Near Bora Bora and Huahine in the Society group, 135 mi/220 km northwest of Papeete and a 45-minute flight from Tahiti Island, Raiatea is a large and tall volcanic island whose central mountains reach heights of 3,350 ft/1,000 m. Formerly named Hava'i, Raiatea was the first Polynesian island to be populated. Its twin island, Tahaa, sits just across a mile-/kilometer-wide lagoon.

Mount Temehani, Raiatea's highest point, is known for its tiare apetahi, a flower endemic of the island and found nowhere else in the world.

Despite its size, Raiatea has less to offer visitors than do Tahaa and nearby Huahine and Bora Bora. Its central location and large lagoon have made it popular with yachters, however. Those chartering a boat to cruise the Society Islands may well begin and end their trip there. The sailing conditions are excellent in Raiatea.

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