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The twin islands Raiatea and Tahaa offer a blue green lagoon with excellent dive site and channels at its outer coral reefs.

Inserted/Added by: lars, © Author: Lars Hemel

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The volcanic twin islands Raiatea and Tahaa are situated in between Huahine and Bora Bora and therefore easily reached by tourists from both sides. They serve as a getaway escape from more crowded regions such as Papeete and Moorea. Raiatea and Tahaa share the same inner lagoon and are built on the same coral reef. They are only separated by a small waterway, only to be crossed by boat. Beaches on the main islands are hard to find; it is better to book a "motu picnic" to one of the hundreds of excellent beaches on the surrounding motu. Sailboat charters, fishing trips, snorkeling tours and scuba diving are among the top activities worth doing in Ra'iatea and Taha'a.

Raiatea, Havai'i or the Sacred Island is the second largest island in French Polynesia and used to be the center of culture and religion. The main village Uturoa has a cruise ship terminal and some excellent shops and markets. The religious Mount Temehani offers excellent hikes and is the only place in the world where you can find the flower tiare apetahi. You can make beautiful hikes to Mount Tefatua and Mount Oropiro, visit some excellent waterfalls or spent the day canoeing at Faaroa Bay with its navigable blue river. Some of the villages you might want to visit include Fetuna, Puohine and Opoa. Well worth a visit is the famous Marae Taputapuatea, an open air temple built out of seven stone marea and still the most important religious shrine on the island.

Tahaa or the Vanilla Island is known for its green valleys and many vanilla plantations. The main village Patio offers copra plantations and traditional fishing. Other villages surrounding the island such as Haamene, Faava, Hipu and Tiva are all indigenous and places where few tourists reside. Tahaa is much more remote and quiet than its bigger brother Raiatea. Hikes in Tahaa include a difficult walk to its highest point Mount Ohiri.

Scuba diving is in one word fantastic. There are hefty channels filled with sharks, mantas and large pelagic. Shallower coral reefs inside the lagoon offer abundant marine life in all sorts and colors. Outer walls, several huge pinnacles and small tunnels, caves and caverns make it one of the most diverse dive destinations of French Polynesia.

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