About Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Surrounded by a clear, turquoise blue lagoon, Rarotonga is 32 kilometres in circumference.

The lagoon often extends more than a hundred metres to the reef and then slopes steeply to deep water.

The reef fronts the shore to the north of the island, making the lagoon there unsuitable for swimming and watersports, but to the southeast, particularly around Muri, the lagoon is at its widest and deepest. This part of the island is the most popular with tourists for swimming, snorkelling and boating. Agricultural terraces, flats, and swamps surround the central mountain area.

Rarotonga is the main island of the Cook Islands and caters to almost 90 percent of the country’s tourist accommodation and offers many activities. The population is approximately 13,000, mostly indigenous Cook Islands Maori and almost half living around Avarua on the north coast. The Maori ancestors landed on the Cook Islands in their magnificent, giant double-hulled canoes that are still proudly part of the traditional way of life. They were guided by their knowledge of the stars and the famous power of Polynesian navigation.

Rarotonga is a small volcanic island with a landmass of only 26 square miles. It is dotted with pretty villages, a friendly atmosphere, lovely mountain views and hiking trails. It has a reputation for excellent snorkelling off the beaches that line most of the coast. Rarotonga enjoys a climate that is warm and sunny all year round. There is more rain and higher humidity between the summer months of December to March. The high season for tourism is during Christmas when New Zealanders and Australians visit during their summer school holidays.

Tradition and a cultural heritage are trademarks of the island. Music is an integral part of the culture and part of the islander’s daily routine.

Stunning chants and hymns emanate from the churches and local string bands use a combination of electronic and traditional ukuleles made from coconut shells to entertain. Visitors will often be invited to join with the hip-swaying dancers when the music begins. Fishing, paddling, sailing, stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling and swimming are just some of the activities that abound in this tropical paradise. If you feel like more adventure, take a trip into the hinterland and experience the unique flora and fauna of the lush rainforests. Take time to listen to the legends of ancient wars and love affairs that stretch far back into an almost forgotten time.

Getting around Rarotonga is easy. With no traffic lights to be seen, relax and meander on a bus around the island. Buses uniquely travel both clockwise and anticlockwise on the road that circles the island and obliging drivers will pick-up and drop-off at will. Scooters are also a popular mode of transport.

While nurturing its culture and tradition with sensitivity and pride, Rarotonga is also very much part of the present and offers everything today’s visitors expect. Experience Rarotonga and you will not be disappointed.

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Where to Stay

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Muri Beach Club Hotel
With an enviable location on a beautiful stretch of beach on Muri Lagoon, Muri Beach Club Hotel is a luxurious adults-only getaway. The resort offers guests amazing views over the lagoon and the small off-shore isl... View More »
cook islands rarotonga palm grove patio
Palm Grove
Discover your own private piece of paradise in Rarotonga. Located in Vaima on Rarotonga’s enchanting south coast, Palm Grove enjoys the peace and tranquillity of one of the best locations in Rarotonga in the Co... View More »
CROWN BEACH RESORT & SPA
Crown Beach Resort
Set amidst five acres of lush tropical gardens punctuated by streams and waterfalls, Crown Beach Resort & Spa promises luxury and romance for those seeking a private, heavenly escape. Built in harmony with na... View More »
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Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel & Villas
Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel is located on Rarotonga’s stunning southern coast, directly overlooking the idyllic Titikaveka Beach. Here, the 10-kilometre stretch of soft white sand offers the ultimate in relaxa... View More »
Pacific Resort Rarotonga
Pacific Resort Rarotonga
The island paradise of Rarotonga is legendary for its beauty. Its mountainous peaks are ringed by beautiful beaches and stunning crystal clear lagoons. The most beautiful of these is in Muri, and it is here that Pac... View More »
cook islands rarotonga the little polynesian resort main swimming pool
Little Polynesian Resort
Nestled on a pristine white beach amid a marine reserve of astounding turquoise blue, experience the epitome of Polynesian hospitality. For those seeking ultimate privacy and luxury, this award-winning boutique r... View More »
cook islands rarotonga sanctuary rarotonga swimming pool
Sanctuary Rarotonga- On The Beach
Where the ocean meets the sky, here you have found Sanctuary. Immerse yourself in paradise at Rarotonga’s absolute beachfront, adults-only, 4.5-star resort. Step from your Beachfront Suite onto the secluded whi... View More »
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The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium
Experience the incomparable spirit of the South Pacific at the most Rarotongan of Rarotonga’s resorts. Immerse yourself in paradise at this renowned four-star, full-service resort set along the island’s best ... View More »
cook islands rarotonga royale takitumu walkway
Royale Takitumu
Leave stress behind at Royale Takitumu, where serenity and luxury abound. Step into a world like no other, one of palm trees swaying and the gentle sounds of lapping water as you sink your toes into the golden sa... View More »
cook islands rarotonga lagoon breeze villas swimming pool
Lagoon Breeze Villas
Discover a tropical sanctuary on the south-west coast of Rarotonga, across from the white sands and pristine water of the Aroa Lagoon and Marine Reserve. Lagoon Breeze Villas is an expansive privately owned and o... View More »
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Sunset Resort
Nestled idyllically on the shores of a sheltered lagoon, a secluded beachfront location provides guests with an unspoiled view of Rarotonga’s crystal clear aqua blue lagoon and breathtaking sunsets. Sunset Reso... View More »
Aro’a Beachside Inn
Aro’a Beachside Inn
In an idyllic beachfront location, Aro’a Beachside Inn is situated on the western sunset shore of the island. This relaxed, beachfront property consists of 12 tastefully appointed units nestled on the beach sur... View More »
moana sands lagoon resort
Moana Sands Lagoon Resort
Discover your own slice of paradise, where glorious mountain peaks and pristine white sand beaches await. Located on the world-famous Muri Lagoon, Moana Sands Lagoon Resort welcomes guests aged 18 years and over,... View More »
cook islands rarotonga club raro swimming pool
Club Raro
Club Raro is situated on the northern coast of Rarotonga with shady palms and tropical gardens. It is within close proximity to Rarotonga’s major events, attractions and the main township of Avarua. Club Raro f... View More »

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