Where is the Best Place to Stay on Rarotonga?
Welcome to your ultimate guide on where to stay on Rarotonga! Here, we’re not just covering the best side of Rarotonga to stay, including Muri, Arorangi, Titikaveka or Avarua, but we’re also listing the best Rarotonga accommodations in each area.
What is the Best Side of Rarotonga to Stay on?
For beaches and watersports, the best side of the island of Rarotonga to stay on is Muri Beach (east coast) or Titikaveka (southeast coast). For some of the best resorts along with amazing sunsets and whale watching, the west coast, Arorangi, is the best side of Rarotonga. And for shopping, dining and historical sightseeing, you’re best to stay on the north coast around Avarua.
In this guide on where to stay on Rarotonga, we go into further detail about these places to stay, as well as recommend some awesome off-the-beaten-track places to stay on Rarotonga.
The Top 10 Accommodations on Rarotonga
Before we dive into this complete guide on where to stay on Rarotonga, we thought you’d find it helpful for us to list our top 10 Rarotonga accommodations and where to find them.
- Magic Reef Beach Bungalows – Arorangi (west coast)
- Pacific Resort Rarotonga – Muri Beach (east coast)
- Rumours Luxury Villas & Spa – Titikaveka (southeast coast)
- Manuia Beach Resort – Arorangi (west coast)
- Little Polynesian Resort – Titikaveka (southeast coast)
- Muri Beachcomber – Muri Beach (east coast)
- Rarotonga Daydreamer Escape – Vaimaanga (southwest coast)
- Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa – Muri Beach (east coast)
- Mama Taras Bungalows – Muri Beach (east coast)
- The Edgewater Resort & Spa – Arorangi (east coast)
Rarotonga Accommodation at Muri Beach (East Coast)
Muri Beach is one of the most popular tourist hubs on Rarotonga, bustling with cafes and restaurants, tour operators – particular watersports and lagoon tours and the regular Muri Night Market. It is also often seen as the most picturesque side of Rarotonga to stay on due to its four motu (islets) jutting out of the lagoon. Accommodations capture the views from the beachfront or on the hillsides.
More About Staying at Muri Beach
What’s Muri good for? Beaches, watersports, sunrises and swimming.
What to do there? Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruise, kayaking, snorkelling, Arore Trek, SUP tours, kitesurfing, Avana Point historical site, Te Ara Museum and more.
Where to eat? Rarotonga Sailing Club, LBV, Deli-Licious, La Casita, The Rickshaw, Muri Night Market and all of the resort restaurants! See The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours for more details.
The Best Resorts at Muri Beach
- Pacific Resort Rarotonga – One of the best in Rarotonga
- Nautilus Resort – Resort with luxury villas and restaurant
- Muri Beach Resort – Mid-range eco-resort
- Ocean Escape Resort & Spa – Eco adults-only resort
- Muri Beach Club Hotel – 18+ resort.
Luxury Accommodation in Muri
- Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa – Villas with private pools
- Nautilus Resort – Resort with luxury villas
- Te Vakaroa Villas – Luxury villa complex with shared pool
- Crystal Blue Lagoon Villas – Large self-contained villas
- Mai’i Villa Apartments – Apartment complex on the hill.
Learn more about these properties in the 5 Best Luxury Villas on Rarotonga and 10 Best Holiday Apartments in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Mid-Range Accommodation in Muri
- Rendezvous Villas – Two villas by the beach with pools
- Avana Waterfront Apartments – Self-contained accommodation
- Muri Beachcomber – Self-catering accommodation by the beach with bikes
- Mama Taras Bungalows – Inland holiday homes complex
- Kura’s Kabanas – Holiday homes by the beach
- Manea on Muri – Apartment hotel with pool by the beach.
Cheap Accommodation in Muri
- Aremango Guesthouse & Cottage – Cheap private rooms
- Ariki Bungalows – Compact apartments with shared pool
- Muri Hillside Guesthouses – Budget holiday homes
- Lulu and Shane’s Island Retreat – Tiny house.
Head to the 10 Best Budget Accommodations on Rarotonga for more information on all of these Rarotonga accommodations.
Holiday Homes in Muri
- Muri Beach Villa – 3-bedroom home with a pool
- Villa Maria – Luxury holiday home on the hill
- Maine Villa – Holiday home in town
- Muri Lodge – 6-bedroom holiday home
- Muri Lagoon Beachfront Villa – Sleek 2-bedroom villa
- Te Vaiora Villa – Reasonably priced 2-bedroom home.
More details on these holiday homes can be found in the 20 Best Holiday Homes in Rarotonga and the 25 Best Villas with a Private Pool in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Rarotonga Accommodation in Arorangi (West Coast)
Stretching from Black Rock in the north, all the way down the west coast to Aroa Beach in the south, the Arorangi district covers a large area of Rarotonga. The whole coast is one long sandy beach – although not ideal for swimming apart from Aroa Beach.
