Getting around Raiatea
As can be expected from a island less-visited than Tahiti or Bora Bora, getting around Raiatea can be a bit tricky for those expecting buses, taxis, and in general a variety of transportation options.
When I arrived at the airport, there were no buses or taxis in sight. A friendly gentleman I met in the terminal was kind enough to arrange a lift for me with one of his buddies who was going into town. Reportedly, those who have pre-booked accomodation can make arrangements to be picked up. Even when I did finally get into town, I couldn't find any taxis, although I'm told they can be found if you know where to look. It was only by luck that I came across the van for my guesthouse when I got into Uturoa.
Around the island
There are some car rental outfits both at the airport and in Uturoa, but for those of us who don't like to spend that kind of money if we don't have to, getting around can be a bit of a challenge. There aren't many buses and taxis can be tough to find. In town, I walked everywhere. Otherwise, I pretty much hitchhiked all over the west coast. On the bright side, this was not difficult and I never had to wait any more than a few minutes for a ride.
- Budget Travel
Take a drive! (and sneak a drink!)
Car rentals are available at the airport or in town. You could also have your pensions arrange it for you.
(Note: Be aware that if you have a 3rd party involved for your car rental, the rental agency could sneak an extra charge on top of your bill to pay for the 3rd party's commission! Make sure you get your set price up front and have the rental agency sign off on it!)
For an island the size of Raiatea, I would highly recommend renting a car to tour around. Public transportation is available but very limited. Raiatea is a very scenic island and has very little traffic. It makes for a very relaxing cruise (several times) around the island.
The best way to see the most of the island is going by car. There are three car rentals: Avis-Pacific, Hertz and Europcar, all situated near Uturoa or the airport.
We rented a car for 8 hours and that was sufficient to go around the island and have a photo stop here and there. We even had time for lunch and one hour wasted on the internet.
For our Renault Twingo, we paid 8800 CPF (74 EUR) for 8 hours at Europcar. They have an office at the Raiatea Pearl resort and the rate included unlimited mileage and third-party insurance. Gas is extra.
- Road Trip
Air Tahiti has one to seven direct 40-minute flights daily between Tahiti and Raiatea. There are also some flights from Huahine, Moorea, Maupiti and Bora Bora.
The airport is at the northern tip of the island, northwest of the town of Uturoa.
Avis and Europcar have sales counters at the airport and there are also taxis that meet the arrival of each flight.
Check-in time at the airport is one hour before scheduled departure.
Motor scooters are one of the better ways to see the island. Much less expensive than cars, plus they use less gas.
Rental areas are close by the port area. Normally advance booking is advised to ensure a vehicle is available.
The truck ! Le camion !
But, be careful of the lagoon !! Actually, you hardly find sand over there, so you have to dig !
Mais attention au lagon !! En fait, on trouve difficilement du sable, la-bas, alors faut creuser !
The canoe !! Le canoe !!
No option, here, when you want to have a drink in your friends' house...
Pas le choix, ici, quand on veut prendre l'apero chez les amis...