"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: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.
About 30 km south of Uturoa, this marae is supposedly the largest and most significant in all of French Polynesia. Its... more travel advice
If you just want to pick up some fruit or other snacks, you can't beat the central market in downtown Uturoa. You'll... more travel advice
Written Feb 14, 2005
Photos from the top of Tapioi Hill
Written Feb 13, 2005
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