Though our main goal for this vacation was to relax, we knew that we had to venture off the beach to check out some of Rarotonga’s top activities, all of which included eating or swimming, so of course we were totally on board. So, if you feel like taking a break from working on your tan while you’re in the Cooks, I’ve rounded up a list of five things you need to do in Rarotonga.
- Highland Paradise – We headed to Highland Paradise on our first full night in Rarotonga for the Sunset Show & Feast ($99NZD/$71US). Since the island is small, when booking, you let them know where you’re staying and they’ll conveniently pick you up on a bus to take you to the show. We were picked up right by our Airbnb around 5:30 p.m. and went to pick up a few additional people before heading to the location.Once we made it to the venue, we sat down and enjoyed a quick show and then were able to eat and grab drinks. After everyone had finished eating, the show really picked up. My only complaint was that I would have preferred to have the performance taking place while everyone was siting down and eating, rather than once we had finished. Other than that, it was a great experience and the perfect way to gain a better understanding of the Cooks history and culture.
- Koka Lagoon Cruise – I spoke about this experience in depth in a dedicated blog post, which you can read here, but no exaggeration, this was by far one of my favorite things that we did while we were here. If you’re looking to spend the whole day on a boat, a small island and in the ocean, this is the way to do it. Tickets are $79 NZ (around $55 US) for adults and $40 NZ for children.
- Muri Night Market – Located right around Muri Beach, this free local outdoor market is open from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday & Sunday’s and is always packed with a mix of tourists and locals. This is a great spot if you’re looking for a reasonably priced, casual, local meal. We had such a great time exploring all of the different stands, eating as much as as possible, but make sure to get there on the earlier side, as the food runs out towards the end of the night!
- Punanga Nui Market – The Punanga Nui Market is located right in the center of town and hosts a mix of tables offering food, clothing, accessories, art and more. We could have walked through here for hours because there was so much to see. It’s such a great place to go to check out some local goods and snag some souvenirs for those back home.
- Night SUP Lagoon Tour – This was by far one of the most entertaining experiences that we had on this trip. This excursion ($55 for adults) starts at Muri Lagoon around 6:30 p.m. and lasts roughly 90 minutes. During this time, we had the opportunity to paddle around the lagoon, checking out all of the sea creatures at the bottom that you can see with the paddle board lights. One thing that I do suggest if you’re looking to do this, is that you be somewhat active;I regularly work out and was exhausted by the end of this tour, but let me tell you, it was worth it!