"Close to Tahiti but far from the crowds..." Top 5 Page for this destination Raiatea by minstrel74

Raiatea Travel Guide: 66 reviews and 190 photos

The second largest of the Society Islands, Raiatea offers something that visitors who have spent time on Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora will appreciate--an opportunity to get away from the crowds. Despite being ringed by one of the most spectacular lagoons in French Polynesia, this island seems to have far fewer visitors than the islands just mentioned. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the island itself lacks the picture-perfect beaches found elsewhere, or maybe it's because of the relative lack of luxury accomodation. Whatever the case may be, I highly recommend that those who have some time come for a visit and take the opportunity to relax with the truly laid-back and exceedingly friendly people who live here. After a day or two spent in this idyllic environment, you'll be able to relax and waste away an afternoon with the best of them.

Anyone with an interest in Polynesian archaeology will be well-served on this island. Marae Taputapuatea is the one of the largest and most significant of this monument type in all of Polynesia. Unlike less well-preserved marae on other islands, the rocks and stone slabs here are still in pretty good condition, so visitors can make some sense out of how important this site was before the arrival of Europeans in the 18th century.

Raiatea is a fairly mountainous island, and for visitors who have spent several days lounging on the beach, their muscles having become flabby and noodle-like, here's your chance to get out and go for an exhilarating hike surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in French Polynesia. Although I did not personally climb Mt. Temehani, by all accounts this is a spectacular climb with gorgeous views all along the way. On the other hand, I did climb Tapioi Hill, a much less-challenging undertaking, but nonetheless a great spot from which to look out over the lagoon and across to Tahaa.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:less-visited than other islands, spectacular scenery, friendly people
  • Cons:fewer transportation, accomodation options
  • In a nutshell:With its gorgeous lagoon and spectacular scenery, it's amazing more people don't visit.
  • Last visit to Raiatea: Dec 1997
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (8)

  • lovinoz's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2011 at 6:51 AM

    Hi Sean, love the Raiatea tips! We are going in August (2011) and I'd love to check out the Tapioi Hill view, although not in great shape. We are renting a car - did the track look good enough to take a rental car on?

  • Gammy1968's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2008 at 8:01 AM

    I would love to go there so much, especially when I see the beautiful pictures.... sigh, thanks for sharing this with us!

  • perfectly_zen's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2005 at 9:04 AM

    Hey i liked this island!!!!

  • Larnie's Profile Photo
    Aug 2, 2005 at 6:13 PM

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm...beautiful place. Now I want to go there!!!

  • Cristian_Uluru's Profile Photo
    Apr 14, 2005 at 4:48 AM

    Fantastic pages!!!! Raiatea, as I can see from yours pictures, it's very similar to Bora Bora. French Polynesia is really a great place.

  • bijo69's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2005 at 6:35 AM

    Great pictures!

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2005 at 11:08 AM

    It's gorgeous! The ideal balance of paradise seashore, mountains and local culture!! Excellent page!

  • hunwagner's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2005 at 12:52 AM

    OK... is Tahiti coming next? Especially curious about the hikes there - suppsedly leading to stunning views! ;-)


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