Raiatea Vacations & Honeymoon
Raiatea, first named Havait after the homeland of the ancient Polynesians, is the most sacred island in the south Pacific. As the center of religion and culture around 1,000 years ago, legends and myths lend enchantment to Raiatea's azure shoals. The green-carpeted mountains covering the interior include the celebrated Mount Temehani, a sort of Polynesian Mount Olympus.
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Considered the homeland of the first Polynesians, Raiatea holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Tahitians. Its ancient Taputapuatea marae, a sacred gathering place once thought to be the central religious and political area of Polynesia, is listed for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Originally called Havai’i, Raiatea means “faraway heaven.” Hiking its lush, green Mt. Temehani feels like you’re on your way. This region of the world is surely heaven on earth, from its lush volcanic mountains and vivid cerulean lagoons to its endless blue skies and warm, welcoming people. .
A member of the Society Islands, Raiatea and Taha'a are enclosed within one main coral reef, with a two-mile channel in-between. These two sister isles may once have been a single island. Uturoa, Raiatea’s main village in the north, holds the majority of the island’s population, which numbers a little over 12,000. Natives of Hawaii, New Zealand and the Cook Islands still meet at the historic Taputapuatea site, which they consider home to their sacred culture. Part of French Polynesia, Raiatea is an overseas collective of France. Tahitian, French and English are all spoken on this exquisite isle, the cradle of Polynesian civilization.
What To Do
Cruise along the Faaroa River, the only navigable river in the Tahiti. Explore the sacred marae at Taputapuatea, thought to be the original home of the ancient Polynesian people. Stop and smell the fragrant tiare apetahi flower as you hike towards the heavens on Mt. Temehani.
Charter a sailing catamaran or yacht and see if you can count all the shades of blue in Polynesia’s translucent waters. Sail to the nearby “Vanilla Island” of Taha’a and visit a fragrant vanilla plantation.
More than 80 percent of Tahitian vanilla is produced on this lovely, flower-shaped island.