Beaches in Rarotonga

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Small and almost perfectly circular, the island of Rarotonga, part of the Cook Islands, is a unique place for a beach getaway. On every side of the island, except for the northernmost area, Rarotonga is surrounded by coral reefs. This makes its beaches distinctive; the big waves and rough waters crash on and around the reef area, preventing them from coming closer to the shoreline. This leaves the water closest to the coasts very calm and clear with almost no waves, like a lagoon. Obviously, these lagoons are horrible for surfing, so if you're looking for a beach getaway with great surfing, this isn't the place for you. The perfect activities for these lagoons are snorkeling, swimming, wading and sunbathing. In the north, the reefs are present basically right along the shoreline, making the water extremely rough and impossible to do any water activities in. The beaches of tiny Rarotonga are free to the public.

Snorkeling Beaches

The best beaches for snorkeling are those in the southeast and the extreme south of the island. These areas combine coral towers with sandy areas, making it very easy to see the colorful fish darting in and out among the coral. In some parts, the coast can be quite rocky, making swimming and wading difficult, but the rocks can fill with water during high tide, making some interesting tide pools to explore. The southern side of the island also has more wind, so it can get a little chilly from June to August.

Most agree that the best snorkeling spot is right in front of the Fruits of Rarotonga smoothie stand. Along the rest of the western coast, there is good snorkeling as well, because the area is protected from fishermen and sheltered from the wind.

Swimming Beaches

By far, the best place to swim, play in the water, or just enjoy the scenery is Northeastern Rarotonga. There lies the famous Muri Lagoon, with its tranquil, warm, perfectly clear waters. The lagoon features a very shallow saltwater marsh with little islets that you can wade out to and explore. Snorkeling is very bad there, as the bottom is sandy with no coral and few fish, but the beauty of the place more than makes up for that. Be careful not to wade out too far, meaning too close to where the lagoon connects with the sea, because the current is very strong and dangerous there.

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