Travelling to “Raro” for the first time, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was a “tiny” island, only 32km all the way around, but I was still surprised at the large variety of things to do, friendly locals and all the gorgeous beaches to choose from.Adults Only
One of my favourite resorts was The Sanctuary, an adults-only resort located next door to the Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa, but with access to its facilities. It had a swim-up bar and sandy floored restaurant, with the downstairs room’s just steps from the beach. Absolute bliss!Island Safari
Another highlight was the Island Safari. We were collected from our hotel in an open air 4x4, our driver “Mr Hopeless” was quite a character. We made frequent stops, seeing Raro’s only waterfall Papua Waterfall also known as Wigmore's Waterfall; experiencing the fauna and flora as well as the cultural sites. All in all, this was something a bit different and well worth it. We ended up in the interior of the beautiful green Avatiu Valley leading to a close-up view of the Needle (Te Rua Manga) and watching a coconut husking demonstration (and tasting too!) The muddy downhill trip home was definitely not for the fainthearted however - what an adventure!Cultural Shows
We were also fortunate to experience the newest and only over-water night-time cultural show - Te Vara Nui. Our evening started off with a village tour, learning about the Polynesian history and traditions, followed by a delicious buffet dinner and show performed by flaming torchlight on floating and fixed stages in a beautiful waterfall garden.Aitutaki
Our day trip to Aitutaki was the absolute highlight of my trip and is a place simply not to be missed if you love white sandy beaches and turquoise water. After an early morning 50 minute flight we arrived and were taken on a tour of the inland roads for some breathtaking scenery. We then boarded the boat for a relaxing trip out to the islands. (Make sure you take your passport with you for a “One Foot Island” stamp by the “Mayor” of the island, for a small coin donation.) We then anchored in a shallow lagoon and spent the afternoon snorkelling among the coral and colourful sea life, followed by an amazing seafood lunch on board.
Apart from the gorgeous beaches, excellent snorkelling, friendly people, and amazing food and sites, there isn’t anything else to distract you from simply chilling out and winding down.