The Best Raiatea Travel Guide

The Best Raiatea Travel Guide is here! Raiatea is rich with cultural and historical significance. Believed to be the original birthplace of Polynesia, this island is a secret garden of ancient myths and hidden temples, with unique and fascinating heritage that gives the island an intriguing sense of place.

Raiatea was once the cultural and religious center of the Society Islands. Many cultures believe that this is where the great Polynesian migration began, from which large double-hulled sailing canoes set out to colonize Hawaii and New Zealand. Believed to also be the final resting place for the spirits of these ancestors, the island has remained a place of pilgrimage today.

Raiatea is the second largest of the Society Islands, next to Tahiti. Flight time is about 45 minutes from Papeete, or just a few minutes from the neighboring islands of Huahine or Bora Bora. The island shares its expansive lagoon and surrounding coral reef with sister island Taha’a. This central location and large, protected lagoon makes Raiatea one of the best islands in French Polynesia for sailing, deep-sea fishing and scuba diving.

Raiatea invites you to immerse yourself in the stories and legends surrounding ancient Polynesia. Whether you are looking to explore her inner jungles or sail the sapphire blue waters on a chartered catamaran, this island will surely deliver on its promise. You can learn more about The Best French Polynesian Islands here, or the Most Beautiful Beaches in French Polynesia here, or on Pinterest.

Raiatea Weather – When to Visit Raiatea

Like all Society Islands, the ‘best’ time to visit Raiatea is during the dry season (May – October). During this time, the temperature is slightly lower and most importantly – there are less rain and clouds. Average temperatures range from the upper 60s to the mid-80s, which is ideal beach weather. Plus, the humidity is at its lowest. It is peak tourist season and hotel prices are high. Keep in mind also, that during these months, the southeasterly wind blows in this direction so the lagoon might be a bit choppy (and chilly at night).

Top 4 Raiatea Area Beaches

Raiatea doesn’t have beaches, so locals and tourists head out to the many motu, or islets for their sand and surf; quite a business has been built around transporting picnicking tourists to them. Some are not quite deserted islands, but they can give a feeling of being on one. Several companies specialize in half-day trips, including one that takes an outrigger-canoe-type craft across the vivid blue and green lagoon. A glass-bottom boat tour of the lagoon offers an easy way to take in the terrific diversity of marine life in what is basically an enormous outdoor aquarium.

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Nao Nao

Motu Nao Nao is a private island located 1.5 km from the island of Raiatea, only 40 minutes from the airport and the town of Uturoa. The motu has 2 beaches, one of which is more than 800 m long, and 25 ha of lush nature with a great ecological variety. You can stay on this private motu at Motu NaoNao.



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Motu Iriru

Motu Iriru is a small islet (motu) near the east coast of Raiatea. This is rather unique place. In fact, it’s a paradise uninhabited island without any commercial services. But on the other hand, it is equipped with a full set of luxury amenities – shower, toilet, picnic tables and sheltered spots. And all of this is for free!



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Marae Taputapuatea

Marae Taputapuatea is a beach in the east of Raiatea. While sunbathing is good enough, the swimming is almost not possible due to the rocky bottom. Marae Taputapuatea is the most important temple of Polynesia, a religious complex consisting of several ceremonial areas built of stone and coral, dedicated to Oro, the god of war.


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Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is a resort beach in the north-west of Raiatea. The place is beautiful, but swimming from the shore is not possible due to the rocky bottom. Instead, you can dive from the pier, where the depth is deep enough. There is also good snorkeling here. You can stay at the Sunset Beach Motel while here. Beach Bungalows start at US$140 per night. This is not cheap, but the rooms are very nice. They also provide free airport transfers there and back.

Raiatea Recreation

Raiatea serves as the nautical center of French Polynesia. The island is home to nearly all sailboat and yacht charter companies in the region, including Tahiti Yacht Charter and Archipels Cruises. You will find them in the main town of Uturoa, a sleepy waterfront village reminiscent of Papeete from years past. Raiatea is also the only island in Tahiti with a navigable river. The Faaroa River curls through its lush rainforest, providing a great way to explore the island via powered outrigger canoe, kayak or motorboat.

