Last year I traveled with my family to Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands in the Pacific. I had an awesome time (when it wasn’t raining) which you can see in this photo journal post. But today I wanted to share with you 6 awesome things to do in Rarotonga!
There are so many fantastic spots to go snorkelling around Rarotonga. One of the best is Muri Lagoon: the water is clear and shallow, perfect for beginners. But there is a lot of coral so it pays to have water shoes or flippers. You can hire snorkelling gear from places along the beach or in Muri village, alternately many of the resorts also supply gear.
In Muri village there is a cute night market that was on about 4 nights a week when we visited in August. There is a great selection of local food and desserts, the coconut custard pie was to die for! There is also the Punanga Nui market on a Saturday in Avarua (the main township of Rarotonga). This market is huge with stalls selling local produce, clothing, crafts, jewellery, souvenirs and more. There are also cultural performances and the market is buzzing with locals and tourists alike.
3. Soak up the Culture
The Cook Islands have a wonderful Polynesian culture. Make sure you take time to try local food, you will not be disappointed (as long as you like seafood). The local produce is beautiful and be sure to try a fruit shake. Cook Islands music and dance are also incredible and the people are so welcoming, so give it all a go! A pet peeve of mine is where people travel to other countries but then spend the entire time living their life as they usually would, make the most of a different culture and learn something new.
4. Maire Nui Gardens
The beautiful Maire Nui Gardens are full of local plants and absolutely incredible to wander through. It’s amazing to look at the photos of the land before the development of the gardens and see the changes that have happened. The cafe also serves delicious food!
5. Attend An Island Night
I was pretty skeptical about the idea of going to an Island Night, it seemed to me like put on performance of culture just for tourists, not an authentic experience. But I really enjoyed the Island Night we attended, it was pretty low key with a delicious buffet of locally produced food and a performance by a Cook Islands dance group. The group was mostly teenage students, and the money they earn helps send them to university, awesome in my eyes!
6. Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruises
Captain Tama’s is a well known boat day trip off Muri Beach. They take you out into the lagoon for the most incredible snorkelling, you are completely surrounded by fish of all shapes and sizes. Non-swimmers won’t miss out as the boat has a glass bottom. They then take you to an island for a delicious barbeque lunch and show. The show is informative about aspects of Cook Islands culture such as coconuts and how to tie a pareu (sarong), whilst also being very funny.
Have you ever been to Rarotonga? I’d love to hear any other suggestions of things to do or other islands I should check out next time I’m looking for a tropical holiday.