Taha aerial view panorama landscape French Polynesia
The island of Raiatea is surrounded by a lagoon where waters range from pastel blue to deep cobalt. Venture out on a boat tour where you'll snorkel with reef sharks and stingrays, stop at a Tahitian pearl farm, witness a vanilla plantation at work and explore the tranquil island of Taha'a, Raiatea's lagoon mate.
Ancient Marae Taputapuatea temple complex on the lagoon shore
Visit Raiatea, French Polynesia, to see the ancient heart of Polynesia. It's believed that Raiatea is where voyagers migrated east in the Polynesian triangle. Walk around the stone platforms of Marae Taputapuatea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in 1000 A.D. It was once used to hold ceremonies for seafarers and ocean deities.
One of the best things to do in Raiatea, French Polynesia, is hike the lush trails of the island's interior. No Raiatea, French Polynesia, trip is complete without taking a stroll into the superbly kept Faaroa Botanical Garden. To get misted, wander along the trail of Les Trois Cascades, where three waterfalls await. When wandering, look for the five-petal tiare apetahi, a flower that only grows on Raiatea.
Freshly baked breads, croissants and pastries await at the brasseries of Raiatea. For lunch, enjoy a heaping plate of poisson cru, a dish made from fresh fish marinated in lime juice and mixed with coconut milk, cucumbers and tomatoes. When dinnertime comes, grab mahi-mahi smothered in a creamy sauce made from vanilla grown on the neighboring island of Taha'a.
Some of the best vanilla in the world is grown in the fertile soil of Raiatea and the nearby Taha'a. Grab a bottle of rum on Taha'a to spice with fragrant vanilla pods. In search of something special? Go to Raiatea, French Polynesia, for Tahitian pearls grown within the lagoon. Pearls come in iridescent shades of rainbow, white and charcoal.
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