Find the Best Beach on Rarotonga!
The problem with Rarotonga is that there’s almost too much beach! We’re getting decision fatigue here! Encircling almost the entire island are sandy shores with resorts, restaurants and bars spilling onto and beach for that true toes-in-the-sand getaway. With a fringing reef, swimmers also have a protective barrier between them and the ocean (just mind you don’t swim near the strong currents of the passages). Considering all of Rarotonga is a beach, what exactly are the best beaches on Rarotonga? Well, you’re in the right place as we list the best beaches for swimming, snorkelling, scenery, sunsets, sunrises and whale watching.
Which Side of Rarotonga has the Best Beaches?
There’s no one side of Rarotonga that has the best beaches. You’ll find the best beaches for snorkelling along the southern coast (except for Vaimaanga with its passages), the best beaches for sunsets along the west coast, and the best beaches for watersports along the east coast.
1. Aroa Beach (Aro’a Beach)
This beach has it all: sunsets, long stretches of white sand and spectacular snorkelling. Located on the western side of Rarotonga, Aroa Beach (or Aro’a Beach) gets the most sun throughout the day and typically has calm and clear waters. The Aroa Marine Reserve in front of The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium is the best place to snorkel – where you can look but don’t touch the marine life. Learn more about the snorkelling here and where you can hire gear in The Best Snorkelling in Rarotonga: Top 7 Places to Snorkel.
2. Muri Beach
By far the most popular beach on Rarotonga, Muri Beach is a hub of resorts, villas and watersports. With lagoon cruises, kitesurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkelling and kayaking, there’s never a dull moment here, while the restaurants and cafes lining the sands make it easy to replenish. Wake up early to catch an awesome sunrise or admire the four islets (motu) at any time of day. And yes, you can swim at Muri Beach. See more stellar sunrise spots in the 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunrise in Rarotonga.
Location: Southeastern part of Rarotonga between Te Manava and Avana Drive.
3. Tikioki Beach
One of the best if not the best place to snorkel on Rarotonga, Tikioki Beach is just off the Tikioki Marine Reserve, also known as the “Fruits of Rarotonga” snorkelling site after the Fruits of Rarotonga shop that sits just across the road. You have 100-200m (330-660ft) of lagoon stretched out in front of you, so there’s plenty of space to swim and snorkel.
Location: Southeastern part of Rarotonga at the eastern end of Titikaveka. Find the Fruits of Rarotonga shop along the Main Road (Ara Tapu).
4. Nikao Beach
One of the hotspots for locals due to its proximity to Avarua, Nikao Beach is well-liked for its white sandy shores and opportunities to swim and snorkel. It’s also a good spot to watch the sunset while kicking back at restaurants like Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro. The busiest times are after work and on weekends.
Location: Northwestern part of Rarotonga between Panama Apartments and Rarotonga Rentals.
5. Black Rock Beach
Black Rock or Blackrock Beach is known as “the place where souls depart”. This spiritual site has an interpretation panel so you can read all about this volcanic rock’s cultural and spiritual significance. Other ways to enjoy the beach here is by swimming and snorkelling is typically calm water due to the island’s prevailing southeasterly winds. See more significant sites in the 10 Best Historical Sites on Rarotonga.
Location: Northwestern part of Rarotonga opposite the golf course, Tuoro Tapas Bar and Antipodes.
6. Matavera Beach
Located on the northeastern side of the island, Matavera captures amazing sunrises. The beach makes a pleasant alternative to the usual white sandy beaches of Rarotonga, characterised by more rocky sections, shallower waters and the reef is closer to shore. With the closer proximity to the deep ocean, Matavera Beach tends to be one of the better places for spotting whales in the season. Find out more in 10 Best Places for Whale Watching in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Location: Northeastern part of Rarotonga between Matangi Moana Beachside Villa and Seaspray Beach Villa.
7. Papa’aroa Beach
This calm and sheltered beach is backed by Rarotonga’s own “Hollywood Boulevard”; a sandy road lined with tall coconut palms. With plenty of picnic tables, Papa’aroa Beach is a scenic beach to stop by for a picnic.
Location: Southern part of Rarotonga at the western end of Titikaveka opposite Papa’aroa College.
8. Motu Koromiri Beach
The motu (islet) just off Muri is the place to escape the crowds of Muri Beach! Koromiri has its own stretch of beautiful sand and views of Muri across the lagoon. Either kayak over there with one of the many kayak hires available or stop by for a barbecue lunch with Captain Tama’s (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Koka Lagoon Cruises (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: Southeastern part of Rarotonga, the second-most northern (and second-largest) motu on the lagoon.
9. Arorangi Beach
Stretching uninterrupted for miles, Arorangi Beach is the beach that many of Rarotonga’s resorts line. On the sunset coast of the island, there are some wonderful places along the beach to watch the colourful displays in the sky, whether it’s from the deck of your resort or one of the restaurants. There are not many places suitable for snorkelling here, except for the marine reserve in front of the Edgewater Resort & Spa. See more sunset spots in the 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Location: Western part of Rarotonga between Black Rock and Aroa Beach.
10. Titikaveka Beach
Finally, there are more gorgeous sands to beachcomb along the shores of Titikaveka. You’ll find a scenic stretch of beach here in front of a few boutique resorts and villas where it’s Ok to kayak and snorkel at high tide.
More About Beaches on Rarotonga
Now that you know about the best beaches on Rarotonga, discover which beaches are best for what in these articles:
- Kitesurfing in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: The Top 10 Places to Kitesurf
- The Top 10 Natural Wonders in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- 10 Best Beaches in the Cook Islands
Finally, don’t miss a thing off your bucket list by checking out the 50 Best Things to Do on Rarotonga and 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List.