Picture masses of coconut palms, jungle-clad peaks, epic waves crashing down on a reef and the beat of a drum dance and you have yourself the tropical island of Rarotonga.
Rarotonga is the youngest of the Cook Islands and is known for its mountainous terrain, tropical jungles and beautiful fresh water streams. It stands 14,750 feet above the ocean floor and is only 32 kilometres in circumference.
One of the island´s most stunning features is the picturesque lagoon that surrounds it, extending out into a reef that eventually slopes steeply into deep ocean water.
It is a water lover´s paradise and the perfect port of call to escape entirely.
What better way is there to see all that the island has to offer than on a guided 4WD Safari Tour? The answer: there is no better way!
A 4WD adventure will take you through the depths of the island's rainforest, climbing high above sea level to soak up the magnificent 360 degree views on offer form the mountain peaks. You will discover the island´s charming villages, visit unimaginably beautiful waterfalls and stop at deserted beaches for refreshing dips in the aqua waters of the lagoon.
The lagoon is undeniably one of the island's best attractions, making snorkeling a popular option for tourists. Discover colourful fish, coral and shells as you glide through the serene, clear water at your own pace.
An excellent snorkeling location is in the ´raui´ area of the southern lagoon, while the famed Black Rock at the north-west end of the island is a popular swimming spot with locals and visitors alike.
To really get a taste of the culture on Rarotonga, book a shore tour to the Highland Paradise Cultural Centre. You will be greeted with a warrior welcome and will spend the day exploring lush gardens, discovering the tribal history and experiencing the wonders of the local food.
After gaining access to one of the island's most sacred sites you will experience stunning panoramic views of the lagoon; a sight you will not want to be missing a camera for.
For a small island, Rarotonga offers a diverse range of culinary options for visitors. However, to really soak up what the island life is all about the best thing you can do is sample some of the local cuisine.
Particular favourites include eke (octopus), taro (tuber vegetable), rakau (spinach-like taro leaves), kumara (sweet potato) and poke (pawpaw pudding). The coconuts are also to die for!
Popular places to dine while on the island include The Blue Note, Banana Court Bar, Trader Jacks, Flame Tree, Portofino and Tumunu
Comfortable shoes are a must if you plan on doing a lot of walking around. If you are staying outdoors, a hat and sunscreen are essential. If you plan on snorkelling, ensure you bring your gear and swimmers.
Don´t forget your passport, identification and cash/credit cards.Your camera is also a must.
Your cruise ship will anchor in Avatiu Harbour where you will be transferred to shore via the ship´s tender.
Taxis and public transport are limited on the island so keep this is mind if you have chosen not to book a shore tour.
Currency: NZ Dollar
Language: English and Cook Islands Maori
Population: 14, 153
Time Zone: (UTC-10)