The Best Accommodations for Snorkelling in Rarotonga and Aitutaki
We get it; you’re not flying all the way to the Cook Islands to mess around! You’re here to snorkel and you want to snorkel as close as possible to your accommodation. That’s where this list comes in. We’ve curated all of the best resorts and accommodations either on or within very short walking distance to the top snorkelling spots in the Cook Islands. Find out the best resorts for snorkelling in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands!
1. The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium
Set on the shores of Aroa Beach and a marine reserve, The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium is certainly one of the best resorts for snorkelling! Learn all about the snorkelling at the marine reserve here, which you can make the most of with the resort’s complimentary snorkelling gear, in the Top 10 Places to Snorkel in the Cook Islands. As for the accommodation, couples have their own quiet hideaways in the resort with the Honeymoon Suite boasting its own private pool and sauna, while families adore the Moko’s Kids’ Club and the fact that children ages 11 and under can stay for free! Wherever you stay among the vast complex connected by winding garden paths, you’re sure to have a blast at one of Rarotonga’s most popular resorts.
Check The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium out:
- The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium on Booking.com
- The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium on Trip.com
- The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium on Expedia
2. Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach
The sister resort of The Rarotongan, right next door so also on the shores of Aroa Beach and lagoon, Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach is not only amazing for snorkelling but is exclusively adults-only. Their casual toes-in-the-sand restaurant, Bluewater Grill, is a highlight, while the airy high-ceiling suites on the beachfront are irresistible (just opt for a room on the top level for a “real” beach view). There’s a generous array of in-resort activities between free cultural workshops and marine snorkelling tours to make the most of the awesome snorkelling on your doorstep. Check out similar resorts in the 20 Best Adults-Only Resorts in the Cook Islands.
Check Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach Resort out:
- Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach on Booking.com
- Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach on Trip.com
- Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach on Expedia
3. Pacific Resort Aitutaki
Home to its own marine reserve and piece of snorkelling paradise, Pacific Resort Aitutaki is certainly a top contender for the best snorkelling resorts in Aitutaki. Stay on the absolute beachfront or down any one of the winding garden footpaths with the amazing snorkelling beach never too far away. The resort has worked with Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative (PICI) to establish the Aquatic Eco Trail, which are five different marine habitats marked by buoys outside of the resort. Learn more about it in the Top 10 Places to Snorkel in Aitutaki.
Check Pacific Resort Aitutaki out:
- Pacific Resort Aitutaki on Booking.com
- Pacific Resort Aitutaki on Trip.com
- Pacific Resort Aitutaki on Expedia
4. Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort
The five-star Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort might be the only resort in the Cook Islands with overwater bungalows but even its lowest tier of accommodation literally sits on the white sands of the resort’s own private island – so close to snorkelling paradise! Each bungalow gets its own private allocated snorkelling gear and reef shoes, which you can make the most of off the beach or from the deck of your overwater bungalow with a ladder into the lagoon. Learn more about this romantic resort in the 20 Most Romantic Wedding & Honeymoon Resorts in the Cook Islands.
Check Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort out:
- Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort on Booking.com
- Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort on Trip.com
- Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort on Expedia
5. Edgewater Resort & Spa
Set along the palm-lined beach of Arorangi, the Edgewater Resort & Spa not only has a prime position for glorious sunsets but it happens to have everything couples, groups and families need for a fun yet relaxing stay in paradise. Just outside of the resort is a marine reserve, keeping the coral and fish happy and providing some amazing snorkelling – best done at high tide. When it comes to other holiday fun, the Activities Hut always has something going on, while the Coconut Kids’ Club gives families room to have their own holidays. Learn more about the best resorts for families in the 20 Best Family Resorts & Accommodations in the Cook Islands.
Check Edgewater Resort & Spa out:
- Edgewater Resort & Spa on Booking.com
- Edgewater Resort & Spa on Trip.com
- Edgewater Resort & Spa on Expedia
6. Raela Villas Tikioki
While not on the beach, Raela Villas Tikioki is one of the closest accommodations to the renowned marine reserve and snorkelling hotspot, Tikioki Beach – find out more about the snorkelling spot in The Best Snorkelling in Rarotonga: Top 7 Places to Snorkel. There are just three contemporary villas nestled in tropical gardens and sharing a swimming pool at this adults-only boutique villa complex. All villas are fully self-contained and include a kitchen with a coffee maker, a covered deck and the opportunity to enjoy spa treatments on-site.
Check Raela Villas Tikioki out:
7. The Reef Motel
A fantastic on-the-beach location for only a fraction of the price of a resort, The Reef Motel is well worth looking at if you want to enjoy some snorkelling from your accommodation. Nearby the popular snorkelling and scuba diving spot of Black Rock and benefitting from the marine reserve in front of the Edgewater Resort, your stay in one of the garden studios or lagoon-view bungalows couldn’t be closer to the action. Rooms are basic but functional with a kitchenette, a deck and even dining furniture on the beach.
Check The Reef Motel out:
8. Black Rock Villas
Set on the hillside overlooking the snorkelling hotspot of Black Rock and the happening lunch spot of Tuoro Tapas Bar, Black Rock Villas offers well-appointed self-contained villas with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Although not directly on the beach, it’s just a short walk to this snorkelling spot that we talk about in detail in the Top 10 Places to Snorkel in the Cook Islands. Enjoy the elevated views from your private verandah or among the gardens with a shared saltwater infinity pool. You have excellent self-catering facilities at your disposal (including a dishwasher), and even a courtesy car included in your stay! See more convenience stays like this in the 6 Accommodations in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands with Car Rental.
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9. White House Apartments
Stay close to Aroa Beach without having to stay in a large resort by choosing White House Apartments. Ideal for families and large groups, the two-bedroom apartment and villa offer the complete home-away-from-home experience (but better) with a swimming pool and the marine reserve of Aroa Beach just 100m (110 yards) down the road. The apartments are light, airy and can sleep up to six or seven adults. Enjoy the use of your own barbecue, as well as free snorkel rental.
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10. Matriki Beach Huts
Last but certainly not least, if you’re looking for that beachfront bungalow experience without paying a premium then check out Matriki Beach Huts. These characterful bungalows in Aitutaki are all a little different but equally rustic. One has an ensuite while the others have their own showers and a shared toilet at the back of the property. Some excellent snorkelling can be found straight from the beach, nearby the Pacific Resort Aitutaki (see point #3). These beach huts also feature in the 10 Best Budget Accommodations in the Cook Islands.
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More About the Best Resorts for Snorkelling in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Now that you know some of the best resorts for snorkelling in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands, learn more about making the most of your snorkelling holiday through the following guides:
- 10 Best Snorkelling Tours in the Cook Islands
- The Best Snorkelling in the Cook Islands: Top 10 Places to Snorkel
- 7 Best Turtle Swimming Tours in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, plan the logistics of your getaway with The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.