Cook Islands Rarotonga beach resorts

Rarotongan Beach Resorts - A Firsthand Guide

16 Jun 2017

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Everyone’s main requirement for a Rarotonga resort is to be as close to the beach as possible.

Luckily, there are plenty of properties that hug the coastline of the Cook Island’s main island, giving you front row seats to Rarotonga’s sublime tropical beauty.

Sit back, grab a cocktail and get ready to plunge into a crystal clear lagoon as I take you on a tour through these Rarotongan beach resorts. They're all right on the water and waiting to welcome you.

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Pacific Resort Rarotonga Barefoot Bar
Photo: Pacific Resort Rarotonga

Pacific Resort Rarotonga

I loved being able to have breakfast on the beach at the Pacific Resort.

Although you’re right by the ocean, with the Beachfront Suites and Premium Beachfront Villas right on the waterfront, you may feel as if you’re in a tropical jungle. Walking around the resort through pathways fringed with lush green foliage made me forget all about the little demands of real life, if only for a few moments.

It’s a great option for weddings, with competitive pricing and facilities that cater wonderfully to groups. The kids can enjoy the pool and there are three bedroom options available for families.

Sandals Restaurant offers classy dining on site, and The Barefoot Bar is right on the sand; perfect for a casual lunch before jumping back in the water.

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Nautilus Rarotonga Are
Photo: Nautilus Rarotonga

Nautilus Resort

There are many reasons why this was my favourite Rarotongan beach resort.

The Nautilus has an infrastructure that is not commonly found in Raro, with fantastic public facilities such as an oceanfront infinity pool, yet total privacy in the gorgeous villas. The restaurant was exquisite, and would be my first recommendation for those seeking fine dining in Rarotonga.

I was really impressed with the two-bedroom Premium Beachfront Are’, which has two bathrooms, separate entrances and a private plunge pool. If two couples were travelling together, they’d find it easy to enjoy their own space.

The resort’s gorgeous décor makes you feel immersed in Cook Islands beauty. I loved walking from my villa to the pool, because the stunning view of the gardens with the mountains or the ocean as a background made me grin every time.

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Sea Change Villas
Photo: Sea Change Villas

Sea Change Villas

I simply loved my stay in the three bedroom villa at Sea Change. 

There are one, two and three bedroom options, and some are available right on the beachfront. The elegant spaces are simple, but have everything you need. Although the villas are self-catered, there are facilities such as free bicycles, SUPs, kayaks and even a ping-pong table for guests to use.

We enjoyed an incredible sense of space and privacy and I honestly felt as comfortable as I do at home. Because of the size and secluded location of Sea Change Villas, you won’t come into contact with many other guests. Even if you’re a little noisy on your way to bed, you probably wouldn’t disturb those asleep.

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Island Night Crown Beach Resort
Photo: Crown Beach Resort Rarotonga

Crown Beach Resort Rarotonga

This large property offers plenty of room configurations that make it perfect for groups.

The rooms range from standard through to luxury, so there is a price point suitable for everyone. Because it is such a large resort, there are great facilities on offer, such as a choice of restaurants, a huge pool and a spa with hair dressing services.

Every Thursday there’s an event known as Island Night, which involves a delicious Polynesian buffet and a dance show by a local cultural dance troupe - it’s a lovely way to spend an evening.

It’s a good option for those who want to stay close to town or to the airport, and offers value for anyone mindful of their budget. Children at Crown Beach must be 16 years or older, which is an attractive selling point for some.


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Te Manava Villas Rarotongan beach resort
Photo: Te Manava Luxury Villas and Spa

Te Manava Luxury Villas and Spa

These five-star villas are perfect for those who are seeking a private escape.

The high walls and dense foliage enhance the feeling of solitude, and I would highly recommend this option for those who are happy to be left completely alone.

The one, two and three-bedroom villas have full kitchens where you can cook your own meals, although you might have to catch a ride to the markets to buy the ingredients - which is an awesome experience in itself.

As Te Manava is a sister resort to Pacific Resort you can also use the facilities at the larger Rarotongan beach resort free of charge; a nice little perk for anyone wanting a change of pace for an afternoon.

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Spa Villa Rumours
Photo: Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa

Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa

The luxurious villas at Rumours have an authentic decor that will have you feeling right at home in the Cook Islands. Beautiful wood work and high ceilings embrace the beachside ambience, and five of the seven villas are directly on the beach, with the other two just metres away.

This is another great option for anyone who wants a total breakaway from the crowds. The two bedroom villas each have a waterfall that cascades into a private pool, just another buffer between yourself and any distractions of the outside world.   

You can choose to have a continental or cook-it-yourself breakfast delivered to your door, and several restaurants in the area offer a free pick up and return service.

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Crystal Blue Lagoon Villas Rarotongan Beach Resort
Photo: Crystal Blue Lagoon Villas

Crystal Blue Lagoon

Crystal Blue offers a different kind of Rarotongan beach resort luxury.

The two-bedroom villas are chic and airy. There are only four in the complex, and all centre on a beautiful infinity pool and Jacuzzi. This would be a nice complex to hire out completely for a family or group booking, as everyone can mingle in the common areas or retreat to the privacy of their own villa.

It’s also in a good location, nearby the Pacific Rarotonga Resort and a range of restaurants. The lagoon in this area is divine, crystal clear and perfect for snorkelling. 


Hi, I'm Daniel, and I'd love to help you plan your stay in a  Rarotongan beach resort. I've got loads of tips to share with you from my recent trip to the Cook Islands, so get in touch or stop in and see me at Reis & James Travel Associates. I'm looking forward to hearing which of the above resorts tickles your fancy!

Daniel Leon

Hailing from Brazil and having the ability to speak several different languages has given Daniel a unique perspective on travel. For him, meeting people and having the chance to learn about different cultures is what makes travel so worthwhile. Daniel has travelled to many parts of the world, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, and as far north as the United States. He lists two favourite memories while travelling around the Western Hemisphere.