Raiatea and Taha'a


Raiatea is the administrative and commercial center in the Leeward Islands. Its name means "Faraway Heaven" and "Soft Light Sky". It is the second biggest island in French Polynesia. As it is an important commercial spot, it is also a spiritual one, being the first polynesian isle according to the legend, where the maori disembarkations first took place. Raiatea is home for the famed Marae Taputapuatea , considered the most important and best preserved religious site in Polynesia. Here is where legends tell gods were born. Besides all this, amongst some other magnificent attractions, one can enjoy marvelous surfing sites, or the Faaroa River, the only navigable one in Polynesia. For the adventurous, a trip to 772 meters tall Mount Temehani is available. Here only grows the Tiare Apetahi , legendary flower named after uncountable ancestral histories, which surprisingly doesn't grow anywhere else in the whole planet.


Taha'a, Raiatea's little sister, has almost not been touched by the XX century. It is often called the "Vanilla Island", due to the amount of this pod's plantations to be found in the isle. This provokes that no matter where you are in the island, or circling it on a boat in the lagoon, you will always be able to perceive the sweet and soft vanilla aroma.

This small marvel offers to the visitor a quick view of the tranquil and traditional lifestyle of the early polynesians, though having today's comfort. This is so because lately the island has started to open itself to tourism in general, while it still holds most part of its natural charm. Taha'a shares both its lagoon and coral reef with Raiatea, but doesn't have an airport, thus being accessible only by sea.

Its inhabitants live mainly out of pearl farming and fishing, besides producing 80% of Polynesia's total vanilla outcome. After visiting Taha'a anyone can find how even if it’s away from the traditional touristic destinations, it still has a unique and authentic charm.


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