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Fiji vs Cook Islands - Snorkeling

Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
543 posts
11 reviews
Fiji vs Cook Islands - Snorkeling

Hi Everyone,

I am hoping there is someone out there that has been to both the Cook Islands and Fiji (Yasawa Islands) and can help me out. My husband and I have been to Raro and Aitutaki, and absolutely fell in love with the Cook Islands. We have also been to French Polynesia (Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Tahaa, and Raiatea) and liked that too, but much preferred the Cooks (atmosphere, people, and snorkeling we thought was better too). We loved the snorkeling in Aitutaki, it was the most spectacular snorkeling we have ever done, but actually enjoyed Raro more as we didn't have to take a boat out to snorkel all day every day if we wanted to as the lagoon is beautiful right at your doorstep.

The point of this post is that we have never been to Fiji, and now have an opportunity to go in April of 2016. I was wondering if anyone can help me out with comparisons between Raro/Aitutaki snorkeling to the Yasawas?? I would hate to go all the way to Fiji to be disappointed with the snorkeling when comparing to the Cooks and FP (which has ruined all forms of snorkeling in the Caribbean for me for life btw, but I'm ok with it lol).

The hotels we are looking at in Fiji are Blue Lagoon, Octopus Resort, and possibly Botaira Resort. We have a mid-range budget and need private facilities (budget is no more than $250-300/nt including food). If the snorkeling would be massively better for slightly more than that budget, we are open to suggestions!! We plan to stay for 10-11 nights.

I have also posted this question in the Cook Islands forum.

Thanks in advance for any help!!

Level Contributor
286 posts
61 reviews
1. Re: Fiji vs Cook Islands - Snorkeling

After snorkelling in Fiji so many times we found Snorkeling in Cook Islands a little boring. We stayed at little Polynesian and there wasn't overly much to look at and did the day trip to aitiutaki and snorkelled on the lagoon there were lots of little Bommies but in Fiji you have large reefs to explore

Edited: 4:21 pm, October 26, 2015
Auckland, New...
Level Contributor
1,119 posts
153 reviews
2. Re: Fiji vs Cook Islands - Snorkeling

Chabouey- snorkling in the yasawas IMO compares well to Aitataki. Theres still the coral bleaching happening as in anywhere in the world. OK I'll rephrase Yazawas snorkling will make raro seem barren.

It does come down to local knowledge a bit.Ive swum for half an hour over a "desert" then reach a wall of truly spectacular coral and fishlife.

Level Contributor
9,326 posts
474 reviews
3. Re: Fiji vs Cook Islands - Snorkeling

We found the snorkelling in Tikehau, French polynesia most superior to any snorkelling (great barrier reef the exception). Swimming with Mantas, beyond the reef, sharks, turtles and many coral gardens at Tikehau was brillant. But it all comes down to good local knowledge and getting a great local guide who knows the best spots. And its the same everywhere including Fiji. Fiji and Aitutaki was my second favourite for different reasons - aitutaki lagoon is stunning (its been a while since I was in

fiji though and I heading back next year). I was prob underwhelmed by Raro and Samoa. Niue is so clear. Lifou is awesome. New Caledonia is my least favourite pacific island.

Level Contributor
77 posts
8 reviews
4. Re: Fiji vs Cook Islands - Snorkeling

Just got back from Fiji. Stayed at Bounty Island, Mantaray Bay and Paradise Cove. Mantaray Bay had the best snorkeling of the three right off the beach. Drawback there, is the food. Variety but it's just okay. We stayed in the new beach villas and they were great. Having snorkeled in Moorea and the Cooks, you won't be disappointed with the Yasawas. Saw a five foot black tipped shark right off the beach and we had a swim with the Mantarays which was cool. I think Moorea had better snorkeling, having swum with the sharks and sting rays, but I have read of late, with the coral bleaching and warmer waters, it's not as good as it was a couple of years ago. Fiji blew Thailand away. We snorkeled in two places and saw very few fish. Paradise cove is a gorgeous resort but the snorkeling off the beach is not great and it's rocky. Didn't get to Octopus Resort, but was told the snorkeling there Is good but the accommodations, not so good. Shared bathrooms which we wouldn't go for. Overall, we enjoyed the Fiji experience, felt very safe and would go back again. Please take your own medical supplies. We both cut our toes and needed antibiotic creams and band aids for a couple of days. Invest in good water shoes!

Level Contributor
12 posts
19 reviews
5. Re: Fiji vs Cook Islands - Snorkeling

We just returned last week from Fiji. We stayed at Botaira and BLBR. Both had fabulous snorkeling right off the beach. There's a snorkeling excursion at Botaira that I recommend as well. We tried to see the Mantas, but they were gone. Someone from NZ made an amazing book of the things seen just in front at Botaira. It's a very big book! At BLBR, there were more large schools, and I saw an octopus.

BC, Canada
Level Contributor
80 posts
6. Re: Fiji vs Cook Islands - Snorkeling

Snorkeling at Botaira was incredible, right off the beach, tons of different coal and fish, giant clams, etc. Also did an excursion and saw a large reef shark, a large soft coral bed nicknamed 'Nemos World' for good reason... It was just incredible.

Octopus Resort also has fab snorkeling, not quite as great as Botaira, but both are better than Raro. Accommodation at Octopus is nice, previous poster may have been talking about the dorms, but there are private bures.

7. Re: Fiji vs Cook Islands - Snorkeling

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