On the lush volcanic island of Ra’iatea in the center of the Polynesian Triangle, forested valley, lagoon, and coral reef make up the property of Taputapuātea. In addition to its stunning natural features, the marae complex—a political, ceremonial and funerary center—is evidence of traditional Polynesian worship.
Travel tip: Air Tahiti offers 40-minute flights to Ra’iatea from Papeete and Moorea, and daily 15-minute flights from Huahine and Bora Bora. The island can also be reached by ferry, but runs less frequently.
Each year the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization convenes to determine which sites will be granted World Heritage status in recognition of their outstanding value to humanity. Sites are carefully selected based on six cultural and four natural criteria, ranging from masterpieces of human creative genius to landscapes of exceptional natural beauty.
The 2017 selections span time, geography, and culture—a treasure trove of new destinations to add to your travel wish-list. Discover the ancient ruins, cave paintings, religious ceremonies, and wildlife oases that reveal some of the most compelling chapters of human history.
- Nat Geo Expeditions