Very few places in the world compare to the natural beauty of Rarotonga. Majestic emerald mountains at the center of the island pierce through clouds and provide a dazzling contrast to endless blue sky. Encircled by a gorgeous coral reef, the main coastal road is surrounded by views of warm tropical water breaking along the island's shore. Whether admired from above or witnessed from the sea, Rarotonga is a breathtaking sight to behold.
Rarotonga is divided into three districts (or "vaka"): Te Au O Tonga, Takitumu and Puaikura. 
The district of Te Au O Tonga is located along the northern side of Rarotonga and is home to the thriving capital of Avarua. The Avarua Harbour, which serves as a mooring for outboard fishing and deep-sea diving boats, is where the annual Vaka Eiva (outrigger canoe) Festival is held each year in November. The town is also home to the colorful Punanga Nui Market, which is a lively scene on a Saturday morning and a great place to sample the cuisine, shop for souvenirs and watch live dance performances while mingling with the locals.

The district of Takitumu is located along the southeast side of Rarotonga and is comprised of three villages: Titikaveka, Ngatangiia and Matavera. The village of Titikaveka is home to Tikioki Beach, one of the best snorkeling spots in the area, where a ban on fishing protects the lagoon’s teeming array of marine life. The village of Ngatangiia is most famous for its pristine beach along Muri Lagoon, which is home to four tiny islets that can be reached by simply wading across the water. 

Although Rarotonga is known to run on "island time" just like everywhere else in the region, the pace is slightly faster in comparison. As one would expect being surrounded by so much water, there is a range of water sports available for adults and children of all ages. Popular daytime activities include swimming, windsurfing, kayaking, boating, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. The evenings in Rarotonga are filled with delicious food and live entertainment provided by the hotels or local restaurants. Guided bar hopping tours are also a popular nighttime activity, giving tourists the option to visit many well-known establishments such as Banana Court and Trader Jacks while being safely transported via rented bus service.
No matter how much activity is taking place on the island of Rarotonga, Sunday is regarded as a day of rest. This is when the entire island relaxes, and travelers can also partake in the calm. Make it a point to visit a local church and listen to their incredible gospel singing. They are very welcoming and hospitable to their guests, making the experience a wonderful memory to take home from any trip to the Cook Islands.


Mount Maru

According to legend, Mount Maru was once the tallest mountain on the island of Rarotonga.

At that time, the neighboring island of Aitutaki was completely flat. When the fame of this mountain reached the people of Aitutaki, they decided to send warriors to steal the mountain from Rarotonga. One night, these warriors cut off the top of Mount Maru and brought it back to their island in large sailing canoes. The result was Maunga Pu, which is now the highest point on Aitutaki and the alleged stolen piece. Today, Mount Maru on Rarotonga is a flat summit and was renamed Mount Raemaru, which means, "empty shadow." This flat mountain can be seen on the western side of the island near the village of Arorangi (once known as Puaikura). Believe it or not, this story is one of history's very few recorded allegations of mountain theft.