Nestled against a backdrop of high forested mountains, this sleepy seaside town offers an idyllic stopover on your French Polynesian tour.
Amble along Uturoa’s streets of whitewashed houses and sit in cafés illuminated by the sparkling Pacific. Sail onto the pristine lagoon or climb the undulating green hills for spectacular views of faraway islands.
Explore the capital of the leeward island group and admire grand colonial buildings of white pillars and balconies scattered between beds of palm trees. Shop for handmade crafts and jewelry in small boutique stores or continue to the scenic waterfront. Spend a morning sipping rich coffee or a cool drink while you watch sailboats tacking back and forth in the bay.
With the island slowly waking up, visit one of the tranquil parks that form a grassy patchwork around the outskirts of town. Lie in the shade of branches rustling in the breeze or enhance your tan beneath the glowing sun.
Make a trip onto the lagoon surrounding the island. Several companies charter boats from the marina in town and will cater for you whether you are an experienced skipper or need a knowledgeable crew. Spend a day on the open water fishing for tuna and mahi mahi. Alternatively, bask in the midday heat and swim in the warm, clear water off the side of your luxurious yacht.
As the air begins to cool, trek into the lush woodland rising up from behind town. Explore trails of blackened ground winding slowly through this ancient volcanic land to reach staggering vantage points above the forest canopy. With the sun beginning to set, look toward the glowing reefs of Tahaa a few miles north and the grand silhouette of Bora Bora beyond.
Uturoa is the capital of Raiatea and the island’s only significant town. It is located on the northeastern coast, a 5-minute drive from the airport. Select from a few hotels in town and private villas. Raiatea has warm weather year-round. The months on either side of July and August offer consistently fine conditions and fewer crowds.