The Essentials Of Raiatea
1. A Land of History
Raiatea the Sacred is full of archaeological remains, symbol of the past grandeur of the island. At the bend in the road, the marae recall the history of Polynesian civilization. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017, the royal marae Taputapuatea is a thousand-year-old site. Its symbolic significance goes beyond the limits of French Polynesia and also concerns Maoris and Hawaiians.
The Taputapuatea marae is at the heart of the Te Pö ceremonial complex. Other marae and ancestral structures share the site, such as the Hauviri marae and its 2.4 m sacred stone. Long neglected, these sites are now maintained and in excellent condition. Everywhere else, the stone is also a reminder of the importance of the spiritual in Polynesian culture.
2. Nautical Excursions
The main island of Raiatea does not have any beautiful beaches available to tourists. On the other hand, the numerous motus that surround it are freely accessible. With the help of a kayak, you will go in search of virgin and peaceful spaces on the sandy islets. It is indeed on the motus that you will find the most beautiful beaches in Raiatea. As such, the motu Iriru offers the most wonderful setting for swimming, snorkeling and contemplation.
Raiatea Island has the only navigable waterway in all of Polynesia. Aboard a boat, you will sail up the Faaroa River in the shade of the tropical vegetation and volcanic mountains. A practical and original way to discover the Polynesian lands.
3. The Search for the Sacred Flower
Many walking tours are possible on Raiatea Island. The hike on the Mount Temehani plateau stands out among them all. First of all, the tradition wants the route to be initiatory, an ode to the Polynesian culture. Several hours will be necessary to reach, through dense vegetation, the peaks and plateaus that hide the secret of the Sacred Island, namely a flower.
The Tiare apetahi is a unique flower in the world. Endangered, this now protected species is characterized by its five pure white petals. Above all, it grows and can only grow on the plateau of Mount Temehani. Rare and secret, meeting it is a real moment of grace. More than a Polynesian symbol, it is the emblem of Raiatea.
Raiatea in a Nutshell
The Raiatea Island is an atypical destination. More populated and so much more extensive than its Leeward neighbors, the Sacred Island is above all an encounter with the history of Polynesia. It is here that everything becomes bigger, more solemn. To fully appreciate your stay, you must learn to get off the beaten track, and go and meet the ancient legends and ancestral rites.
The Sacred Island also offers a wide range of activities and excursions, both in the mountains and on the lagoon. Three nights on the island are therefore necessary. However, a visit to Raiatea can be accompanied by a day trip to the neighboring island of Tahaa. A way to enrich your stay and observe the richness of the islands.