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Rarotonga Travel Guide

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Rarotonga © eutrophication and hypoxia

The largest of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga, is home to nearly three quarters of the archipelago's 20,000 citizens, most of whom live in settlements along the coast. The island is home to the capital, Avarua, and is also the most popular tourist destination in the Cook Islands.

Avarua is the only major town, and with a population of only 5,000 even that is small and contains a few restaurants, bars and shops. Rarotonga's attractions are not urban ones, however, but lie in the spectacular natural beauty of the island. The interior of Rarotonga is a stunning mixture of jagged mountains and lush green jungles that give way to the sparkling white sand beaches before meeting the clear blue waters of the South Pacific.

Snorkelling and scuba diving, along with other watersports, are the most popular activities in Rarotonga, although a healthy dose of relaxing and enjoying the beautiful beaches balances out the more physical activities. The circular island is nearly surrounded by coral reefs that contain tropical fish, octopi, eels, and other colourful marine life. Aroa Lagoon, Fruits of Rarotonga Beach, and Black Rock are popular areas for snorkelling and scuba diving. The reefs and lagoons make Rarotonga less than ideal for surfing, but create perfectly calm areas for swimming, like the idyllic Muri Lagoon.

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