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Taputapuātea is an archeological site on Ra’iātea and a major attraction in French Polynesia. This incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site lies at the center of the “Polynesian Triangle” and Reunion Island.

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Taputapuātea includes two forested valleys, a portion of lagoon and coral reef and a strip of open ocean. At the heart of the property is the Taputapuātea marae complex, a political, ceremonial and funerary centre. It is characterized by several marae, with different functions. Taputapuātea is an exceptional testimony to 1,000 years of mā'ohi civilization.

What to expect at Taputapuātea

The Mā’ohi people famously constructed plenty of marae from the 14th to the 18th century. Marae, meaning temples with cult and social functions, was where they believed “the world of the living intersected the world of the ancestors and the gods.”

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FAQ: What makes Taputapuātea Unique?

Taputapuātea illustrates in an exceptional way 1000 years of mā’ohi civilisation. This history is represented by the marae complex of Taputapuātea at the seashore and the variety of archaeological sites in the upland valleys. It reflects social organization with farmers who lived in the uplands and warriors, priests and kings settled near the sea. It also testifies to their skill in sailing outrigger canoes across long stretches of ocean, navigation by observation of natural phenomena, and transformation of newly settled islands into places that provided for the needs of their people.

The best way to see Taputapuātea

There are many sightseeing attractions that one can do on one’s own. However, I suggest you do Taputapuātea with a tour guide. Furthermore, a half-day tour includes other major sightseeing in Tahiti, giving you value for your buck.

  • Like Marao Grotto with natural rock-cut caves.
  • You also get to see the Water Gardens of Vaipahi with all its flowers, ponds, and magnificent trees.
  • Another stunning stop is the largest swimming pool in the South Pacific. Namely, 164 m in length set in a private residence with small waterfalls and a magnificent view of Moorea. Simply gorgeous!
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Marao Caves Photo credit Tripadvisor travel and home traveland home min
Marao Caves

I particularly love the private option because it gives greater flexibility in terms of time. Also, you can invite friends to make up a small group of up to four people. Furthermore, they do pick-ups at major points and hotels throughout Papeete.

So, it’s one of those amazing excursions well worth spending your time and money on.

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  • What to expect at Taputapuātea
  • What makes Taputapuātea unique
  • The best way to see Taputapuātea

Suggested Read: If you love exploring UNESCO World Heritage Sites and find yourself heading for French Polynesia, what not make a trip of it?  You’ll enjoy our feature on French Polynesia.

Travel Ideas: Most popular island holidays
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