Introducing Raiatea and Tahaa

Escape the crowds for a secluded honeymoon holiday or romantic getaway on the languid ‘Sacred Island’ of Raiatea.

Raiatea is widely considered the cradle of Polynesian civilization, where the organised migrations to Hawaii, Aoteroa (New Zealand) and other areas of East Polynesia first began.

Idyllic Tahaa Island retains an authentic flavour of Polynesia and makes for an ideal, romantic honeymoon getaway.

What to do and see in Raiatea and Tahaa islands

Sharing a common lagoon, the rugged twin islands of Raiatea and Tahaa lie in the heart of the Society Islands just east of Bora Bora and are perfect for honeymoon couples wishing to escape the more crowded commercial islands of Tahiti.

While neither of the two islands host a single beach, the surrounding lagoon boasts many tiny motus where you relax on gorgeous white-sand beaches, sunbathe, swim and enjoy honeymoon picnics in relative seclusion.


Located within a protected lagoon, both Raiatea and her sister island of Tahaa have become one of French Polynesia’s best locations for sailing, deep sea fishing and scuba diving, as well as growing in popularity as honeymoon destination.

When the Polynesian explorers first discovered the island we know today as Raiatea, they named it Havai after their legendary ancestral home.

Second only to Tahiti in size, Raiatea today is the administrative and trading centre of the Leeward Islands. Take time to wander the streets of Uturoa, a sleepy little waterfront town reminiscent of Papeete from years past.


Sharing a common lagoon with Raiatea and accessible only by boat, Tahaa is the only island in the Society Islands that can be completely circled by boat while still inside the protected lagoon.

Here you can explore the reef and discover the beauty of its multi-coloured lagoon, with many deep bays and small, isolated sandy motus that sit atop the reef for a peaceful and relaxing honeymoon experience.

Tahaa offers various several adventures for the active honeymoon couple: Observe several species of turtles living in their natural environment at a turtle sanctuary located near the charming village of Haamene, hike mountain trails through sweet-scented vanilla plantations, enjoy champagne picnics on a deserted motu or browse for a perfect honeymoon memento at one of the nearby pearl farms.

Top attractions on Raiatea

Check out these must-see attractions on Raiatea and Tahaa atolls.

Taputapuatea Marae

(Raiatea) – Explore one of the most important and best-preserved historical sites in Polynesia that is the second most significant archaeological site in Polynesia, second only to Easter Island.

Stroll among dozens of marae and religious shrines that offer a fascinating glimpse into ancient Polynesia. Located on a sandy point along the lagoon, this large archaeological site is easily reached by car, tour bus or on a canoe tour.

Faaroa River

(Raiatea) – Take a powered outrigger canoe along the only navigable waterway in French Polynesia. From Faaroa Gorge, cruise past lush jungle foliage looking out for a variety of bird species and wild hibiscus ‘purau’ trees interspersed throughout the rainforest-covered cliffs.

Vanilla Plantations

(Tahaa) – Take a guided stroll through the scented air of one of Tahaa’s vanilla plantations – more than 80 per cent of Tahiti's famous spice is grown here – and learn about the pollination and curing process.

Relax on your own island

(Raiatea) – Arrange a half- or full-day cruise to one of the many tiny motus that lie on the surface of the calm lagoon.

Most motus can be circled on foot in just a few minutes and are the perfect spot to picnic under a coconut grove, snorkel the calm waters or simply sunbathe with your partner beneath a cloudless blue sky.

Things to do on Raiatea and Tahaa islands

Both Raiatea and Tahaa atolls offer a choice of things to do: Snorkel the shallow waters of sandy motus, explore the lush, rugged jungle-clad coast of Raiatea on a scooter or bicycle and enjoy a picnic for two on a secluded motu where the only footprints you’ll see are your own.

Later, walk in the footsteps of ancient Polynesians at a sacred marae or charter a yacht for a sunset cruise.

Scuba diving

Choose from an array of great diving sites, including: Little Caves and the Mounts of Céran, both off Tahaa's eastern coast; off the Hawaiki Resort along the northeast coast; at Teavapiti Pass, which offers good drift diving alongside rays and gray-, white- and black-tip sharks; and drift dive Miri Miri Pass to see healthy soft corals and eagle rays.

