Map of Rarotonga
Rarotonga is a high volcanic island surrounded by a fringing coral reef. It's the largest of the Cook Islands, and the country's political and economic hub. Virtually all Cook Island travelers pass through Rarotonga International Airport, with some connecting to Air Rarotonga flights to Aitutaki, Atiu, and beyond.
Avarua is the capital of the Cook Islands, and most of the large stores, banks, restaurants, and bars are concentrated there. Rarotonga's finest beach is Muri Beach, and the best snorkeling is at Titikaveka (lots of colorful small fish). Our map of Rarotonga also shows the cross-island trail to The Needle, a vigorous half day hike.
Two roads circle Rarotonga Island. The 31-kilometer coastal highway or "Ara Tapu" passes things like old stone churches, papaya plantations, sandy beaches, resorts, and small shops. Just inland is the ancient "Ara Metua" which provides a far more initimate look at local homes and gardens.
Among the top Rarotonga hotels are the Pacific Resort Rarotonga on Muri Beach and the Edgewater Resort Rarotonga and Crown Beach Rarotonga Resort at Arorangi. The Rarotongan at Aroa is the largest hotel in Rarotonga. Other less costly accommodation options are spread around the island, and boutique resorts like Palm Grove Rarotonga often offer beach bungalows with cooking facilities. Rarotonga real estate offices and travel agencies can arrange long term rentals.