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More than a thousand years ago, Raiatea Island was the center of religion and culture. The second largest isle of Tahiti today retains the peace and tranquility that has made it the most sacred island in the South Pacific. Raiatea Airport services the island, accepting flights from other French Polynesian islands. There are also a few ferry services to the island.

As an island destination, Raiatea offers things to do in the water and on land. There is diving and sailing, and an excursion through the lagoon in a glass-bottomed boat is sure to be memorable. Traversing the mountains is a refreshing way to end the day, and Mt. Temehani – comparable to a Polynesian Mt. Olympus – makes for an enchanting trek thanks to the extremely rare and unique Tiare Apetahi flower that crackles as it blooms each dawn. The island’s history and ancient culture can be explored in the archaeological area of Taputapuatea.

Coastal accommodation is aplenty on Raiatea and considerably cheaper than Bora Bora. The island may be the largest and most populated of the Leeward Islands, but it is easy to traverse, and travelers are never too far from the airport. Be sure to check out the interactive map of Raiatea for information on hotel locations, attractions, and must-see destinations.