Raiatea, “The Sacred Island,” is located just across the lagoon from Tahaa and shares the same barrier reef. (Legend claims the two were a single island until a conger eel possessed by the spirit of a princess separated them.) It used to be the center of religion and culture in the Society Islands. Taputapuatea, on the southeast coast, was once the most important marae around, the place where kings from the neighboring islands would gather for important ceremonies. Uturoa, the main town, reminds some people of Papeete in its younger days with its quaint low-rise buildings. Raiatea is also home to the only navigable river in the islands, the Fa’aroa. Explore Polynesian history or climb Mount Temehani in search of the rare tiare apetahi flower, which grows only here.