Raiatea (rye-ah-tay-ah), the second largest island in French Polynesia, is located 120 miles northwest of Tahiti. Totally surrounded by a reef, Raiatea shares a protected lagoon with the island of Taha'a. Enclosed within the lagoon are motus (flat reef islets) with beautiful beaches, coral gardens and ideal sailing conditions. In the interior of the island, visitors will find lush green valleys, numerous waterfalls, and pineapple and vanilla plantations.
Prior to the European discovery of this region, Raiatea was the religious, cultural and political; center of Tahiti-Polynesia and was known as Sacred Havai'i. The ancient culture of Raiatea makes it a popular destination for archaeologists and scientists. There are several Tahitian temples (marae), including Taputapuatea; a national monument.