Known as ‘whale island’, Rurutu is located in the north of the Austral Islands. A vacation in Rurutu is a break from the hustle and bustle of everday life. An oasis of tranquility in unspoiled surroundings with an authentic island population. Limestone caves, taro fields, spectacular scenery and much else await you on our four day itinerary.
Tour of the island
Once you’ve settled into your accommodation, take a tour round the island by car, quad ATV or e-bike. The views are superb and you can stop to admire the caves, beaches and taro fields. Visit some of the villages like Avera, Auti and Moerai where you’ll get your first opportunity to meet the welcoming local population. Ask if you can see one of the traditional lime kilns that are still used by the islanders today. Historians can visit the tomb of the great French explorer, Eric de Bisschop in Moerai.
The Mitterand Cave
The Mitterand cave can be found in the district of Vitaria. Its real name is A’eo, which means frightening, but it’s been known as the Mitterand cave ever since French President François Mitterand visited it in 1990. It was once a religious site where massacres and cannibal feasts took place. When the sun shines through openings in the roof, the multitude of stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave sparkle and come to life. In case you didn’t know, stalagmites are the ones you ‘might’ trip over.
Excursion on the lost path
Start this second day with an activity that combines sport and discovery. In the company of a hiking guide, take the ‘sentier perdu’ (lost path) which leads to a magnificent scenic viewpoint. The trail begins in the district of Auti, can be quite challenging in places and takes about two hours to complete.
On the way, stop at the ‘gueule du monstre’ (monster’s mouth), a big cave on the cliff face with stalagmites and stalactites that look like a monster’s teeth. You can look down from the entrance to the cave and see the waves crashing into the foot of the cliff.
Relaxing on the beach
There are plenty of beautiful beaches around the small lagoon in Rurutu. Find one that suits you and bask in the afternoon sun, take some photos and have a swim.
Rurutu is the best place in The Islands of Tahiti (and quite possibly the whole world), for observing humpback whales. These magnificent creatures come to our waters from July to November each year, to reproduce and nurture their young. The whale watching excursion will last about 3 hours. You’ll be collected from your accommodation and taken to the village of Moerai from where you’ll set out to sea in search of the whales. Once they’ve been spotted, you can put on your mask and tuba and swim at a distance to observe them.
Some of the whales are 55 feet long, so they make you feel very small indeed. The best months for whale watching are September and October.
The people of Rurutu are nearly all craftspeople, as indicated by the pandanus leaves drying in the sun in front of almost every house. In the villages you’ll find craft centers where you can admire and purchase some of their magnificent creations. Hats, baskets and peue (mats) of such startling beauty that you’ll want to take them all home!
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