Needless to say, Arorangi is not as compact as Muri, so you may be within walking distance of only a few restaurants, tour operators and attractions. However, Arorangi is home to some of the best resorts on Rarotonga, is where the most whales are seen offshore in the whale season and, of course, gets the best sunsets.
More About Staying in Arorangi
What’s Arorangi good for? Sunsets, whale watching and resorts
What to do there? Raemaru Trek, Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre, Tumutoa Tours, Ariki Adventures, Highland Paradise, art galleries and more.
Where to eat? Beluga Cafe, OTB, Flying Turtle Cafe, The Pacific Fish & Chip Shop and all of the resort restaurants! See The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours for more details.
The Best Resorts in Arorangi
- The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium – One of the largest resorts on Rarotonga with tons of facilities at Aroa Beach
- Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach – Adults-only version of The Rarotongan
- Edgewater Resort & Spa – Largest resort on Raro, tons of facilities
- Manuia Beach Resort – Adults-only boutique, popular restaurant
- Crown Beach Resort & Spa – Adults-only with two restaurants
- Castaway Resort – Adults-only with a popular restaurant
- Sunset Resort – Two pools and a good restaurant.
Learn more about these resorts in the 20 Best Resorts on Rarotonga.
Mid-Range Accommodation in Arorangi
- Magic Reef Beachfront Bungalows – Eco-resort with EV rental
- Aro’a Beachside Inn – Self-contained bungalows and beach bar
- Serenity Villas – Adults-only villas
- Coral Sands Apartments – Self-contained stay with shared pool
- Arcadia Retreat – Adults-only colonial villas with shared pool
- Lagoon Breeze Villas – Luxury self-contained apartments
- White House Apartments – Holiday homes near a snorkelling beach
- The Black Pearl at Puaikura – Motel-style stay great for families.
Cheap Accommodation in Arorangi
- Rarotonga Backpackers – Dorms and units on the beach
- Backpackers International Hostel – Dorms and private rooms
- The Reef Motel – Self-contained units by the beach.
Holiday Homes in Arorangi
- Betela Beach House – Nearby snorkelling at Aroa Beach
- Moana Oasis Villa – Modern home with private pool
- Tropical Retreat Rarotonga – One-bedroom with private pool
- Sunset Quay – 4-bedroom with a pool by the beach
- Vaiakura Holiday Homes – Multi-storey homes on the beach
- Iro Luxury Retreat – Sleeps up to 25 guests!
Learn more about these stays in the 20 Best Holiday Homes in Rarotonga and the 25 Best Villas with a Private Pool in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Rarotonga Accommodation in Titikaveka (Southeast Coast)
Titikaveka is increasingly becoming one of the best places to stay on Rarotonga due to its excellent swimming beach with a marine reserve, on which many Rarotonga accommodations are located.
The proximity to Muri Beach means that those who stay here are not too far away from the action – some even within walking distance of Muri. There are also a couple of cafes and the Mairie Nui Gardens that are among some of Titikaveka’s own attractions.
More About Staying in Titikaveka
What’s Titikaveka good for? Swimming, snorkelling and going to Muri!
What to do there? Mairie Nui Gardens, kayak and SUP hire, the day spa at Raela Villas and more.
Where to eat? Charlie’s Cafe and all of the resort restaurants! See The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours for more details.
The Best Resorts in Titikaveka
- Little Polynesian Resort – Adults-only 5-star resort
- Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel – 3-star resort on the beach
- Moana Sands Lagoon Resort – Adults-only resort between Muri and Tikioki Beach.
Luxury Accommodation in Titikaveka
- Rumours Luxury Villas & Spa – Upscale villas with private pools and spa
- Little Polynesian Resort – Adults-only 5-star resort
- Motu Beachfront Art Villas – Eco-villas with e-bikes
- Sea Change Villas – Adults-only couple-centric villas.
Mid-Range Accommodation in Titikaveka
- Raela Villas Tikioki – Adults-only villas with a spa
- Makayla Palms – Well-appointed beach villas
- Whitesands Beach Villas – Good-value villas for families
- Bella Beach Bungalows – Cute self-contained bungalows on the beach
- Paradise Holiday Homes – Holiday homes with a private pool
- Sands Villas – Characterful hexagonal villas
- Raina Holiday Apartments – Affordable self-contained apartments.
Rarotonga Accommodation in Vaimaanga (Southwest Coast)
Also on the south coast, Vaimaanga boasts some excellent swimming beaches (just be mindful of the dangerous passages), as well as proximity to attractions like the Papua Waterfall. Another benefit of staying in Vaimaanga is Wigmore’s Superstore, one of the largest supermarkets outside of Avarua, which makes staying in the self-catering accommodations here all too simle.
