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Destination

574 km southwest of Tahiti, Rurutu is one of the Austral Islands, which enjoy a cooler climate than the other archipelagos. Its temperate climate is ideally suited to the cultivation of coffee, lychees and oranges, which are grown alongside more traditional crops, like taro.
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Practical information

Population : + 2404 inhabitants
Surface area : 12.6 sq. miles
Main village : Moerai

Minimum flight duration : 1h30
Distance from Tahiti : 571 km

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The good reasons to visit

  • A beautiful island with unique scenery, consisting of steep cliffs and chalk caves, lush green hills and superb beaches alongside small pools of clear water.
  • A temperate climate suited to crop cultivation (coffee, grapefruit, oranges, lemons, lychees, taro, etc.).
  • Archaeological sites (maraes) and geological sites (the famous caves with stalactites and stalagmites).
  • Whale watching in season (around July to October).
  • Weaving (hats, mats, baskets and other articles) and tifaifai (patchwork), the speciality of the island's womenfolk.
  • Colourful, picturesque villages.
  • An enduring culture: many traditional events (please enquire about the dates), including the traditional visits to each other's homes, the Tere (tour of the island), the Me festivities, and large weddings.
  • A variety of excursions.

Do not miss

  • The circle island tour, including many points of interest,
  • The coral-lime kilns,
  • The archaeological sites (maraes),
  • The Tomb of the Kings of Rurutu,
  • The Protestant church dating from 1865-72,
  • The impressive cliffs,
  • The caves adorned with stalactites and stalagmites,
  • The grave of French navigator Eric de Bisschop,
  • The copy of the famous tiki known as A'a, ancestor of the gods of Rurutu, in Moerai town hall. The original is found in the British Museum in London,
  • The craft centres (closed on Sundays, except at the airport),
  • The whales (July to October): observation platforms, magnificent panoramic views and crystal-clear waters ideal for whale watching.

Did you know that

  • Rurutu used to be called Eteroa, which means "Large Basket" in Polynesian language. It was later renamed Rurutu.
  • French navigator Eric de Bisschop is buried on the island.
  • The best-known work of art produced in the Austral Islands has to be the carving of the god A'a, which was discovered in Rurutu and is today exhibited at the British Museum in London. There is a replica in Moerai town hall.
  • Rurutu has many caves, veritable palaces of stalactites and stalagmites, unique in French Polynesia.
  • One of the caves bears the name of former French President François Mitterrand, who visited the island in 1990. Its real name is Ana a'eo. It is the biggest and most spectacular.
  • A tree of the Austral Islands - the erythrina, or atae - is known as the "whale tree", because it blossoms from July onwards, signalling the arrival of these majestic sea mammals.

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Air Tahiti magazine

Rurutu airport

Rurutu airport is located approximately 15 minutes by car from the main village.
There is no shuttle service, so to get to the village you will need to go by car.
If you have booked tourist accommodation, find out from your hosts whether they can arrange your outward and return transfer.

Services available

  • Air Tahiti agency
  • Snack bars
  • Souvenir shop
  • Art and craft exhibition
  • Telephone kiosk
  • Toilets