We stayed 10 days on Rarotonga and we loved it right from the start.
Rarotonga is stunning, ringed by turquoise lagoons and swaying palm trees. Lagoon cruises take you into paradise, where you’ll swim with colorful fish and have lunch on a deserted island.
Hire a scooter in Rarotonga
Rarotonga has just one major road. A loop that traces the coastline for 20 minutes. Avarua, in the north, is the capital of the island and has tons to see and do, and Muri Beach, in the southeast, has the best beaches on Rarotonga. As well as being water activity central and home to Captain Tama’s Cruizes, Koka Lagoon Cruises, and KiteSUP, it offers a number of accommodation options. There is also a pharmacy, doctors surgery, car and bike hire.
It is easy to get around. You just hire a scooter. The Cook Islands is somewhat famous for their motorbike driving licenses, which make for a kickass souvenir. A 10-minute riding test and $20 is all it takes to get yours, and this then allows you to hire scooters and ride around the islands. It costs around $15 a day to rent a scooter, or $7 for a bicycle.
The locals are ridiculously friendly and welcoming. The streets are good. You can also explore Rarotonga by bus. There are three buses in the entire country, and in Rarotonga, one of them runs clockwise and the other anti-clockwise. A single ticket is $3.40 or you can buy 10 rides for just over $20.
Free Wi-Fi doesn’t really exist anywhere in the Cook Islands.
If you have to be online, you’ll need to opt for buying Wi-Fi vouchers from the overpriced Zenbu or Bluesky — the latter is cheaper and charges $25 for 1.5GB of data. Most of the hotels, restaurants, and cafes on the island use one of these two providers to connect to the Wi-Fi, and most of the connections are barely usable. This isn’t a destination in which to catch up with your favourite Youtubers.
You can also pick up a local SIM card at the airport for $49, which gives you 3 GB of data for 14 days.
Where We Stayed
A very well maintained property located right at one of the best snorkeling spots of the island. It’s waterfront and we used the provided kayaks and snorkeling gear and explored the warm and glass clear waters right in front of the house. The house was well equipped with everything we needed for preparing our own meals, making coffee in the morning and enjoying our valuable holiday days. Very much recommended to everyone who is looking for an outstanding stay on the island.
Palm Grove has 22 self-contained bungalows set over five acres, choose either a garden setting or beach front. We stayed in a well equipped Garden Studio a few steps from the pool and a short walk across the road to the beach.
There’s a long list of handy facilities at Palm Grove including a guest BBQ, laundry, book swap and complimentary snorkel gear and kayaks. It’s also a short walk to Wigmore’s Supermarket.
Palm Grove is well kept and maintained and it was a pleasure to have breakfast in Yellow Hibiscus restaurant every morning.
We recommend Palm Grove to everyone.
What we did:
One of the best ways to explore the Cook Islands is by water, and a lagoon cruise in Muri is the way to go. Koka Lagoon Cruises runs tours of the lagoon ($54). If you only do one activity while you’re in Rarotonga, this is the one to splurge on.
The crew of Koka Lagoon Cruises is so much fun that we ‘ve had the best day of our trip. They showed us how to climb a coconut tree, how to open and process a coconut and they teach us some of their local language. They are all certified life guards. It was safe for us and the coral. They put a stand in the water so that everyone in the water could have a rest on that instead of standing on coral. The buffet was delicious! The table was full of fish, fruits and a variety of salads. There was plenty available. They play music and sing the whole time! On the boat, while eating the buffet… even when we’ve had some time to relax at the beach. They are so much fun and a super friendly group of people! I totally recommend this tour to everyone!
We did the Moana Sea Scooter Tour. Tom was our tour guide. He is a very experienced free diver. He made sure the weather and sea conditions were safe to proceed with the tour. The Sea Scooter was a lot of fun. We could go very deep very easily. It offers 3 different speed settings. That makes it easy cruising around even with a strong current.
Highland Paradise is a cultural feast of Cook Islands entertainment and spiritual experiences. They play drums, sing, dance, weave, carve, and tell stories, as they were more than 600 years ago on this very spot!
There you can get an even deeper understanding for the local community.
www.cookislands.travel (official tourism website for the Cook Islands) I