Perhaps day or night-dive the wreck of the S.S. Norby, a three-masted Danish schooner that sunk off Uturoa in 1900.

Regarded as the best wreck dive site in French Polynesia, the Norby attracts numerous marine life including black coral and around 23 species of nudibranchs


Simply jump into the warm water from your overwater bungalow or take a lagoon excursion to a nearby motu. The calm and secluded lagoon is home to a wide variety of reef fish and plant life.

Since fish-feeding is practiced, the lagoon attracts large schools of eels, perches, triggerfish, red snappers, silver jacks, tunas, red runners and reef sharks.

For some of the best snorkelling, try the coral gardens that lie off Le Taha'a Private Island & Spa. Or snorkel beside the overwater bungalows at Hawaiki Nui Hotel, that lies perched atop a steeply dropping reef face.


Charter a yacht with or without a crew for a day or longer and explore the popular cruising grounds around Tahaa. Several well-known yacht charter companies are based here, including The Moorings and Sunsail Yacht Charters.


Follow ancient footpaths to the plateau atop Mount Temehani (792m), where you can discover the rare, five-petal tiare apetahi flower that grows only on the slopes of Mount Temehani.

Look, but don't touch – it's against the law to pick this indigenous white flower found only above 396m.

Horseback riding

Saddle up a horse at Kaoha Nui Ranch for a half-day ride through the scenic valley and mountain ridges behind the ranch.


The best buys are found in Utoroa, the only town of size on either island, where charming shops and markets crowd the waterfront area offering a variety of handicrafts from local artisans.


A sprinkling of luxurious resorts also offer stunning beachfront and lagoon settings that are perfect for honeymoon couples wanting a quiet time.

Try Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa, which sits on a small motu in front of a gorgeous white-sand beach facing a tranquil lagoon on Tahaa's northwest coast, or Sunset Beach Motel, a collection of quaint cottages nestled in front of a palm-fringed white-sand beach on Raiatea.

Best time to honeymoon in Raiatea and Tahaa

The best time to honeymoon in Raiatea and Tahaa is during the dry season between May and October, when the average annual temperature of 29°C (84°F) is tempered by refreshing sea breezes.

Tahiti enjoys a balmy tropical climate, with hot and humid weather all year round.

July and August are the coolest months of the year due to southeast trade winds called the maraamu with temperatures averaging 25°C (77°F).

The wet season lasts from November to April – the hottest months of the year. Daytime temperatures average a high of 31°C (88°F), with a night-time average low of 24°C (75°F).

Water temperature hovers between 26°C (79°F) and 29°C (84°F) throughout the year, with good conditions for diving, snorkelling, swimming and surfing all year round.

For more climate info: Tahiti Weather Guide

How to get to Raiatea

Raiatea and Tahaa is located between Huahine and Bora Bora in the leeward islands of the Society Islands of French Polynesia.

Raiatea, or Ra'iātea, is the second largest of the Society Islands, after Tahiti, in French Polynesia. It is part of the Leeward Islands group, situated around 35km (22mi) west of Huahine and 234km (145mi) northwest of Tahiti. Raiatea is 45-minutes flying time from Papeete.

The islands of Ra'iātea and Taha'a are enclosed by a single coral reef.

From most international destinations, the most convenient route to Raiatea is by air to Tahiti International Airport (PPT), Papeete followed by a connecting flight to Raiatea Airport (RFP), also known as Uturoa Airport, located around 3km (1.8mi) west of the main settlement of Uturoa.

Raiatea is widely considered the cradle of Polynesian civilization, where the organised migrations to Hawaii, Aoteroa (New Zealand) and other areas of East Polynesia first began.

Raiatea ranks with Easter Island and Huahine, as the three most important Polynesian archaeological sites in the Pacific Ocean.

French Polynesia – a vast expanse of 118 islands scattered over 2.5 million sq km of the South Pacific – is located around 4000km (2485mi) northwest of Auckland, New Zealand, and 6120km (3802mi) northwest of Sydney, Australia.

Tahiti is an overseas collectivity (and sole overseas country) of the French Republic.

Read more about getting to Tahiti and around the island.

Latest update: Raiatea and Tahaa: 13 January, 2023