Raivavae is a small island of about 16 sq km inhabited by about nine hundred inhabitants (2017 census) which is known as the Bora Bora of the Austral islands. Mountainous island located 730 km south-east of Tahiti, it is also, like the most famous Bora Bora, surrounded by a beautiful lagoon with numerous coral islands full of white sand beaches. Most of these sandy islets are located in the south-eastern part of the coral reef where the large sandy islets (called in the Polynesian language “motu”) Motu Araoo, Motu Vaiamanu and Motu Haaamu are found.
The island of Raivavae, which is located just south of the Tropic of Capricorn, is a green and mountainous island. The island is made up of two mountain massifs. The highest peak, located in the central-eastern part of the island, is Mount Hiro which reaches 437 meters in height. Mount Taraia is the second peak of Raivavae and rises to 309 meters high in the central southern part of the island. The coral reef completely surrounds Raivavae but opens in three places: to the south with the Passe Teahoa and to the north with the Passe Teavarua and Passe Teruapupuhi.
The island is also rich in archaeological evidence. There are ancient Polynesian temples, some ancient Polynesian statues called tiki and ancient terraces for taro cultivation. Two tikis (statues) from Raivavae are located in the Gauguin Museum in Tahiti. Spanish navigator Tomás Gayangos was the first European to discover Raivavae in 1775. In the early 19th century the inhabitants of the island were converted to Christianity by Protestant missionaries.
HOW TO GET TO RAIVAVAE
A few years ago (2002) a small airport has been built in the southern part of the island. Therefore Raivavae is now connected by regular Air Tahiti flights with Tahiti (2 hours flight), Tubuai and Rurutu.