Raiatea and Taha'a
RAIATEA – THE SACRED ISLAND
Raiatea is the second largest Tahitian Isle and was the centre of culture and religion for the South Pacific over a thousand years ago. Home of Mt Temehani, the Polynesian equivalent to Mt Olympus, this is where the rare Tiare Apetahi flower is found – a flower so rare that it is found nowhere else on earth. Each dawn it greets the sun with a slight crackling sound as it opens its petals, legends say it is the sound of a common woman’s broken heart who was not allowed to marry a Tahitian Prince.
EXPLORE THE ISLAND
By foot, on horse back, by 4x4 wheel drive or by sailboat charter, this sacred place is stunning from every angle and vantage point.
SCALE THE HOME OF THE GODS
Take a 4 x 4 wheel drive excursion to the plateau or hike the slopes of the Polynesian equivalent of Mt Olympus, Mt Temehani. Go with a guide who will share with you ancient legends and the importance of this site, which made this very island the centre of culture and spirituality over a thousand years ago.
FAAROA RIVER TRIP
Winding through the lush rainforests and jungles is the historic river Faaroa – the only navigable river in Polynesia. Ancient texts describe this as a launch pad for many great migratory trips made by Polynesians to far away places such as Hawaii and New Zealand. See what the ancient people saw and learn how they navigated the treacherous seas from the comfort of your own powered outrigger canoes.
Considered a national monument, Taputaputea is the most sacred and best preserved structure in all of Polynesia. An archaeologist’s dream, the site is easily explored by foot and features a number of marea and shrines.
TAHA’A – THE VANILLA ISLAND
Should you smell a hint of vanilla in the air, don’t panic. You’re not hallucinating, it probably means you’re on the island of Taha’a, known the world over as The Vanilla Island.
The island of Taha’a is known globally as a major supplier of vanilla, with an estimated produce of 25 tonnes a year, and accounting for more than 70% of the vanilla produced in French Polynesia.
With its laid back charm, untouched and pristine environment, Taha’a offers the perfect retreat for lovers, especially lovers with a sweet tooth!
SLUM IT IN STYLE
The island is so untouched that the closest airport is in Raitea. With just a small number of resorts, guests often feel as though they have their own secluded island, which makes for exceptional personal customer service. Have breakfast on a secluded beach with the hotel staff serenading you, followed by a three hour spa treatment offered by one of two major resorts on the islands.
INDULGE YOUR SWEET TOOTH
As a regional hub for vanilla production, Taha’a is an excellent place to learn about the origins of this sweet spice. With over 80% of Tahiti’s vanilla harvested here, the air is laced with the smell of vanilla, coming from the pods laid out to dry under the sun. Visit one of the plantations and have the locals take you through the production process.
SUNRISE VIEWING WITH A DIFFERENCE
Along the slopes of Polynesia’s sacred mountain, Mt Temehani, can be found the rare flower Tiare Apetahi – a flower found nowhere else in the world but here. This flower greets the rays of the rising sun with a crackling sound as it opens its petals – a sight to behold a sound to experience and a moment best shared with your loved one.