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Spend your days snorkelling, bush walking and relaxing on palm tree-lined beaches on this island paradise. Rarotonga is part of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean and is home to the islands’ capital, Avarua. As well as natural beauty and warm waters perfect for swimming, “Raro”, as it’s known locally, offers culture in abundance, including colourful festivals and bustling marketplaces.
While it’s the most populated of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga measures just 32 kilometres (20 miles) at its widest. The island is surrounded by a lagoon, with water that is shallow, warm and full of tropical fish. Beginner snorkellers can learn the ropes in the calm waters off Muri Beach on the east side of the island.
Rarotonga’s natural landscape is made up of small mountainous peaks, rivers and waterfalls. Trek to the stunning Wigmore’s Waterfall and explore hidden valleys and hillside forests on foot or by bicycle. Visit the Maire Nui Botanical Gardens to learn more about the island’s plants and wildlife.
Experience traditional island life in Avarua village. Buy fresh seafood, locally sourced fruit and vegetables and handcrafted souvenirs from the Punanga Nui growers markets on Saturday mornings.
There are no traffic lights on Rarotonga and obstacles such as chickens and coconuts often litter the roadways, making driving difficult. It's best to get around using the bus service that picks up and drops off on demand. It takes about 50 minutes to get around the whole island.
Fly in and out of Rarotonga International Airport. The best way to get between the Cook Islands is by light aeroplane, as boats and ferries are infrequent. The Cook Islands are self-governing in free association with New Zealand and English is one of the official languages spoken on Rarotonga. You’ll also notice locals speaking Cook Islands Māori, or Rarotongan.
The wet season for the Cook Islands is December to March. It brings more humidity than it does heavy rain, but you’re never far from pristine waters. Plunge into blue lagoons to cool off, then throw a towel down on white-sand beaches and relax.
Traveling isn't just about famous destinations and swanky hotels. It's about the experiences you have and the unforgettable moments you collect along the way!
Your trip to Rarotonga is just about to get really exciting. There are heaps of activities on offer, including:
If you'd rather check out the full range of activities, head to the Rarotonga things to do page.
Nestled on the beach, this Rarotonga hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Aroa Beach and Wigmore's Waterfall. Muri Night Markets and Te Vara Nui Village are also within 9 mi (15 km).
Located in Avarua, this beachfront resort is in the historical district and within 1 mi (2 km) of Beachcomber Pearl Market, Cook Islands National Museum, and Cook Island Christian Church (CICC). Para O Tane Palace and Cook Islands Library and Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km).
This Rarotonga resort is located by the ocean, nestled on the beach a short distance from Black Rock, Rarotonga Golf Club, and National Stadium. Local attractions also include Aroa Beach and Puaikura Beach.
Nestled on the beach, this Rarotonga hotel is just steps from Muri Lagoon and Muri Beach.
Located in Tapere of Rutaki, this beachfront resort is in the historical district and within 3 mi (5 km) of Aroa Beach and Wigmore's Waterfall. Rarotonga Golf Club and Tikioki Beach are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Situated near the beach in Rarotonga, this motel is close to Te Vara Nui Village, Muri Beach and Muri Lagoon. Also nearby are Muri Night Markets and Koromiri.
Located in Rarotonga, this beachfront hotel is in the city center and within 1 mi (2 km) of Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre and Punanga Nui Market. Rarotonga Golf Club and National Stadium are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Nestled on the beach, this Matavera hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Muri Lagoon and Muri Beach. Koromiri and Te Vara Nui Village are also within 1 mi (2 km).