The largest and most populated island of the Cooks - though not, by any standards, crowded - is Rarotonga. Volcanic, it rises 4,500 metres from the ocean floor, and although you can drive around it in just half an hour it takes a great deal longer to cross the mountainous interior.
Dense rainforests and sheer peaks drop to palm-fringed beaches and clear blue water, sheltered by an offshore coral reef.
Exploring the island
There are plenty of ways to explore the island: four-wheel-drive is the easiest. Cross-island treks, with trails passing the island’s most dramatic peak, Te Rua Manga, or ‘the Needle’ are also a firm favourite.
With no snakes, dangerous wild animals or poisonous insects, exploring on land is relaxing and rewarding.
To sea, dive boats and catamarans explore the Pacific in all its glory: an exciting world of giant pelagics and multicoloured shoals of reef fish on every side.
Local restaurants live from the wealth of the sea, with tuna, mahi mahi (dolphin fish) and parrot fish staple foods, and curried octopus a speciality.
Often these are followed by the island’s tantalising tropical fruits - pineapples, pawpaw (papaya) and bananas, which are also the prime elements of the refreshing island breakfast.
Suggested itineraries featuring Rarotonga
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Rarotonga, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Rarotonga
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Rarotonga
- Aitutaki 163 miles away
Accommodation choices for Rarotonga
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Rarotonga. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Rarotonga
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Rarotonga, and which use the best local guides.