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Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

Mountain View...
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Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

Hello,

My wife and I are planning on celebrating our 5th anniversary this June or early July. We have a son who is 1.5,that we will be taking with us for a week long beach vacation. We saw pictures of the Pacific Resort Rarotonga, which looks spectacular. It seems to give sort of the Bora Bora experience in terms of beaches, at a much, much more reasonable cost. Is this a fair comparison?

We live near San Francisco, so anything other than Hawaii or Mexico would involve a layover. However, as you can imagine, it is challenging flying with a toddler. We really, really want to stay somewhere with beautiful beaches and a place we can just relax and unwind with our child.

Can anyone comment on Rarotonga vs Caribbean? Is it really that much more spectacular to where it would be worth a little longer flight with a toddler? Some of the beaches in the Caribbean have beautiful water as well, but they just don't seem quite at Rarotonga's level. Also, we're really not into overcrowded mega-resorts. We like nice (not over the top) boutique resorts and don't want to spend $1,000/night for that experience.

I'm interested in the feedback of others.

Aitutaki, Cook...
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1. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

HI roadwarrior, If you think the Pacific Resort Rarotonga is nice be sure to check out the Pacific Resort Aitutaki.The Aitutaki lagoon is considered one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world. The beach in front of the Aitutaki Pacific Resort is 3 miles long. If you walk it high season or low any time of day any day of the week and you run into more than 10 people, it's crowded.

CostCo travel has some nice packages to the Cook Islands and the Aitutaki Pacific Resort is one of them. There is a direct flight from LA to Rarotonga once a week leaving on Sunday night arriving in Rarotonga Monday morning.

June and July are high season here so don't delay in booking if you decide to come.

Mountain View...
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2. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

Yeah, saw that too, but it looks much more expensive and that would require 2 flight connections, rather than 1.

Aitutaki, Cook...
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3. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

The Air Rarotonga gates are very close to the international arrivals and if you book the first flight to Aitutaki your connection is not very long.

Mountain View...
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4. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

Looks like the rates are about $300 USD per night for the one in Rarotonga vs $1,300 USD per night for the one in Aitutaki for the cheapest rooms at both. I can call Costco, since they won't give the rates online, but $1,300/night is above our budget.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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5. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

Kia Orana roadwarrior, welcome to the forum.

Muri beach, where the Pacific Resort sits, is extremely picturesque with it's lagoon outlook towards several little islets hugging the reefline. Deep and clear area for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, sailing, paddle-boarding, and at times kite-surfing. Muri is also where the lagoon cruises on Rarotonga depart for the Tikoki marine reserve in the SE corner of Rarotonga. Cruises return to the small islet across from Pacific Resort for the afternoon.

The entire Pacific Resort is lovely. Beautifully landscaped grounds, with choices of accommodation including family suites near the enclosed pool. Relaxed beachfront dining, as well as restaurants close by.

As to cost comparison compared to Fr. Polynesia, we are the affordable cousin of our close neighbour. Maybe not the extensive development or higher wages here, but enough to provide all the basic facilities and space to relax and unwind. Rarotonga makes for a good family holiday. The biggest considerations are the airfare and length of journey to get here.

June may be a little cheaper compared to July travel, and probably more accommodation available in June also.

All the best with your travel decisions. Kia manuia.

Hobart, Australia
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6. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

Be aware of staying in the Muri area as it is currently getting a very bad wrap around the fowl smell. Taken from the latest Cook island news cookislandsnews.com/2014/…1402220909

"We stayed at Muri, right on the lagoon, with snorkelling, kayaking and sun baking just outside the door. But then, the wind shifted. Suddenly, we were choking in the stench of manure. With the stench came hordes of flies. From paradise to hell in seconds!

“It didn’t take long to find the source: A battery hen farm incredibly sited in the middle of Rarotonga’s prime tourist area! Our hosts told us they had been trying to get it closed down for years, to no avail. No wonder they wanted it out of the area. They and other operators were losing business because of the pollution. The stench even penetrates as far as Te Vara Nui, Rarotonga’s spectacular island dance show. We tried burning mosquito coils in our room to mask the smell in order to sleep at night, but the combined stink was totally disgusting".

Edited: 03 March 2014, 02:40
Thunder Bay, Canada
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7. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

To comment on Rarotonga vs Caribbean, two very different destinations but for me Rarotonga wins hands down. Having visited several Caribbean islands Raro is absolutely worth (for me) a longer flight. No all inclusive resorts, great food, gorgeous beaches and friendly people, make it a very different and relaxing vacation. If you check Air New Zealand you will see they offer fares from San Francisco connecting in LAX to their weekly direct flight to Raro on Sundays. Check out booking your accommodation separately ....there are lots of choices. I am sure you will find something within your budget.

Since you only have one week and are travelling with your son, I would save the trip to Aitutaki for another time.

Mountain View...
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8. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

Thanks everyone for the feedback. It gives me a lot to think about.

Canada/Australia
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9. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

I agree with r10th. I've been to the Caribbean twice and the Cooks eight and will be going to Rarotonga twice this year. We enjoyed out holidays in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos but they didn't come close to what we love about the Cooks.

It's a very personal thing. I had a friend invite me over to her house to tell her about the Cooks Islands this week, and I was honest with her and told her I didn't think the Cooks were for her. She would be bored silly. She and her husband need to be busy all the time and she loves to shop and all he does is watch TV.

When I told her that in September in the Cooks I read about 10 books in 12 days, didn't turn on the TV once and that we just enjoy the simple island way of life. I think she started to get it. For us it's magic.

However, I am not in the same age category as you, but I was 37 when I first went to the Cooks, I'm now 54 and have yet to find a place to match it.

Edited: 03 March 2014, 04:26
Tucson, Arizona
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10. Re: Rarotonga vs Caribbean?

Hello Road Warrior,

My wife and I first saw the South Pacific (French Polynesia - Bora Bora) in 1977. Since then, we have visited 100 countries including every major island in the Caribbean (excluding Cuba). We have always been trying to compare that first glimpse of the South Pacific with the West Indies and quite honestly, the Caribbean never measured up. In May, we are heading back to the South Pacific and the Cook Islands which we understand is every bit as lovely as Tahiti and Bora Bora. Since you are in the Bay Area, it would take you a good 10 hours to get to the Caribbean. For about the same flight time you can fly nonstop on the weekly Air New Zealand flight to Rarotonga which departs every Sunday around midnight. Hope this helps!

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