Known as the birthplace of Polynesian culture, Raiatea is a sacred island located in the Society Islands of western French Polynesia. Formerly called Havai’i, it is considered the cradle of the gods and houses numerous archaeological treasures, including marae and petroglyphs, that narrate the history of its unique people and culture. As the first island in the region to be inhabited, Raiatea is home to the most significant marae in the Polynesian Triangle, the marae of Taputapuatea. This site once served as the epicentre of religious and political power across 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. It is an ideal destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Although less famous than its acclaimed neighbours Bora Bora and Moorea, Raiatea will surprise and delight you with its powerful mana and breathtaking landscapes

What makes it so special

Why visit Raiatea?

Diving Raiatea © Grégoire Le Bacon

Captivating underwater wonders

Raiatea and Taha’a are sister islands sharing the same turquoise lagoon, located southeast of Bora Bora. This stunning lagoon is dotted with numerous motus adorned with beautiful white sandy beaches, making it a paradise for surfers and diving enthusiasts alike.

The multi-coloured coral reefs and myriad tropical fish attract underwater explorers, while the serene and picturesque setting offers a perfect arena for various watersports.

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

Breathtaking natural landscapes

Raiatea’s lush natural landscape is home to many endemic plant species, including the world’s rarest flower, the Tiare Apetahi. A magnificent hiking trail leads you to the summit of Mount Temehani, the exclusive habitat of this beautiful and precious shrub.

Additionally, Raiatea boasts Polynesia’s only navigable river, perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, or exploring by outrigger canoe. A local guide can enhance your adventure, ensuring a vibrant and safe exploration of Raiatea’s unique wonders.

Diving in Raiatea

The Nordby wreck 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 the nature lovers. Whether you’re travelling as a couple, with family, or on your own, an excursion to the marae of Taputapuatea will plunge you into the heart of Polynesian culture. Discover the island’s endemic vegetation, stunning waterfalls, and rivers. Alternatively, opt for a day on the motu enjoying a picnic in the shallows while taking in the breathtaking views of neighbouring Bora Bora. If paradise exists 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 lush, mountainous island holds the title of the most sacred island in French Polynesia. The dive sites in Raiatea’s passes are known for their crystal-clear waters, allowing for excellent visibility to observe 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? Raiatea offers an array of hiking trails, best explored with a knowledgeable local guide. The turquoise lagoon shared with Taha’a is a playground for water sports lovers. Embark on a boat excursion to explore the lagoon’s beauty and behold the island from a unique perspective. For those inclined to explore the beauty that lies beneath the waves, dive down to The Nordby shipwreck, resting on the lagoon floor since 1900. If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, take a helicopter or light aircraft flight for a breathtaking 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. Uncover the mystical power of mana through the rich tapestry of myths and legends woven into the fabric of this revered island.

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Holiday packages for Raiatea

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Latest offers

Find all our inclusive travel offers encompassing the enchanting island of Raiatea.

All holiday packages

15 days

Luxury Paul Gauguin Cruises – Tahitian Paradise Sale

Bora Bora, Moorea, Raiatea, Tahaa, Tahiti

From 9449 AUD per person

18 days

Epitome of French Polynesian Luxury- Silversea Cruise & Hilton Moorea Overwater Bungalow Package

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

From 21199 AUD per person

10 days

Escape Winter Sale – Windstar Dreams of Tahiti Package

Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, Raiatea, Tahiti

From 6999 AUD per person

10 days

Call of the Sea and Polynesian Lagoons

Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Tahiti

From 7351 AUD per person

15 days

Your Polynesian adventure

Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, Raiatea, Tahiti

From 5273 AUD per person
From 5790 AUD per person
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A superb room at the Raiatea Lodge © Tahiti Tourisme

Where to stay in Raiatea?

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

Getting here 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. It’s advisable to reserve in advance through your accommodation provider. Motor scooters and bikes are also available for hire. To explore the lagoon, you can use taxi-boats and ferries, or join one of the many excursions offered.

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

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