Perhaps it was because it was Easter and perhaps our secret is out and more people are taking the opportunity to visit the "other" slice of Heaven but the plane was full.
Having experienced a beautiful orange/yellow/blue sunrise on approach, we arrived safely at 6.55am to a sunny Rarotonga morning. We got straight off the plane and thankfully we were first at the Immigration Desk because we turned around and there was literally hundreds of people waiting. I think they need more than two desks to cater for full flights.
At 7.07am, we went out into the car park and found our little Cabriolet waiting, as promised by Island Bike and Car Hire. The staff are very good, nothing was a problem. As there were two couples (my best friend and her husband joined us to see what all the fuss about Raro was - yep, now they're hooked) - we each rented our own car so that we weren't beholden to each other.
We got to our rental accommodation - Taakoka Muri Beach Front Villa. The Villa presented exactly as it was on the Internet. It was immaculately maintained with a very refreshing pool, all overlooking the lagoon.
I'm not going to give you a day-by-day commentary on what we did because most days were the same - eat, drink, snorkel, swim, sleep. I will just tell you about the restaurants we loved and the couple we didn't.
In no specific order, because that's the way my brain is after this holiday (lol).
Vaima - what can I say? I really love this place as does my husband and our friends. We ended up there three times and enjoyed every meal. I have to admit, I love Henry's cocktails too.
Tamarind House - beautiful setting, excellent service. The food was good but I wouldn't rave about it.
Trader Jacks - I enjoy Trader Jacks for lunch and they definitely won (IMHO) the Di's Best Pizza Award.
Whatever Bar - Interesting little place. We had a Whatever Burger and Chips and have to say they were pretty darn good and cheap as - well, chips (oh dear).
The Shipwreck Bar - Love it. We didn't make the Saturday night Seafood BBQ as the weather wasn't very nice at all. Just another excuse to return to Raro.
We had fun at the Island Night at the Muri Beach Club Hotel. I recorded my DH dancing - hilarious, great memory. The restaurant was full and the buffet style food was of a very high standard. Great night.
Sails - Went to Sails for lunch. I really can't say much except it's a shame the food didn't match the view. Our Waitress was lovely though.
After Happy Hour at the Crown Beach Resort (which was very nice), we went to Windjammers Italian Restaurant and I actually had to send my entree back. I can't remember the last time I did that but it was prawns and scallops and they just weren't right. At the end of the meal the Chef came out and actually apologised. He knew 'the product wasn't right'. I am still wondering why on earth it was on the menu. Anyway, there was no charge and the rest of the meal was pleasant.
Apart from the Vaima, we had two favourite restaurants. The Little Polynesian - we went there for both lunch and dinner and the dinner was absolutely beautiful. As luck would have it, Seth was our Waitress on both occasions and she is exceptional. For a dessert, I tried the Chocolate and Banana Wontons - OMG, they were beautiful. I actually managed to get the recipe so when I've lost the kilos I put on, I will give them a try - or maybe I'll just go back to the Little Polynesian.
The other place that was exceptional was Bamboo Jacks. We just wish we had tried it earlier. We managed to go there twice but will definitely go back there again next time.
Prime Meats was fantastic. We bought Rib Eye Steak from them on two occasions for BBQs and just can't rave enough about it. Even our neighbour's dog, Dude, loved it too! (We don't know his real name but that's what we called him, it suited him - a Chocolate Labrador). We didn't give him any red wine though.
We found the Bond Store the best for buying wine and I really enjoyed the Ti Point Syrah - a beautiful NZ red from Hawkes Bay - shame we can't buy it here in Australia - just another reason to go back to Raro.
Unfortunately, our two weeks came to an end all too soon. We had to clear our cupboards, fridge, etc so instead of throwing out all the food, we packed it up and took it down to the staff at Island Bike and Car Hire at Muri to thank them for being so helpful and friendly.
Until next time ...