We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers: Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Snorkeling: Coral reefs enclose the island, providing an unbeatable opportunity for snorkelers to commune with Rarotonga’s abundant marine life. There are actually laws against fishing in the best snorkeling spots, so you are sure to see many colorful fish, if not entire schools of them. The best spots for snorkelling are within the marine reserves at "Fruits of Rarotonga" and the shallower "Aroa Beach". Nikao Beach and Black rock are also very popular being sheltered from the cool southerly breezes at all times. For safety stay clear of the dangerous passages (gaps in the reef) around the South of the island. These area's are marked on the freely available maps and have new signage.
Hiking: The island of Rarotonga has one hiking trail, named “ The Needle” after its major landmark, a towering rock structure. The trail extends between the southern and northern coasts, approximately cutting the island in half. If you’d like to say you hiked across one of the Cook Islands, here is your opportunity – you could fit it in a day even if you did the trail twice!
Kayaking: It's possible to kayak all the way around the Rarotonga, if you wish outside the lagoon - for experienced 'kayakers'.The best place to Kayak inside the lagoon is around the Muri, Titikaveka and Aroa areas where the water is deep enough.
Rugby: Rarotonga’s Tereora College is home to a state of the art stadium, used by rugby leagues from all the Cook Islands during their March-April season. Friday games attract a crowd of enthusiastic locals, but it's still easy to get a ticket since the island population is small compared to the size of the stadium!
Glass Bottom Boat Trip: Another popular trip is the ReefSub which operates from Avatiu Harbour and takes viewers beyond the reef to snorkel around the Avarua reefline.
Captain Tamas and Koka Lagoon Cruises: Get taken out on a glass bottom boat to the islands marine reserve for a snorkel, plenty of fish to see and highly entertaining boat captains! Then over to an island for a BBQ fish lunch which is delicious and then a show teaching you to husk a coconut, make coconut cream and tie sarongs.
Marumaru Atua: A trip on a traditional Vaka is an experience of a lifetime. The vaka is moored in Avarua harbour and runs trips on demand a couple of times a week depending on the weather. Information can be found at the harbour.
Fishing: There are plenty of fishing operators located at the main harbour near the town of Avarua. Types of species that are common to catch off Rarotonga are Mahi Mahi (dolphin fish), Yellowfin & Skipjack Tuna and Wahoo. There is always a chance of Black Marlin in these waters in the summer months (Nov-Feb). Whether you are a serious fisherman of just want to give it a go to enrich your holiday, it is an activity well worth undertaking.
Scuba Diving: For qualified divers, there are sites suitable for all levels of training and experience, from coral dives to drop-offs, and wreck dives to caves. Four dive operators are available on the island and all offer guided dives for certified divers and training courses. All dives for qualified divers are conducted by boat. The surrounding reef limits shore diving to the shallow lagoon which is only a couple of meters deep. There are around 30 dive sites, with spots on all sides of the island which are accessible by boat, exiting through the reef at one of 4 locations. This allows short boat journeys, in the order of 5-20mins. Around 70% of the diving is carried out around the top half of the island. For most divers visiting Rarotonga, one of the many sites around the north such as ‘Paradise’ and north east of the island, such as ‘ Sand River ’, are the best option. Most of these sites are suitable for all levels of experience and offer some of the most consistent dive conditions, with little or no current and some of the best coral and wildlife. Manning dive boats during dives on Rarotonga is not standard a couple of operators leave boats unattended whilst you are underwater, so ask before you book.
Dancing & singing - no visit to the Cook islands is complete without encountering some form of local entertainment. Polynesians are renowned for their sense of dance, fluidity of movement, rhythm, emotion, and oratory skills. The 'ura is the Cook Islands version of the better-known hula, but performed with greater hip swinging to a faster beat. Popular forms of entertainment are the island nights whereby visitors gain an opportunity to show off new skills. Enormous fun. Regularly held dance festivals performed at the national auditorium in Avarua are world-class, and extremely competitive amongst local villages. DVD & CDs available at the Cultural Ministry and Television Cook Islands.
Church Services. The Cook Islands is a Christian nation, with its modern day religions borne out of missionary conversion some 200 hundred years ago. All churches welcome visitors to their services. Churches request visitors to dress appropriately according to customs and protocols. Many of the churches offer a morning tea following the Sunday morning service.
Takitumu Conservation Area - inland of Titikaveka is the habitat for a local swiftlet bird, namely the Kakerori or "flycatcher". A small, shy, rare and endemic bird of the Cook Islands, the kakerori dwells in a protected conservation area in the sheltered valleys of Turoa. Tours operate daily except Sunday. The conservation efforts of a small but dedicated team including many global volunteers provides a success story for biodiversity in eastern Polynesia. Besides the birdlife, this is a unique chance to experience a stand of tropical lowland forest that hasnt been modified by human intervention.