Mount Temehani, the Polynesian equivalent of Mount Olympus, towers over the northern part of the island. You can hike to the top of this extinct volcano and encounter the rare and sacred Tiare Apetahi. This delicate flower only grows in Raiatea and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Polynesians will share with you a popular legend to explain this phenomenon, but it remains a botanical mystery. In addition, there are over two dozen other plant species indigenous to the island.

Marae Taputapuatea, on the southeast coast of Raiatea, is the largest outdoor marae (temple) in French Polynesia. You can embark on a Jeep Safari tour into the island’s interior jungle and pay homage to this massive archaeological site, discovering other small historical remnants along the way.

Best Raiatea Restaurants

Chez Annette & Norbert $11 – 30

You gotta love a shack decked out in thatch and Polynesian fabrics that sets up camp right behind a chichi resort. Guests at Le Taha’a looking for the authentic can dine here for a fraction of the cost of the resort’s restaurants. It’s also adjacent to the Motu Tau Tau coral gardens. Telephone: 87 23 97 10

Opoa Beach Hotel $30 & Over

At the Opoa Beach Hotel, this is Ra’iatea’s most glamorous dining spot. The chef earns raves for her high-flying creative dishes combining fresh produce (fish and shellfish in particular) and spices. The menu changes daily. The decor is elegant and the tables are candlelit, which is perfect for a tête-à-tête. Hotel guests have priority, so reserve early. Telephone: 40 60 05 10

Tahaa Maitai $11 – 30

Everyone recommends this restaurant right on Haamene Bay, not only for its fabulous views but also for its delicious cuisine. The menu features lots of fresh seafood, local fruits and vegetables and delicious French desserts. There’s also a long cocktail list, making this a popular local watering hole. Telephone: 40 65 70 85

Vai Nui Restaurant $11 – 30

This lovely little restaurant with views over the water (there’s not much of a beach) is worth the drive. Choose from a more upscale, tasty menu of classic French Polynesian dishes such as grilled meat or fish in Roquefort or vanilla sauce (among many other choices) or more simple dishes such as chow mien and poisson cru (raw fish dish). Portions are huge. Telephone: 40 66 30 96

La Plage $11 – 30

You havAt Le Taha’a Private Island & Spa, ‘The Beach’ is open to non guests if it’s not full (call ahead). Enjoy the incredible beach setting while savoring a local smoked fish salad or grilled delicacies – which cost the same as the very expensive burgers and sandwiches. Take the 11.30am shuttle at Tapuamu then spend the rest of the afternoon snorkeling. Telephone: 40 60 84 00


Best Raiatea Hotels


  1. Liam Tremblay

    I have had beach traveling experience and i have to tell,it’s such a great experience. blue sky and deep blue sea with sun shine touch my soul. The most interesting part was the recommendation of top 4 Raiatea Area Beaches.Don’t worry about the time to visit cause all the informations has to be mentioned, now you can relax and enjoy your exciting vacation. 

  2. Mollie

    The thought of a beach vacation can bring to mind exciting possibilities, yet also be filled with potential obstacles. Luckily, booking travel packages is an easy way to take care of the finer details and save money! You have provided extensive research on various beaches across the globe and your enthusiasm for them shines through in your writing – giving those planning a holiday everything they need for an unforgettable but affordable break away from it all!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Mollie!  I am glad you enjoyed your digital visit to Raiatea.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

  3. Kayamba


    Your  travel Guide Raiatea is thorough and provides an important tool to plan your a trip properly to the resort without any surprises about the new place. 

    This travel guide can help any stranger organize, manage and plan the whole trip. 

    All that one has to do is just concentrate on enjoying the trip and the stay at the resort.

    Thank you so much.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much, I am glad you enjoyed and thank you for taking the time to leave me comments.

  4. Sabelo Sibisi

    I think this acticle was very reliable since it even talk about the history of the island 

    this was very interesting and very informative and I think it is a very helpful guide 

    and I think the Raiatea is a very great place to visit someday and I would like to ask if 

    the island is safe place to visit  since it has religion history 

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Sounds like you are ready to travel to Raiatea.  Please let me know if I can provide any additional information.

  5. Diane

    Another island I didn’t know existed! The landscapes are breathtaking, yet the prices are not expensive (comparing to the beauty of the place). 

