The Most Environmentally-Friendly and Sustainable Accommodations in the Cook Islands
Love the places you visit? Strive to protect them by staying in eco-friendly accommodation. While a little behind in terms of sustainable accommodations compared to other South Pacific nations, the Cook Islands is home to a small selection of boutique resorts and villas that go the extra mile to help preserve the environment. We share them with you, right here, in this list of the best eco-resorts in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands.
1. Magic Reef Beachfront Bungalows
One of the best yet underrated eco-resorts in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, Magic Reef Beachfront Bungalows has feel-good elements, from the sustainably built Polynesian-style bamboo bungalows to their selection of EVs exclusively for guests to hire at a rate competitive with Rarotonga’s other vehicle rentals. In your eco-bungalow, feel the balmy island breeze passing through to your outdoor bathroom complete with an in-the-ground bathtub and monsoon shower where eco-store products are available with not a piece of single-use plastic in sight! Make use of the self-catering facilities where the reusable takeaway coffee mugs, a tote bag and water bottles make exploring the island a little easier on you and the planet.
Check Magic Reef Beachfront Bungalows out:
- Magic Reef Beachfront Bungalows on Booking.com
- Magic Reef Beachfront Bungalows on Trip.com
- Magic Reef Beachfront Bungalows on Expedia
2. Etu Moana Boutique Beach Villas
An adults-only boutique resort and the only eco-resort in Aitutaki, no wonder Etu Moana Boutique Beach Villas is one of the Cook Islands’ most sought-after accommodations. Stay in one of eight airy bungalows built mainly with sustainable resources, especially the traditionally thatched Polynesian roofs that blend in with Aitutaki’s landscape. Other sustainable features include the use of solar power, UV groundwater filtration, reusable shopping bags and water bottles, plus, all laundry is hung-dry. You also have the option to explore the island guilt-free on the accommodation’s e-scooters or the lagoon using the SUP boards and kayaks available. Oh, and the stargazing is incredible with Etu Moana’s nighttime illumination kept to a minimum.
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3. Motu Beachfront Art Villas
Working in harmony with the locals and environment, Motu Beachfront Art Villas or simply “MOTU” gives back to the local community with proceeds from your stay going toward healthcare, education and the arts. Speaking of the arts, the 10 “art villas” have a fresh and minimalistic design to emphasise the collection of works in your villa and the surrounding premises. Everything is here for a self-sustaining stay between your villa’s sleek kitchenette, complimentary use of e-bikes, a state of the art wastewater management system, as well as reusable bags and drinking bottles gifted to guests to reduce waste on the island.
Check Motu Beachfront Art Villas out:
- Motu Beachfront Art Villas on Booking.com
- Motu Beachfront Art Villas on Trip.com
- Motu Beachfront Art Villas on Expedia
4. Ikurangi Eco Retreat
Seeking something a little different? Ikurangi Eco Retreat not only offers a stay in unique safari tents but offers many eco-friendly touches. They are the only accommodation on Rarotonga with composting loos, while other sustainable touches include no use of single-use plastics, free use of bicycles, a saltwater swimming pool and breakfast delivered each morning featuring fresh fruit from the garden. Surrounded by verdant gardens with a backdrop of Rarotonga’s mountains, the location itself has an eco-vibe – just make sure you have plenty of sustainable mosquito repellent! See more stays like Ikurangi in the 10 Most Unique Accommodations in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Check Ikurangi Eco Retreat out:
- Ikurangi Eco Retreat on Booking.com
- Ikurangi Eco Retreat on Trip.com
- Ikurangi Eco Retreat on Expedia
5. Muri Beach Resort
An intimate resort on the shores of Muri Beach, Muri Beach Resort is an off-the-grid resort operating fully on solar power. They also have UV filtered water for safe drinking water from the tap, while the use of bulk products for bathroom and kitchen amenities means fewer single-use plastics. They also use sulphate-free cleaning products in our in-house housekeeping department and plant organic fruits, vegetables and herbs to supply their restaurants. As for the accommodation itself, there are 20 self-contained villas and apartments scattered among spacious gardens. Family and couples’ villas are kept separate ensuring parties are less likely to disturb each other’s fun in the sun, but the central pool, barbecue area and beachfront deck are always there for a good get-together. See more resorts like this in the 20 Best Resorts on Rarotonga.
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6. Nautilus Resort
For those seeking absolute luxury with sustainable elements, indulge in absolute privacy and design choices that can’t help but stun at the Nautilus Resort. Each ‘are (bungalow) here features a private saltwater plunge pool, high ceilings for minimal use of the air-conditioning, UV-treated tap water and bathroom amenities with no single-use plastic. Their large infinity pool is also saltwater, while the popular Nautilus Restaurant has some of the best vegan dishes in the Cook Islands – learn more about the latter point in The Cook Islands for Vegans & Vegetarians + 10 Best Restaurants. What’s more, they are the sister resort of the Muri Beach Resort (see point #5 above) just next door!
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7. Ocean Escape Resort & Spa
A trendy wee resort on Rarotonga’s east coast, Ocean Escape Resort & Spa is exclusively adults-only and has environmental initiatives that are sure to entice. Their pride and joy is the chlorine-free ocean water swimming pool, while their UV-treated drinking water and bio-septic sanitation system, including grey water used to water their gardens, are more ways water is used in a more sustainable way. Energy is produced by solar power, while villas are double-level and allow for optimal ventilation with minimal need for air-conditioning. And that’s just some of their environmental initiatives! Learn more about their unique design features and more in the 10 Best Boutique Resorts in the Cook Islands.
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8. Rainbow Villas
Tucked on the back hills of Nikao, Rainbow Villas offers just two boutique villas nestled among sustainable permaculture gardens. Pick whatever is in season in the lush organic gardens surrounding the outdoor pool and cook up a storm in your luxury self-catering villa, beautifully designed for couples. Enjoy an alternative view of Rarotonga as you unwind on your elevated deck overlooking the golf course. Of course, with the villas providing a supermarket in the garden, they also feature in the 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations on Rarotonga.
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9. Kuru Club Aitutaki
Kuru Club Aitutaki brings island living to the 21st Century with a selection of contemporary bungalows with a minimalist design. The beachfront property not only has everything you need to enjoy the outdoors from free watersport equipment rental to an infinity pool but sustainability initiatives in practice. The boutique resort is run off 100% solar energy, uses recycled irrigation water and has electric vehicles exclusively for guests to hire. That’s a much more eco-friendly way to have a tiki tour around Aitutaki!
Check Kuru Club Aitutaki out:
More About Eco Resorts in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Now that you know the most sustainable and eco-friendly resorts in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, here’s more advice on how to have a more environmentally-friendly getaway:
- The Guide to Ecotourism in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- 31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in the Cook Islands
- 10 Best Eco Tours in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Renting a Car in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, plan the rest of your holiday with everything you need in The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.