Rarotonga

Travel Guide
Muri Beach showing tropical scenes

Experience the glittering blue lagoons, white-sand beaches and laid-back lifestyle of the capital of the Cook Islands.

Located in the South Pacific Ocean, Rarotonga is the most populated of the Cook Islands and is home to their capital, Avarua. Known locally as “Raro,” the island offers palm-fringed beaches, bush walking, colorful festivals and snorkeling in warm, clear waters.

The island’s circumference measures just 20 miles (32 kilometers) and is surrounded by a lagoon. Tropical fish and coral abound in the warm, shallow waters. The calm waters of Muri Beach are perfect for beginner snorkelers.

Rarotonga was formed by a rocky volcano, which collapsed to form a round island with small jagged peaks and hidden waterfalls. Visit Wigmore's Waterfall, which teems with wildlife. You can easily explore this and other natural attractions by bike or on foot. Another great opportunity to see the island’s flora and fauna is at the Maire Nui Botanical Gardens, which features much of the local vegetation.

Visit the lively Punanga Nui growers market every Saturday before noon in Avarua village. Try the local cuisine, including seafood, and enjoy live music while buying souvenirs, locally-grown vegetables and flowers.

Chickens and coconuts are just some of the obstacles often found on the roads of Rarotonga, and with not one traffic light on the island, you may find driving an eye-opening experience. You can also get around using the island’s bus service that travels both clockwise and anti-clockwise on the road circling the island. Bus drivers will pick up and drop off on demand. A round trip of the island takes about 50 minutes.

Rarotonga International Airport is the main gateway to the Cook Islands. Boats traveling between the islands can be very infrequent – sometimes weeks apart, with generally no scheduled ferry service – so flying is recommended.

The Cook Islands were once a British protectorate, with control later passed to New Zealand. Today, the islands are self-governing in free association with New Zealand. English is one of the official languages here. Many locals also speak Cook Islands Māori, often called Rarotongan after the capital island.

Where to stay in Rarotonga

Club Raro Resort
Club Raro Resort
3 out of 5
The price is HK$914 per night from 6 Dec to 6 Dec
Located in Avarua, this beachfront resort is in the historical district and within 3 mi (5 km) of Cook Island Christian Church (CICC), Cook Islands Library and ...
3.5/5 Good! (585 reviews)
"Nice relaxing place to stay All staff friendly and very helpful All You need for a relaxing tropical holiday!"

Reviewed on 11 Jul 2021

Club Raro Resort
The Edgewater Resort and Spa
The Edgewater Resort and Spa
3.5 out of 5
The price is HK$1,253 per night from 6 Dec to 6 Dec
Nestled on the beach, this Arorangi resort is within 1 mi (2 km) of Black Rock and Rarotonga Golf Club. Puaikura Beach and Aroa Beach are also within 3 miles ...
3.8/5 Good! (897 reviews)
"The Edgewater hotel was a very nice place to stay."

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2021

The Edgewater Resort and Spa
The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium
The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium
4 out of 5
Aroa Beach Marine Reserve, Arorangi, Ara Tapu Rd, Rarotonga
The price is HK$1,014 per night from 27 Nov to 27 Nov
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 ...
3.9/5 Very Good! (204 reviews)
"Always a lovely stay at The Rarotongan"

Reviewed on 23 Aug 2021

The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa
Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa
5 out of 5
Nestled on the beach, this Tapere of Titikaveka villa is just steps away from Tikioki Beach and Muri Beach. Muri Lagoon and Matutu Brewing Company are also within ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (36 reviews)
Privacy and Comfort at the Te Manava Villas
"Really great location on outskirts of Muri beach. Private Villas with individual pool and courtyard and access to the beach. Free kayaks and snorkelling gear available. Fully equipped kitchen so can cater for selves if wish. Comfortable accomodation. Very friendly and helpful staff- thanks Kate!"

Reviewed on 21 Aug 2021

Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa
Perfect for couples looking for a relaxing holiday with stunning lagoon views
Perfect for couples looking for a relaxing holiday with stunning lagoon views
Located in Takitumu District, this cabin is steps away from Avana Lagoon and Muri Beach. Muri Lagoon and Te Vara Nui Village are also within 10 minutes.
5/5 Exceptional! (1 review)
Fabulous stay
"My daughter and I stayed 8 nights and loved it.Great location, easy walk to Muri, night markets, Sailing club(great food on the beach) and other resorts/bars and convenience stores. Mooring cafe across road and wharf great for swimming, lagoon also good when tide in, easy kayak(provided) or walk ..."

Reviewed on 18 Aug 2021

Perfect for couples looking for a relaxing holiday with stunning lagoon views
Pacific Palms Luxury Villa
Pacific Palms Luxury Villa
3 out of 5
Located in Takitumu District, this villa is within 3 miles (5 km) of Wigmore's Waterfall, Aroa Beach and Puaikura Beach. Maire Nui Botanical Gardens and Te Rua ...
Pacific Palms Luxury Villa
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Rarotonga

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