What I would do to be back in the Cook Islands, in the middle of Muri Lagoon on this boat right now. By far, one of the highlights of our week-long trip in the Cook Islands, the Koka Lagoon Cruise is definitely a must if you find yourself in Rarotonga.
I found out about the cruise while browsing through TripAdvisor and immediately reached out to book a trip. The Manager, Serena, was extremely helpful with our booking, especially given that I was booking this 5 months in advance (clearly, I was overly excited). Tickets are $79 NZ (around $55 US) for adults and $40 NZ for children, with group rates for families of 4 or more. You can easily book your trip on their website here. The price is so worth it for the experience that you get!
We chose our date, let her know where we would be staying and (not so) patiently waited for the day of our trip.
On the day of, we were picked up around 9:15 a.m. by a bus outside of our Airbnb and headed to the Koka offices on the stunning Muri Beach. We picked up our snorkeling gear and hopped on the glass bottom boat to explore the lagoon and a neighboring island.
As soon as we got on the boat, the party started – singing, dancing, you name it. We were briefed on the plan for the day and immediately headed out to deeper water to snorkel near where they keep a small marine reserve, which was only about a 10-15 minute ride away with the most scenic views you’ve ever seen and the clearest water around. It was paradise.
Once we stopped a little ways away from the shore, the Koka team threw out some meat for the fish and invited us out into the water. You did not have to ask me twice – I mean, look at that water! Though the fish surrounding the boat were on the larger side (much to my mom’s dismay), I jumped right in and started to explore. Around the reserves there were large coral formations with tons of colorful fish and even a HUGE eel, which the guides brought to our attention.
In addition to exploring around the boat, they took a group of us to a small clam reserve with some of the largest clams I have ever seen. It was great to explore the waters of the lagoon and see unique sea life in the area.
After exploring the water for close to an hour, we boarded the boat again and headed to an island in the lagoon where would we eat lunch. We were given a few minutes to walk around and enjoy the area and man, was it beautiful. Although no one lives on the island, it’s used for various day tours so there are BBQ areas set up and picnic tables, which made for the perfect lunch venue. We also had the most amazing views of the main island (Rarotonga) across the way so naturally, we had to take pictures.
After exploring, it was time for lunch and a little entertainment. The guides played traditional Polynesian music while we relaxed and waited for lunch to be ready. Once it was ready, we dug right in. They served a selection of salad, coleslaw, bread, tuna, sausage, rice and more, with a traditional paw paw salad that consists of papaya and coconut. Let’s just say, I went in for seconds…and maybe thirds.
After lunch, one of the guides put on a tree climbing performance, where he climbed all the way to the top to grab a coconut just by using a rope. It was truly impressive and to this day I still have no idea how he even did it. With coconut in hand, we then headed back to the picnic area where the crew explained the different kinds of coconuts (who knew there were three different kinds?) and exactly how to open each one. To be honest, I was reminded of the time that Zach tried to open a coconut while we were in Florida a few months earlier and failed miserably, so this demonstration would have been useful before, but at least now ya know right?
After that, we learned about the different ways to wrap a sarong (a big thing in their culture) and then packed up to head out. We had a few more minutes on the beach so we took this time to cool off, relax and enjoy the calmness of the water. It was such a stunning and peaceful place – I truly never wanted to leave.
Around 1:15 p.m. we headed out to the boat, with the local music in the background and made our way back to our starting point. It was such a bittersweet way to end such a great day on the Koka Lagoon Cruise.
Not only was the staff on the tour extremely helpful, lively fun and full of information, but the backdrop of the island and the weather that day, made for the perfect experience. I highly recommend checking out this wonderful tour if you’re in Rarotonga!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Koka Lagoon Cruise. All opinions are 100% mine.
Totally agree was the best trip on the island. Laughed all day and met lots of cool people