Rarotonga is a luxuriant place, characterized by beautiful beaches that encircle practically the whole island, and by a coral reef close enough to the coast that gives it so very bathing lagoons and very suitable for snorkeling.
See amazing video footage below.
Text by Lucrezia Dujmovic on Youtube
The island, for its size and its many attractions, is the right compromise for those who do not want to give up the beauty of the Polynesian sea but to join a series of activities and a minimum of night life and night. At the center of the island, as can be seen from its photographs, has some real mountains like Raemaru after being able to make various excursions.
Photo: Monkey Puzzle Blog
The main attractions are located along the two concentric roads of the island or in their vicinity: like Arorangi, on the west coast, the first village built by the missionaries.
The Cultural Village, located on the secondary street of Arorangi, is a real full immersion in the local culture: with a guided tour you will be led to several traditional huts and witness demonstrations on the history of the islands, Maori medicine, ancient fishing techniques, on wood carving and dance; at the end you will participate in a banquet of traditional foods accompanied by dances.
Near the south coast of the island there is Wigmore's Waterfall, where the Papua Stream flows into a fresh natural pool. You can reach the waterfall directly by car, but the last part is very bumpy and requires the use of an off-road vehicle; alternatively you can take a nice hike on foot starting from the coastal road.
Continuing along the Cross-Island Track (the path that crosses the island) you get to the Rua Manga (L'Ago), a peak of 415 m from which you can admire a splendid view towards the north-west and south. The crossing of the island takes 2 or 3 hours and at both ends there are public buses.
Te Rua Manga
Photo: Daniella Teixeira
The visit to the Cook Islands is not complete unless you visit Aitutaki: the breathtaking charm of its crystal clear waters and its white beaches are the essential ingredients of a trip to this paradise, located 220 km north of Rarotonga (less than a time of flight). It is 20 square meters large and is partly of volcanic origin, dotted with marvelous beaches and unique lagoons in the world, characteristics that make it a place of unparalleled natural beauty and tranquility.
Crystal Water in Aitutaki
Photo: Aitutaki Lagoon Resort
From the summit you can enjoy the view of the spectacular lagoon (about 45 km), with colorful fishes of different varieties, surrounded by numerous, fascinating and accessible, uninhabited small islands (motus).
Aitutaki Lagoon - Cook Islands
Photo: Cook Islands
Aitutaki Lagoon Private Resort - Cook Islands
Tours and activities are available both on land and in its wonderful waters, but you can also rent a car or scooter and explore the island on your own. Air Rarotonga has regular scheduled flights up to four or five times a day from Rarotonga to Aitutaki (except Sunday). There are also day trips from Rarotonga to Aitutaki: departure from Rarotonga at 8:00 am and return after 5:30 pm, with island tours, lagoon cruise, snorkeling and lunch.
Photo: Cook Islands
Aitutaki has its own unique beauty represented by its triangular lagoon dotted with pretty motu (small islands) ... it is also interesting from the historical point of view because it has several marae (places for religious gatherings before the arrival of Europeans) open to visitors, and finally offers one of the most beautiful island nights' dance and music shows in the archipelago.
Photo: Cook Islands
The island's main village is Arutanga, a peaceful resort with a run-down 1828 church that is the oldest of the Cook Islands (and one of the most beautiful) and contains several carved wooden objects and some polychrome stained glass windows. You will then find several nice shops and from the tip of the pier you can admire a splendid view of the coast.
Arutanga Arutanga - Christian Church - Cook Islands
Resort Tamanu Beach - Cook Islands
Near the southeastern coast there are some marae made with imposing boulders of black basalt, among the largest of the archipelago and each with its own name.
Arai Te Tonga – most sacred marae in Rarotonga
The Maungapu, at the northern end of the island, is a rise of only 125 m but it is worth climbing to the top (with an easy half-hour hike) to admire the view of the lagoon and the island. The lagoon is a wonder: dotted with sandbanks and coral reefs has 21 motu and the advantage of being free of typical sharks instead of similar places.
The most beautiful motu are the Maina, where you can snorkel and see the fetonti nests, and Tapuaetai (or One Foot Island) which boasts a stunning beach and fantastic turquoise waters.
Text & Video: Lucrezia Dujmovic on Youtube
Cover Picture: AWOL