Scuba, snorkel & surf
Coral, canyons, wrecks and a myriad of fish life
Coral dives, canyons, wrecks, drifts and the myriad of fish life offer some fantastic sights for scuba divers and snorkellers. And the best part is that you can see it all! Visibility is seldom less than 30 metres (100 feet) and can be up to 70 metres (230 feet) on a good one. With the reef drop-off from about 30 metres to 4000 metres (13,000 ft) that is an awesome view!
The SS Maitai was shipwrecked in 1916
In addition to huge numbers of subtropical fish, scuba divers are often lucky enough to see moray eels, reef sharks, turtles, rays, whales (in season), shipwrecks and caves.
There are a number of dive operators on Rarotonga, each offering a range of dives for experienced as well as novice divers. They all offer dive courses.
Each side of Rarotonga has its own distinct dive environment and sometimes wind and weather will determine the best dive sites for the day. The sites are only a short distance from the shore so the dive guys and gals can have you out there and in the water in minutes - maximizing your dive time.
Water temperatures range between 24-30 degrees C (75-85 degrees F).
The exciting variety of tropical fish in the Rarotonga lagoon mean the snorkeling is breathtaking.
A snorkeller's paradise just off the beach
Much of the best snorkeling is accessible directly off the beach, which makes it particularly safe and exciting for learners who can see fish as soon as they put on their masks and peer below the surface.
There are generally two areas that are the most popular for snorkelling - Fruits of Rarotonga and Aroa Beach.
These are both on the southern side of the island, so if the wind is coming from the south head to the west (most areas here need the tide to be in for good snorkelling) or to Black Rock on the north west coast.
Fast breaks with big drops
Surfing is popular with the locals on Rarotonga. The breaks are nothing like the challenging waves found on Hawaii or Fiji, but with patience and the right conditions, you will find some enjoyable surfing. All the breaks are over the reef and can be dangerous so definitely not for beginners.
The most reliable breaks are off Avana Harbour on the east side of Rarotonga. Other breaks are found in the passages at Rutaki (south coast), and off Club Raro on the north coast. But the best advice is to talk to locals and see if you can persuade them to share some insiders' secrets on the best breaks.