The small island paradise of Raiatea Island, which is situated in the South Pacific, is frequently disregarded by travelers. Nonetheless, those who do travel to this lovely island are rewarded with breath-taking landscape, immaculate beaches, and a vibrant cultural history. Here are five must-see attractions in Raiatea Island if you’re thinking about visiting.
An important archeological site with major cultural significance in French Polynesia is the Taputapuatea Marae. The structure served as the Polynesian world’s epicenter and the point of departure for famous explorers who set out to explore the Pacific. A number of marae (holy platforms), ahu (stone platforms), and other buildings make up the complex. Religious rituals, political assemblies, and other significant events were held in the marae. Visitors to the location can explore the numerous buildings and discover more about the Polynesian people’s history and culture.
The abundance of carved stones that are strewn over the Taputapuatea Marae is one of its most outstanding features. Tikis are stones that represent many gods and other significant characters from Polynesian mythology. Visitors may now see many of the tikis up close and learn about their importance because several of them have just undergone restoration.
On Raiatea Island, there are a number of other significant cultural landmarks worth visiting in addition to the Taputapuatea Marae. They include the Te Ava Moa (Big Pass) and Te Ava Piti (Small Pass), which previously served as the island’s primary entry and exit routes for boats. The historic fish traps that the Polynesians used to capture fish in the lagoon can also be explored by visitors.
Snorkel and Dive in the Lagoon
One of the most stunning and unspoiled lagoons in the South Pacific surrounds Raiatea Island. For snorkelers and divers, the waters’ pristine clarity and abundance of vibrant fish, coral, and other sea life make it a paradise. On the island, there are several tour companies that provide snorkeling and diving tours, ranging from half-day trips to multi-day excursions.
The Coral Garden, which is on the island’s eastern side, is one of the most well-liked snorkeling locations. Visitors to the Coral Garden can use a guide to explore the underwater world, which is home to an amazing variety of coral formations and fish species. The Motu Nao Nao and Te Ava Moa Pass, which are renowned for having a plethora of marine life, are two other well-liked snorkeling locations.
There are numerous dive spots on the island that provide a range of experiences for individuals who are interested in scuba diving. The Tiputa Pass, which is renowned for its strong currents and thrilling drift dives, and the Canyon, which has a spectacular drop-off and a variety of fish species, are two of the most well-liked dive locations.
Hike to the Top of Mount Temehani
Raiatea Island’s highest point is Mount Temehani, and the ascent to the summit rewards climbers with breathtaking panoramas of the surroundings. The moderately difficult hike takes about three hours to complete. Hikers will traverse mountainous terrain, a beautiful rainforest, and waterfalls along the way.
Visitors have the option of hiring a guide or hiking independently from the trailhead in the settlement of Haamene. The journey starts out with a gradual ascent through the rainforest, with the surrounding waterfall’s soothing murmur serving as the only background noise. The terrain gets harder and more difficult as hikers ascend higher. The effort is well worth it, though, because of the breathtaking views from the summit.
The chance to view the unique Raiatea parakeet is one of the hike’s highlights. Just found on Raiatea Island, this colorful bird is extremely uncommon to see in the wild. Other local fauna, such the Pacific boa and the gecko, should also be kept an eye out by hikers.
Visit one of the numerous vanilla plantations on Raiatea Island to learn more about the cultivation and harvesting of vanilla, one of the most significant crops on the island. Visitors can take a tour of the plantation to see the vanilla plants up close. Vanilla plantations are often found in the beautiful valleys of the island.
Visitors will discover the history of vanilla farming on the island as well as the many methods used to cultivate and harvest the plants during the tour. The curing house, where the vanilla beans are treated and dried before being sold, is often included on the tour.
After the tour, guests can try a range of vanilla-infused ice cream, tea, and coffee goods. In addition, some farms provide seminars where guests can learn how to prepare their own vanilla-based goods, including vanilla extract and vanilla sugar.
Relax on the Beaches
Some of French Polynesia’s most stunning beaches can be found on Raiatea Island, where tourists may unwind by sunbathing and reclining on the sand. The Plage de Faaroa, which is situated on the eastern side of the island, is one of the most well-known beaches there. The beach is a well-liked location for swimming and snorkeling because of its crystal-clear blue seas and immaculate white sand.
The Plage de Ohotu, which is situated on the island’s western shore, is another well-liked beach. The beach is a favorite among families with young children because of its calm seas and soft waves. Renting kayaks or paddle boards allows visitors to explore the neighboring lagoon.
There are several tiny, undiscovered beaches dotted all across the island for those who prefer a more private beach experience. To find these undiscovered jewels, visitors can ask locals for recommendations or explore the island on their own.
In general, visitors can discover a wide range of activities and attractions on Raiatea Island. On this picturesque island, tourists may experience the beauty and diversity of French Polynesia, from cultural landmarks to outdoor adventures.
Our Top FAQ's
The best time to visit Raiatea Island is between May and October, which is the dry season. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The water is also calm and clear, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
The traditional cuisine of Raiatea Island features a variety of seafood dishes, including raw fish salad, grilled fish, and poisson cru, which is a dish made with raw fish marinated in coconut milk and lime juice. Other popular dishes include taro root, breadfruit, and coconut-based desserts.
Raiatea Island has a rich history dating back to the 11th century, when it was settled by the Polynesians. The island was a center of religion and culture, and it was home to many important temples and marae (sacred meeting places). In the 18th century, the island was visited by European explorers and later became a French colony.
Raiatea Island offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, and fishing. Visitors can hike through the island’s lush valleys and forests, explore the coral reefs and lagoons surrounding the island, or take a fishing excursion to catch tuna, mahi-mahi, and other fish species. The island is also home to several waterfalls and natural swimming holes, providing additional opportunities for outdoor exploration.