Located 193km Northwest of Tahiti and a short 45 minute flight from the island of Tahiti, Raiatea is the second largest island in French Polynesia and regarded as the ‘Sacred Island’. Raiatea, meaning “faraway heaven” and “sky with soft light” was first named Havai’i after the homeland of the ancient Polynesians. She was the first island that was settled, home to the wondrous first Royal Marae of Polynesia, a place of religious and political power for the whole of French Polynesia. The ancient marae Taputapuatea is the largest in Polynesia and the first international marae of the ‘Polynesian Triangle’, where inauguration ceremonies, political alliances and international meetings would take place. Nowadays, communities of Hawaii, New Zealand and the Cook Islands still meet at this pilgrimage venue, which they consider as the home of their sacred culture.
She is home to deep bays, well preserved surroundings, including craters, caves, waterfalls, rivers, pearl farms, vanilla plantations and the Tiare Apetahi, a splendid plant, with its unique white flower that is only found on Raiatea. You will also find Tahiti’s only navigable river, the Faaroa on Raiatea. The island shares her lagoon with Taha’a, making both islands very accessible by boat, Raiatea is the sailing hub and you will find many yacht charter bases based in Uturoa, the island’s main town.