Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days 🍸© Kieran Scott - Cook Islands Tourism
Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days 🍸

Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days 🍸

© Kieran Scott – Cook Islands Tourism

5-Day Luxury Trip to Rarotonga!

Are the powdery sands, turquoise lagoons and lush rainforests of the Cook Islands calling your name? It’s time to explore paradise with nothing less than pure indulgence in mind. This is your luxury escape, after all. With only 5 days, however, you only comfortably have enough time to explore Rarotonga – just one of the breathtaking atolls of the Cook Islands. Nevertheless, whether you’re celebrating something special or “just ’cause”, this Rarotonga luxury itinerary for 5 days will ensure your wanderlust and rejuvenation needs are seen to.

While you’re here, don’t forget to peruse The Complete Luxury Guide to the Cook Islands; your bible to luxury in the Cooks!

Overview: Rarotonga Luxury 5-Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Arrival on Rarotonga
  • Day 2 – Private tour of Rarotonga
  • Day 3 – Adventure in Raro
  • Day 4 – Relax in Raro
  • Day 5 – Souvenir shopping + departure.
Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days 🍸© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

How to Get Around the Cook Islands in 5 Days

This Rarotonga luxury itinerary for 5 days includes travel on the island’s main road, Ara Tapu. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get around Rarotonga in 5 days.

Road Transport on Rarotonga

The first road transport you’ll encounter on Rarotonga is your airport transfer, which you can either book in advance with one of the airport shuttle/private transfer companies or simply hop in one of the airport taxis, as outlined in the 8 Best Airport Transfers.

For subsequent travel around Rarotonga, car hire offers the most flexibility and convenience, which you can learn more about in What You Need to Hire a Car in the Cook Islands. You’ll find, however, that some days on this luxury itinerary feature tours that have transport included. For everything in between, taxi services are available 24 hours. Find out more in our guide to Taxis in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

For all of your transport options across the island, not limited to the most “luxurious”, check out the Rarotonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Rarotonga.

Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days 🍸© Derek Smith - Cook Islands Tourism

Day 1 – Arrival on Rarotonga

Welcome to Rarotonga and the start of your 5-day escape to paradise! After the arrivals process of going through customs and biosecurity, you’ll step outside of the arrivals hall to the Cook Island’s traditional greeting with a floral ‘ei (neck garland) and, likely, a glass of bubbles for the journey if choosing a private airport transfer with Raro Tours.

Since it’s your first day in the Cook Islands, take it easy and get settled at your chosen luxury accommodation. After check-in, relax by your private pool, have a paddle with the kayaks provided at your resort and transition to “Raro time”. We’ll go over a few things you can do on Rarotonga tomorrow.

Rarotonga Luxury Accommodations

Get details on all of our recommended stays in the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations & Resorts on Rarotonga.

Dining Recommendations

Resorts such as Nautilus Resort, Little Polynesian, Crown Beach Resort & Spa and Pacific Resort Rarotonga have their own reputable restaurant, so we recommend dining at one of these if that’s where you’re staying (or get a complimentary shuttle to the Pacific Resort, if staying at Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa). Otherwise, why not get your Cook Islands getaway off to an indulgent start with a gourmet platter delivered right to your villa’s deck with Island Platters? Find out more about the latter option in the 8 Best Luxury Experiences on Rarotonga.

Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days 🍸© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

Day 2 – Private Tour of Rarotonga

For your first full day on Rarotonga, get acquainted with the island through one of the fabulous guided tours exclusively catered to you and your nearest and dearest.

Raro Tours offers a private scenic island tour with a drive down the ancient Ara Metua inland road, visiting historical maraes, the Mairie Nui Tropical Gardens, a shell-carving studio and spa product producer and many more hidden gems that many tourists miss.

Alternatively, Cook Islands Tours offers private orientation tours of the island, taking you to interesting sights and pointing out all sorts of recommendations that you can benefit from throughout your trip.

