Known as the "Sacred Island," Raiatea is a fascinating haunt for archaeologists and historians as it's one of the islands in the Pacific where Polynesian culture can trace its roots. Visitors will find many of the older Polynesian structures still in place and are fascinating places to explore. In the 16th century, Raiatea developed a powerful cult dedicated to Oro the God of War and built a large meeting ground, the Taputaputea Marae, which is still intact. View more
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Discover Raiatea's beauty and world-famous lagoon during this scenic cruise from Uturoa south to the Faaroa Bay and Faaroa River.
After embarking a motorised outrigger canoe at the pier, you can relax as your guide navigates the boat through the magnificent lagoon and along the scenic coastline toward Faaroa Bay. In ancient times, this fjord-like inlet with steep, verdant cliffs on either side was the traditional departure point for Polynesians emigrating to Hawaii and New Zealand.
Venture up the Faaroa River, cruising for approximately one mile into the shady realms of thick foliage and jungle growth.
The tour continues with a visit to one of the many 'motus' scattered around the lagoon, and an opportunity to soak up the picture-perfect setting of the coral atoll and its white-sand beach. Swim, snorkel or just relax and take in these beautiful surroundings whilst being served local fruits and juice.
Your tour concludes with a brief cruise back to the pier in Uturoa.
Please note: Guests are advised to wear a swimsuit under a cover-up with sandals or rubber-soled shoes, sun protection and bring a towel from the ship. Life vests are provided. Snorkelling equipment is not provided and guests are encouraged to bring their own. Guests must be agile enough to climb in and out of the boat.
Experience an easy, leisurely introduction to Raiatea's major attractions during this scenic orientation tour of the island.
Depart the pier via 'Le Truck' for a visit to Raiatea, a vanilla plantation and mystical Taputapuatea.
This verdant, idyllic locale, formerly known as the Sacred Island, or 'Havaiki', is highlighted by lush tropical gardens with verdant mountains, plunging waterfalls and a fresh-water river.
Next, a stop is made at a vanilla plantation to learn about the island's high-quality commodity. Leaving the plantation, your drive proceeds south past Faaroa Bay and the village of Opoa for a visit to Marae Taputapuatea, one of the island's most significant sites.
Founded by the legendary King Hiro, Taputapuatea is the largest, best-preserved temple in the Society Islands and considered a national monument. Human sacrifices and fire-walking once took place at this ancient 'marae', which is said to still conjure magic powers. Hundreds of years ago, Polynesians used this location as a launching point to discover other islands and destinations as far away as Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Island.
Following your visit, re-board your coach for the return drive to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves minimal walking. The ride is by 'Le Truck' a large jeep-style vehicle with bench seating. The ride may be bumpy and therefore this tour is not recommended for guests with neck or back problems. Comfortable, lightweight clothing is recommended.