Raiatea is one of the Leeward Islands of the archipelago of Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is situated 210 km west of Tahiti, between Huahine, which is 40 km away, and Bora Bora. With a total area of 238 km 2, is the second largest island in the archipelago, after Tahiti.
The islands Raiatea and Tahaa are confined by the same coral reef, and it is supposed that these islands once were a single island. In the mountainous part of the island, Temehani can be found a unique flower, which is endemic and it is a symbol of the island, so called the tiare apetahi. This is a five-petal white gardenia in a form of hand, and it opens early with a characteristic sound.
The total population of 12,024 inhabitants at the August census 2007 is distributed in three communities: Uturoa (the capital), Taputapuatea and Tumaraa. Uturoa is also the administrative capital of the Leeward Islands and the second center of French Polynesia, after Papeete.
Such as many of the Polynesian islands, Raiatea based their own economy essentially on the fishing and tourism. Beside that, the agriculture is important for the island. The main export products are vanilla, pineapple and coconut. The plant Nono is also cultivated on this island. Very important industry for the island is pearl farming.
As for the tourism, the offer for tourists includes a four star hotel, boarding houses, two marinas and a port for cruise ships, number of resorts and magnificent beaches.
Images by Toby Simkin.
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