Raiatea, which translates to ‘faraway heaven’, certainly lives up to its name. The island boasts breathtaking scenes of lush jungle interiors, volcanic peaks – including 3337ft-high Mount Tafatua and Mount Olympus, where rare and scared Tiare Apetati flowers grow – and extensive coastal lagoons offering stunning seascapes of azure blue waters and coral reefs teeming with colourful flora and fauna.
Beyond the island’s abundant beauty, Raiatea is also rich with cultural and historical importance. It’s believed to be the original birthplace of Polynesia, and where the great Polynesian migration to Hawaii and New Zealand began many centuries ago. Today the island is a pilgrimage for those who wish to retrace the historic steps of their ancestors.
Amongst the awe-inspiring landscapes, many fascinating historical and archaeological treasures await discovery, including Marae Taputapuatea – the largest outdoor temple in French Polynesia – and Hauviri Marae, home of the famous Te-papa-tea-ia-ruea sacred stone.