Deep in the Australs archipelago, Rurutu is an atypical destination in French Polynesia. In spite of an almost non-existent lagoon, this island with a thousand legends and fantastic landscapes will seduce you. After Tubuai, Raivavae and Rimatara, continue your trip to the south of Tahiti!

Welcome to Rurutu

Rurutu is a fairly large island, full of mountains and without a lagoon. Its 2,400 inhabitants live in three picturesque villages (Moerai, Avera and Hauti), and live mainly from agriculture, handicrafts and tourism, especially thanks to whale watching.

The island is fairly easy to reach with Air Tahiti. Count on up to four regular flights per week from Tahiti. The journey takes just over 90 minutes. On site, it is advisable to choose an all-comfort package to ensure travel by car.

Rurutu has some very nice guesthouses. In addition to the friendly accommodation, your hosts will offer you a range of activities combining natural discoveries and encounters with the local culture. We recommend the excellent Teautamatea guesthouse on the west coast for a complete immersion, and the Vaitumu Village in Moerai for a more holiday atmosphere and a nice bungalow accommodation.

Why Going to Rurutu?

Rurutu offers unique and fantastic landscapes, in contrast to the usual image of French Polynesia. The ancient volcanic activity of the island has indeed caused the reef to rise over a hundred meters. As a result, its coastline is covered with gigantic limestone cliffs, sheltering about thirty mysterious caves that you can explore.

The inland is covered with mountains and allows for nice hikes, especially the one that takes you to the highest point of the island: Mount Manureva (385 m).  Others will prefer to discover the small paradisiacal beaches along the south coast during a horseback ride.

In search of authenticity, you will find an intact culture, proudly carrying its traditions. The island has a true historical heritage and an incredible array of fascinating and terrifying stories that the locals pass on to each generation and in annual celebrations that you should not miss. A land of legends, Rurutu seduces off the beaten track.

Ana Aeo cave on Rurutu

Things to Do in Rurutu

Visit the Caves

The mysteries of Rurutu are best discovered by exploring the majestic and eerie caves. With an experienced guide, you will visit countless caves and other fantastic excavations in search of the soul of Rurutu.

The Ana Aeo cave is the most famous of all. Its gigantic dimensions impress: 40 m long, more than 15 m high. The limestone shines under the penetrating rays of the sun and the intrusive vegetation gives the site a marvelous aspect. Men have lived there, others have been sacrificed to be consumed. The legends are beautiful and terrifying.

The adventure continues along a somewhat inhospitable path. This narrow path leads you over the top of the cliffs to the famous “Mouth of the Monster”. Erosion has deeply carved the limestone to reveal the cruel and smiling jaw of a demon. Its teeth all in stalagmites and stalactites are a forest overhanging the ocean which breaks with fracas a few meters lower. The solemn moment will remain marked in your memory. This is one of the best things to do in the Australs.


Rurutu has built a solid reputation for whale watching. Each year, the whales leave the icy waters of Antarctica to give birth in a more clement environment. The absence of a lagoon allows them to pass close to the coasts of Rurutu; for our greatest pleasure.

It is thus possible to observe the cetaceans from the shore, especially from the platforms built and giving a superb view of the bay of Moerai. You can enjoy this natural spectacle between August and October, during the southern winter.

Ask your guesthouse for more information and then go out to sea to meet the whales. If the security conditions allow it, you may be able to swim alongside them; with respect and at a distance. Far from the tourist circuits, Rurutu offers a unique contact and an extraordinary experience.

Humpback whale watching on Rurutu

Rurutu, an Island of Ancient Polynesia

Rurutu is an atypical and demanding destination that awakens the natural forces in all their splendor. It presents another Polynesia, different and just as attractive. Lovers of adventure and authenticity will be delighted. Avoiding the particularly rainy months of December to March, allow three to six nights on site. Prepare your itinerary in the Austral Islands and do not hesitate to contact us to organize your visit to French Polynesia.