More About Staying in Vaimaanga
What’s Vaimaanga good for? Swimming, beaches, turtle swimming tours, inland waterfall and grocery shopping
What to do there? Turtle swimming with Snorkel Cook Islands, drive or hike to the Papua Waterfall, hiking the Cross-Island Trek and more.
Where to eat? Pick up grocery supplies from Wigmore’s – see A Guide to Supermarkets in Rarotonga for more information.
Mid-Range Accommodation in Vaimaanga
- Rarotonga Daydreamer Escape – Garden bungalows by the pool
- Palm Grove – Family-friendly bungalows by the beach
- Moana Sands Beachfront Villas – Apartment hotel with a pool
- Vaima Beachfront Apartments – Modern apartments on the sands
- Te Ava Beach Villas – Beachfront and garden villas for two.
More details on these accommodations can be found in the 10 Best Holiday Apartments in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands and 20 Best Family Accommodations on Rarotonga.
Holiday Homes in Vaimaanga
- Casa Del Sol – Upscale holiday homes sharing a pool
- Nirvana Cottage – Character cottage for couples
- Mata Manea – Modern inland holiday home
- Pacific Palm Luxury Villa – Holiday home with a private pool.
Check out all of these holiday homes in our 20 Best Holiday Homes in Rarotonga.
Where Else to Stay on Rarotonga
Rarotonga accommodation is not just exclusive to the holiday hotspots, as the capital, Avarua and its surrounding suburbs also have some delightful holiday accommodations. For those looking to stay a little “off the beaten track” or find cheaper accommodation, you may want to consider the quieter side of the island, Matavera.
About Avarua & Nikao + Where to Stay
On the northern coast of Rarotonga are the nation’s capital, Avarua, and the suburb of Nikao where Rarotonga Airport is located (west of Avarua). Staying in this area means close proximity to a variety of grocery stores and restaurants, as well as fishing and boat tours at the Avatiu Harbour and historical sites, souvenir shopping and the Punanga Nui Market within Avarua.
- Nikao Beach Bungalows – Family-friendly bungalows on the beach
- Black Rock Villas – Self-contained villas with a shared pool
- Rainbow Villas – Permaculture garden villas
- Rarotonga GolfSeaView – Inland villas
- Central Motel – Central Avarua location with cheap rooms
- Boaza Place – Holiday home with a private pool
- Tuoro Holiday (Cook Islands Holiday Villas) – Sleek holiday home.
About Tupapa + Where to Stay
East of Avarua is the suburb and village of Tupapa with good advanced surfing, beaches and proximity to town.
- Club Raro Resort – Cheapest resort on Rarotonga
- Ocean Spray Villas – Self-contained apartments
- Kiikii Inn & Suites – Affordable rooms and a shared pool
- GT – Rarotonga Fishing Lodge – 6-bedroom holiday home
- Te Etu Villas – Affordable villas with a private pool
- Nevaeh Holiday Home – Private holiday home with pool.
About Matavera + Where to Stay
Stretching up the northeast coast of Rarotonga, the district of Matavera is a quieter side of the island in terms of tourism. It has a few historical sites, hiking trails and villages with churches and small convenience stores. The swimming is not good here due to the reef being so close to shore but the sunrise is magical.
- Ikurangi Eco Retreat – Glamping tents with a pool
- Turangi Lagoon (Cook Islands Holiday Villas) – Upscale 4-bedroom villa with private pool
- Te Puka Estate – Large group accommodation
- Tropical Sands – Holiday cottages with art in the gardens
- Herons Reef Holiday Apartments – Affordable self-contained holiday homes.
The Best Accommodation on Rarotonga: Accommodation Categories
By now, you’ve probably realised that Rarotonga has accommodation appealing to all types of travellers and that here, at Cook Islands Pocket Guide, we’ve ranked all the best! Browse Rarotonga accommodation by category using the following links:
- 20 Best Resorts
- 20 Best Villas
- 20 Best Holiday Homes
- 10 Best Boutique Resorts
- 10 Best Budget Accommodations
- 10 Best Adults-Only Resorts
- 10 Best Luxury Accommodations & Resorts
- 5 Best Luxury Villas
- 20 Best Family Resorts & Accommodations
- 10 Most Romantic Wedding & Honeymoon Resorts
- 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations
- 5 Best Motels.
Plan more of your trip according to different travel styles using The Complete Travel Guide to Rarotonga.
More About Where to Stay on Rarotonga + The Best Rarotonga Accommodations
Woah! Well done for making it this far in our guide to the best Rarotonga accommodations. By now, you probably have a good idea of where to stay on Rarotonga, so plan the rest of your trip with these guides:
- 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List
- The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide
- 30 Tips for Travelling in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, if you’re still unsure where to stay on Rarotonga, go back to square one with our guide, Where to Stay in the Cook Islands: The Best Cook Islands Accommodations.