the chance to enjoy this ride. It’s a one-day minimum travel and 5 maximum with a crew on board. Raiatea island tour and then Tahaa island tour. Packages are available to start with.
Dream yacht charter crew will board every one on the yacht and will go around Raiatea and eventually stop at many spots. The yacht will left for the east side of the islands on the way to the historical site of Taputapuatea. Many old pearl farm are along the east side of the island, many of them still have tools in them, to extract the pearl from the shell. Private motu are there also.
On the crystalline water the boat is floating. Tourists can ask to stop for a quick swim. Usually in the afternoon, the boat will be on the west coast. The afternoon on a yacht is pretty calm and comfy. Every dish is prepared by the crew so you can just relax, tan or read a book. Not all of them but captain love to give the wheel to tourist, to make them navigate by themselves. The anchor is usually throw over a sand dunes.
MORNING: DREAM YACHT CHARTER RETURN
The next morning, people are waking up by the captain to enjoy the sun rise. He then explain the plan of the day and the itinerary of the return on the island in the afternoon. Swimming session and scuba diving are help by the crew too.
AFTERNOON: JET SKI TOUR
Jet ski tours are held by a small business near town. They have great prices for the whole afternoon. Clients can choose to go with or without a guide but they choose to have a guide to tell them the stories of the bays, mountains, wrecks, etc.. At the end of the day, tourists are returning to their boarding house for the only dinner they’ll get over there. Some
MORNING: THE HISTORIC SITE OF TAPUTAPUATEA
Explore the cultural and historical site of Taputapuatea. The history of Tahitian people is held by our elderly people but also by this mythical site. All Tahitian is connected to this place. Tourists testify that they felt it. The spirit of our ancestors, we called « māna »
AFTERNOON: DINNER AND SUNSET AT THE FISH & BLUE RESTAURANT
The diner is held at the famous Fish & Blue restaurant, located on the west coast, where the sun is setting. Like the name of the restaurant, majority of the dishes contains fish. If you don’t like fish, you can always order vegan dishes.
SWOT Analysis of Tourism in Your Location
- Closeness of the ocean
- Cultural sites
- Paradisiac views
- Large rage of stay
- Limited attractions
- Uncommon way of life
- Limited airport
- Limited night life and entertainment
- Customers needs for a simple way of life
- Easiness to feel like they belong here
- Customer service
The SWOT analysis shows that Raiatea is a humble but full of great experience destination. The weaknesses such as limited entities shows that Raiatea is simple and close to our true nature. People like to say that when they are fully immersed, a feeling of belonging rise up. Its strengths are completely about nature and that is what tourists and travelers will experience during their stay. My humble island home doesn’t need more to attract tourists but still needs to evolve along. The list of opportunities is short. It’s almost like the destination attracts people and let them choose between staying for life or living like us for a period of time.