Discover more about guided tours across Raro in the 10 Best Sightseeing Tours in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

Dining Recommendations

Treat yourself to a bit of fine dining this evening with a memorable meal at Antipodes. Perched on the hillside of Black Rock, the Mediterranean-inspired villa with three levels of dining area basks in wonderful views and sunsets. Needless to say, you’ll need to make a booking a few nights ahead for this hotspot! Get more recommendations on where to eat from the 5 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days 🍸© DH - Cook Islands Tourism

Day 3 – Adventure in Raro

Make “Day 3” the day you do the experience you’ve been dreaming about: perhaps swimming with sea turtles or hiking across the island to breathtaking scenery? You have several premium tours available at your fingertips…

Option 1: Private Snorkelling Tour

Join Snorkel Cook Islands for a three-hour private tour with VIP transfers to their exclusive beach and high-quality snorkelling gear included. Snorkel among some of the most vibrant marine areas of Rarotonga before concluding with a banquet of refreshments. Learn more, read reviews and book the experience on Viator and Tripadvisor. Additionally, see how the snorkelling tour compares to the 6 Best Snorkelling Tours in Rarotonga.

Option 2: Private Turtle Swimming Tour

Alternatively, experience a private turtle swimming tour with an award-winning photographer on Charlotte Piho Photography Tours. The 1h30mins experience will get you close to Rarotonga’s stunning turtles and have you coming away with high-quality underwater photos. Again, discover more about the tour on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, compare it with others in the 7 Best Turtle Swimming Tours in Rarotonga.

Option 3: Guided Hike of the Cross Island Trek

Rarotonga’s most iconic hiking trail, the Cross Island Trek takes you through tropical jungle and to volcanic peaks with unmatched scenery. Combine with experience with the guided eco-tour of Maunga Tours, including lunch and a guide with a wealth of knowledge. Learn more about the tour in the 8 Best Guided Walks in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

Dining Recommendations

You will have surely worked up an appetite today, so treat yourself to a three-course (or five-course, depending on the day) fine dining medley at On The Beach (OTB) Restaurant & Sunset Bar. Every course has its own individual chef headed by veteran cuisiner, Phillip Nordt, who’s famous on the island for his TV cooking show and other foodie ventures. See how the restaurant compares to The Best Places to Eat on Rarotonga: 10 Best Restaurants.

Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days 🍸© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

Day 4 – Relax in Raro

Take some time today to unwind. No doubt, that’s partly what you flew to Rarotonga to do anyway…

Of course, the most relaxing experience you can have on Rarotonga is indulging in a spa day. Raro has a number of fabulous spas, from the Vichy Shower specialists at the Waterfall Spa of Rumours Luxury Villas to the reputable Te Manava Spa. Be sure to compare all of your options in the 10 Best Spas in Rarotonga.

Otherwise, the luxury villas and resorts of Rarotonga offer plenty of ways to relax and rejuvenate in paradise, between paddling on the lagoon via SUP or kayak and cooling off in your own private pool.

Dining Recommendations

We have two very different but equally lavish dining recommendations for your day of relaxation in Raro, so take your pick. On one hand, experience the creative cuisine of the Nautilus Restaurant with plenty of sustainably-minded options including some of the best vegan dishes on the island. On the other hand, enjoy elegant oceanfront dining in a charming colonial house at Tamarind House Restaurant. Learn more about each eatery in the 5 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Rarotonga.

Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days 🍸© Cook Islands Tourism

Day 5 – Souvenir Shopping + Departure

Enjoy your final lazy breakfast by the beach before checking out of your accommodation. Take a taxi/drive to Avarua where you can have a browse at the black pearls, rito fans, local art and more. Better yet, if it’s a Saturday, experience the unmissable Punanga Nui Market. See The Best Places to Buy Souvenirs in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for more details. Then, get dropped off/drop your vehicle off at Rarotonga International Airport and begin the check-in process for your departure flight.

Remember to arrive at Rarotonga Airport a couple of hours before your scheduled departure so that you have enough time to check in, go through security and browse the duty-free. Rarotonga International Airport’s duty-free stores are worth the time for a peruse, with local floral or shell ‘eis (necklaces), wooden carvings, perfumes, ukuleles, coffee beans and more. Check out the 12 Best Souvenirs from Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for shopping inspiration.

And it’s “ka kite” from the Cook Islands!

Alternative Rarotonga and Cook Islands 5-Day Itineraries

Is this 5-day luxury itinerary for Rarotonga not quite speaking to you? How about checking out our alternative itineraries for 5 days:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed from this Cook Islands luxury itinerary, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Luxury Guide to the Cook Islands.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as the Cook Islands. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Raro’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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