Tahaa and Raiatea are not often on the bucket list when people visit French Polynesia. Most visitors will only know them by flying over on their way to Bora Bora. However, these two islands, which are actually one, have a lot to offer to their visitants, this is why I dedicate this post to what to do in Tahaa and Raiatea.

1. Where are Tahaa and Raiatea?

Raiatea is part of the Iles Sous le Vent, it is the fourth largest after Tahiti, and you will remark it with no doubt. The others are in Marquise Archipelago. It shares the same lagoon with Tahaa, because millions of years ago they were a single island and they were separated when the isthmus that connected them was submerged. The Polynesian legend says that a giant divided the with a great knock.

These islands are located 200 Km from Tahiti and few kilometers from Bora Bora, actually you will be able to enjoy wonderful sunsets with this island as a background.

It is quite well communicated with the other islands by plane. You can use the Pass Découverte or The Pass Bora Bora.

tahaa and raiatea
Taha’a, Raiatea and Bora Bora

2. What to do in Raiatea?

 Raiatea is an island with exceptional lands and mountains. A lot of activities can be done on land and that will change you a bit from the kind of activities you fin in Bora Bora.

This island is known as the Sacred Island because the most important marae for the Polynesian culture is located here.

  • Visit the Marae Taputapuatea, UNESCO world heritage. One of the most important places for the Polynesian culture, they say that all the other Maraes in the Maori culture comes from here. Next to the Marae, there is a beautiful small beach, sometimes very windy but very nice.
  • Hiking and trekking: there are 2 essentials path to do, you can see them below:

Mont Temehani Trekking 


This trek can give you two essential things: see the Tiare Apetahi flower (that only grows here) and a spectacular view over Bora Bora if the weather is right. Trecking of 17Km and 750m of unevenness.

 The 3 waterfalls route


Known under this name because you can see 3 waterfalls along the route in the middle of lush vegetation. To see them you have to get to the pension of the same name, and continue for about 25 minutes, where you will find the first river, cross it, continue for about 30m, follow the path to the right and you will reach the second river. When you cross this river and continue up you will find the third and last waterfall. The path is not easy to find without a guide.

  • Visit motus around the island. Several motus are interesting, and if you want you can go kayaking or paying for an excursion that will include the food and drinks. We saw several advertisements in the port area for boat excursions that allow visit one or several motus.
  • Rent a car a drive around the island: highly recommended, you can do a stop at the marae and at any interesting place you’ll find. You will see the wonderful mountains and the simple island ways of life. In some spots on the route, you will have a vision of the big lagoon. You also can stop at some small beaches on the route and take a bath.
  • Visit the Uturoa Market and Artisanal shops in front of the market. int the same area you will find where to eat great snacks at good prices and a small supermarket where to buy some food for organizing a picnic on the route or on the beach next to the marae.
  • Snorkeling at the pier of the Raiatea Lodge Hotel. Do not expect wonderful beaches with spectacular colors in Raiatea. Crystal waters are in the motus. But this pier gives you access to a deep area on the edge of the reef, and you will enjoy of crystal waters full of multicolored fishes and coral potatoes. From here the sunset is a spectacle that allows you see Bora Bora in the background. Go early, for taking a good place, a lot of people go there for sunset.
 Sunset in Raiatea with Bora Bora in Background
Sunset in Raiatea with Bora Bora in Background

3. What to do in Tahaa?

Tahaa know also as Vanilla Island, because of the quality of the vanilla planted on its land. Its a smaller island less developed that Raiatea and there are fewer activities to do, but at least two that you can not set aside:

  • Pay for a full-day excursion. You will visit the vanilla plantations, the pearl farms, and The Coral Garden next to the Tahaa Island Resort. I highly recommend Arri Moana Tours, they have a new beautiful boat, good food, and excellent service, totally worthy.
  • Visit the rum factory on the island: it is a small rum factory, where you will be received by the owner in a very pleasant way.

Tahaa does not have beaches or places where you will admire the crystal water expected in French Polynesia. As Raiatea, the turquoise waters will be on the ring around the island.

Tahaa and Raiatea
Coral Garden Of Tahaa
jardin de coral tahaa
Bora Bora from The Coral Garden of Tahaa
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Tuamotus Island : Rangiroa

We finally did it, almost two years later; after four modifications, canceled flights, lockdowns, border closures, and lack of PCR tests… we made it; We were able to go to French Polynesia again, and finally know the Tuamotus archipelago, Rangiroa to be exact. This island pleasantly surprised us and left us enchanted and somewhat bewitched….

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