    I would love to go to Nao Nao or Motu Iriru. I love that there is no commercial service, yet has all the amenities. What about pollution over there? I know when I picnic I always bring a bag to put the trash in (and take the bag home with me if there’s no bin), but sadly, not everyone does the same. I’d hate to go to this paradise and see lots of trash lying around…

    What would be you favourite beach?

  6. chetty

    Wow! Leahrae

    What a fantastic site. If you didn’t know where you wanted to go, You would once you see all the options. Well laid out, clean, and professional makes me want to start mine over. The only thing I see missing is my paid vacation, LOL. Another thing I like is that it’s a one-stop, and you’re hooked up with a well-planned vacation. If I were planning a holiday, I would come to your site. Why do all that work investigating all the things to do when you have already done it for me?

    I wish you much success.


    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much Chet, and thank you for visiting Beach Travel Destinations. If you ever need a trip planned, you know where to go 🙂

  7. Tigan

    Wow Raiatea looks absolutely beautiful!! I have never heard of it before! I absolutely love beach holidays and this looks like a really interesting island. Especially as it holds some history, I like to be able to indulge in the culture of places I visit. After reading your page I think I will be putting this into one of my destinations for a future holiday! Thanks for the detailed information and ideas to go off! 

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Tigan, I am glad you enjoyed the best of Raiatea.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

  8. Bruce

    You have an amazing website for beach travel destinations! Your page on “The Best Raiatea Travel Guide” is very well laid out, has good graphics and the video is a good component. It is easy to read, is full of useful and descriptive information and would make me want to travel there.

    Technically, the overall visual appearance and layout is great. You’ve added multiple useful links to compliment the page. It is very evident that you have done a tremendous amount or research into this page, and all your pages. The menu bar is clean, and each topic brings the viewer to another relevant topic. I think you’ve covered just about everything associated with finding a beach destination, what to explore when there and everything to bring to enjoy the destination.

    Great job! Keep up the great work and best wished for success.


  9. Albert

    Great site, I spent some time on it and really enjoyed myself. The video definitely made me want to take a cruise. You gave a list of all the cruises and best ones from there, it’s great. 

    One of the castle links to rent a castle is in German only. I tried to leave a comment on it but I don’t think it went through.

    I think the package for Mexico is such a great deal. That might be the one for us right now, thanks for all the info.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Albert.  Sounds like you visited several different pages.  Mexico does have some great packages, and such a variety.  And on the Baja is really safety.  Just have to use your normal safety precautions where traveling.

  10. Ashley

    OMG, I had no idea that Polynesia was what I had been missing from my life.  Your site has had me drooling over all of the French Polynesian getaways.  The water is always crystal clear and you have given some wonderful advice on adventures to partake in on each island.  I think I am most excited to visit Marae Taputapuatea, hopefully on a Jeep Safari tour! How cool.  Next up, I can not wait to see the extinct volcano and motor down the river to explore the island’s flora and fauna. Really looking forward to an amazing trip!

  11. Stephanie

    I love the expanded community of coral reefs that was mentioned. Here where I live we have so many and exploring other unique nature creations is just wonderful. Weather in Raiatea seems to be quite similar to my island, are there any risks of visiting the island on a different month than mentioned (ex. storms, overly humid weather, etc)?

  12. Dana

    What beautiful Polynesian islands. I also enjoyed the video.

    I think I´m in love with Noa Noa. The water is crystal clear and full of white sand, a piece of heaven for me. You did mention that it´s a private island. 

    Can a group book this island? If so, what services come along with that (chef and cleaning staff)?

  13. Parameter

    I never knew Raiatea is that close to Tahiti in ranking amidst society Island. What a lovely place to spend some time and get close to ones self and nature. Thank you for shedding light on its temperature. I will look at paying a visit this dry season. I will be a pleasant time for I and my family.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, you will enjoy Raiatea.  And you could do some island hopping too which would be a great way to take it all in 🙂  Thank you for taking the time to leave me comments.

  14. pasindu dimanka

    Many thanks for this valuable and detailed post about beat Reiatea travel. This is really a very attractive place. I love all the beaches here. And the climate is very good. I will add it to my list. I am thinking of traveling to beautiful places. Your website is a great help to me. Keep posting like this.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome, glad you enjoyed and thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations!


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