Welcome To Raiatea
The Sacred ISland
Impressions of a First Arrival
Taking a trip basically from one side of the world to the other is already a fascinating and exciting travel on its own. But now, imagine your destination is an island in the pacific so small that you can’t even see it on a regular world map. This is what you will experience if you ever decide to visit the Islands of French Polynesia.
As I have to admit, I visited the main island of French Polynesia before (Tahiti), so I already had an idea of how life in this country would look like before coming to Raiatea. Now, I am here for about a month and I already learned new things about this country. If you don’t know a lot about French Polynesia yet, don’t worry! We are going to discover and experience it together 😉
So let me tell you a little about Raiatea – The sacred Island of the south pacific!
Raiatea is after Tahiti, the most populated island of French Polynesia, even though it only covers 4-5% of the countries total population. But Raiatea is not really one of the largest islands you can find in French Polynesia. You would need 35 times the land area of Raiatea to coverTokyo or even 43 times for New York!
Raiatea is part of the Leeward Islands just like Bora Bora, which is right next to it and probably one of the most famous travel destinations of French Polynesia. But “Bora” as the people here like to call it, as well as the leeward islands, will be a topic in the future. For now we just focus on Raiatea.
But… if Tahiti is the main Island and Bora Bora the most famous, then why am I writing about Raiatea first you may ask? Compared to the other islands, Raiatea has probably the most cultural and historical background as it used to be the former capital of French Polynesia (Before the colonialisation). Some may even call it the birthplace of Polynesia! What makes this island also a great place to visit is all the other very close islands you can reach easily by boat like Huahine, Bora Bora, Maupiti or Raiatea’s sister island: Taha’a. Well, despite of these facts you could also just say that’s how it worked out for me. Nevertheless, there is a lot to learn and talk about Raiatea which wouldn’t fit in one post at all. So for now, let me just give you an impression of how it feels like to arrive here.
How to get to Raiatea
No matter if you are from America, Asia, Europe or Oceania, if you want to visit Raiatea by Airplane, then there is no way around Tahiti. But this isn’t a bad thing at all. You should definitly spend some time at Tahiti if you get the chance and if you want to know more about it as well, be sure to follow along with my blog. But if you want to come straight to Raiatea, you have either the option to come by cruise ship, which are regularly stopping at the port or you take a domestic flight from Tahiti to Raiatea with “Air Tahiti”. To be honest, even though the flights are short, it’s not cheap to travel between islands in French Polynesia because you won’t find any big Airbus going on this routes. But it’s worth it and it’s a great experience in the first place. Furthermore, as a bonus you get a great view on the islands from above!
Luckily I had some help back in Tahiti for the Check-in as my french language skills are still in progress. But even if you are on your own, the airport over in Tahiti is fairly small and people are more than willing to help visitors. For everyone else who wants to prepare in advance, I will do an in-dept guide about traveling in french-polynesia later on.
Arrival at Raiatea
After my arrival at Raiatea I found myself at the smallest Airport I visited until now. But there is no denial that the airport and the flight had their own kind of charm.
If you are coming from another country and you visit one of the islands in French Polynesia you are entering a new world. Even if the weather is cloudy or rainy like it was for me (Watch out, this can happen a lot here) you still feel like entering the paradise. On the one side, you have blooming environment as far as you can see and on the other side, you have the ocean, sometimes with the shilouette of distant islands. This is at least the feeling I have everytime I arrive at one of the islands here. Because each of them has its own uniqueness from the landscape to the environment and to the people. You will never feel that one island is the same as the other even if they share simillarities.
I am excited to discover this new world, to share all of my experiences and to give you more information about this fantastic country and the life here. Therefore, I hope you will follow along on my journey.
At the very end, here is a little impression of the views you will get in Raiatea!
View on Bora Bora and Taha'a from Raiatea
View on Taha’a from Raiatea