Family Travel Ideas in Rarotonga

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The Cook Islands are a small group of islands to the northeast of New Zealand. Rarotonga is the largest and most populated of the 15 Cook Islands, and is also home to the major airport, Rarotonga International. All of the islands in the Cook Islands were originally volcanoes, but now they are a self-governing democratic country and a well known tourist destination. Rarotonga has some definite advantages as a family travel destination. The island itself is fairly small, making it easy to explore and hard to get lost. Despite the fact that Rarotonga sees a lot of tourists throughout the year, it is still much less overwhelming than more well known tropical destinations such as those in the Caribbean.

How to Get Around the Island

There are a number of ways to get around Rarotonga. Most of the villages are not more than 20 minutes apart walking, and there is a bus system that circles the island. If you feel more comfortable having your family inside of a car, there are car rental services near the airport, but to drive you need to go to the police station in Avarua, the largest village, to get a Cook Island driver's license. Don't worry, there's no test as long as you show them a valid license from your home country. Bicycles are also very common on Rarotonga, and a bike ride makes a great family excursion.

What to Do

There are plenty of things to do on Rarotonga for the whole family. Not surprisingly, the beaches make up a large part of the activities of the island. Rarotonga is a particularly good place for scuba diving, with bright coral reefs and tropical waters. If you don't want to go through the hassle of getting certified to scuba dive, snorkeling is a great alternative. Rarotonga is also a great place to windsurf. Don't be afraid if you don't have experience, because the winds around the island are usually fairly mild, making it a great place to learn. If you head in-land, you will find a rich maze of hiking trails cutting through the jungle at the interior of the island. Because Rarotonga is so small, you can explore with much greater peace of mind than you would in other tropical islands. It is still a good idea to pick up a local guidebook, which will warn you ahead of time about the difficulty of the trails you choose and will point out sights you might otherwise miss.


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January 10, 2010 new by cjr236

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