Good reasons to visit
- One of the most beautiful islands in the South Pacific: stunning lagoon, lush green hillsides and motu of white sand, including the famous "motu piscine" (“piscine” meaning “pool”).
- A rich culture: tikis, archeological remains, miro wood sculptures, small stitched canoes and pastel-coloured villages.
- A Garden of Eden: temperate climate and fertile soil ideal for fruit cultivation and market gardening.
- An authentic welcome and a wide choice of activities.
Do not miss
- The beautiful beaches of white sand on the motus.
- The craft centre.
- The last great tiki still found on the island, near Mahanatoa.
- The view from the summit of Mount Hiro.
- The archeological sites.
- The caves of Anapoiri and Anapio.
Did you know that?
- "Ia oga na" means "hello" and "mauguugu" means "thank you" in the Raivavae language (the Tahitian "r" is replaced by a "g").
- The island's lagoon is up to 4 km wide in places.
- The island was discovered in 1775 by the Spanish navigator Thomas Gayangos, and in the early 19th century supplied sandalwood to European traders.
- Raivavae sandalwood is an endemic species, found nowhere else in the world.
730 km southeast of Tahiti, Raivavae was discovered in 1775 by the Spanish navigator Thomas Gayangos, and in the early 19th century supplied sandalwood to European traders. Often considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific, with its 28 jagged islets that are the nesting place of numerous sea birds, Raivavae, almost unreal, appears to float in its emerald lagoon.
Great tikis covered the island when it was discovered. Only one remains, near Rairua; the others decorate the gardens of the Gauguin Museum in Tahiti. The islanders also made drums decorated with remarkable sculptures, which are today museum pieces. Meanwhile, their canoes are magnificent craft made of stitched wood, which are still used today. These remnants of the Polynesian art of boatbuilding form part of the island's heritage.
Today, religion has a very important place and village life is marked by the church services, which are attended by nearly everyone each Sunday and to which the women wear all their finery and prettiest hats.
The airport - long resisted by the local people, who wanted to preserve their isolation - opened in late 2002. Life is simple on this timeless island, whose few visitors, greeted by a happy "Ia oga na" (equivalent to "Ia ora na" in the Raivavae language), will forget the stresses of the busy world.
Things to do
- Lagoon trips and pic nics on the motu,
- walking on the reef,
- clam fishing,
- shell collecting,
- Circle island tour,
- visit of the archeological and touristic sites,
- rental car,
- Surface area : 16 km² (6.3 sq. miles)
- Highest peak : Mount Hiro (437m approx. 1433 feet), also called Mount Higo.
- Districts : Anatonu, Mahanatoa, Rairua (the biggest village) and Vaiuru
- Population : over 905 inhabitants
- Tourist office: In Rairua.
- Bank(s): No, but there is an ATM at the post office.
- Post office(s): In Rairua.
- Public phone(s): Several telephone boxes in the village.
- Shop(s): Several small grocers and a craft centre.
- Restaurant(s): Meals are mostly eaten in the family-run guest houses.
- Medical services: One health centre (Mahanatoa).