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“Nasty animals galore and felt unclean”

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Rarotonga Backpackers
Wellington, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Nasty animals galore and felt unclean”
Reviewed 14 July 2011

Stayed here with seven others, four of us decided to take the budget option and stay in the dorms, while the other four decided to stay in the beach front studio. Our room was ok, there were holes everywhere and felt like bugs could come in, sure enough on our first night the largest crab i had seen while there for a week managed to make its way into our room and wake us up. The second night we ended up having a local paper wasp, cockroaches and a cat come into our room. The wasp has shot in where the insect nets weren't attached, and the cockroaches had managed to come thru gaps behind the toilet/shower/hand washing area. This was unpleasant and did not help us to sleep. Then while we were lying there with the lights on (not wanting to turn them off as wanted to see all intruders to our room) a black thing shot out from under the curtain onto the floor under the beds. After deciding to 'man up' and look, it was the backpackers local stray flea bag (cat). The next day we had asked them to please move us to another room as we couldn't handle the animals (one person is allergic to cats, and another to wasp stings). We then got moved into another room, more in the main bit of the building, to find out the flea bag had urinated in here. We then spend the last three nights (and three bottles of perfume to get rid of the smell) in this room. No bugs or intruders were found here, but we were still very wary of the holes/gaps in the room.
Our friends stayed in the beach house thing at the front, this is definitely the place to stay if you are going to stay here. They had air conditioning, it was up on stilts making it tricky for unwanted animals to come in (although they also had a cockroach and ant infestation) but this place was a lot better to stay in then in the beach side dorms. Worth the up grade!!
Overall, I found Raro fantastic in the day, the night time really ruined it for me. But the back packers advertise activities that you can do at night that will keep you from going back to the room, or at least going back to the room drunk so you don't mind it.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank rhrep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Japanese first
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English first
New Zealand
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 June 2011

I highly recommend Raro Backpackers, I stayed in a single room for 1 week in the Beachouse (had a double bed but not much floor space, not a problem though as I didnt spend too much time in it) for NZ$40 a night. Free airport pickup then $10 for airport bus when leaving. Most flights are in the nightime, if you want in your room straightaway you have to pay for the night before. They give you the key then you check in when the office is open in the morning.
Common areas good, plenty of kitchen equipment, common area/bathrooms cleaned well daily. Rooms/dorms not cleaned. Gas powered hot water all the time (unusual for an island backpackers) so good hot showers daily.
Large beach, most of the beach around raro is quite narrow but the one in front of the backpackers extends back to the accomodation so there's plenty of space. Previous reviews have said it was not a swimming beach- the is tide/weather dependant. It was plenty deep enough for swimming for my first 4 days then very shallow for the last 3. The pools are good to cool down in but the sunloungers are not comfortable. The hammocks by the beach are divine. Ants only came into my room if I had food in there but there's plenty of space to store your food in lockers in the kitchen so not a problem. Location is good, small shop 5 mins walk away, can walk to the Rarotongan beach in 30 mins (On the road, 1 hour by beach) where there is good snorkelling. Most people get scooters or bikes and there is an hourly bus that goes all the way round the island.
The main plus for me was the people I met there, most people were solo travellers so everyone was really friendly and we were always busy, I've made friends to last a lifetime.
Highly recommend the market in town on the saturday morning.
Take plenty of mozzie repellant and take your own food ie rice/noodles etc to keep costs down. (no fresh fruit/veg). Tap water is filtered and drinkable but I always bought bottled water.
We went to a backpackers crazy golf tournament and met some people from Backpackers International, they are set further inland and the beach they have to walk to (3 minutes) is narrow. Shops and internet cafe near them. many report it as very basic and somewhat unclean. Both hostels advertise that they organise events every night but this doesn't appear to be true.
Not heard much about Vara's apart from that it is huge and therefore may not be as cosy and friendly?
The Hillside location was a 10 minute walk from the Beachside. It had a bigger common area and pool table but there were more bugs as it was in the forest.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank vettyv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2011

A friend and I stayed here as we had come over to the cooks for a wedding, everyone else booked into a resort, but we didnt want to!
Our pick up was great, we were taken straight to our room, and slept, excited about what the view would be like in the day light!
We had the beach front rooms, own kitchen and bathroom. It was more than we had expected and absolutely loved it. The beach was fine for a shallow cool off or snorkel, I didn't go in the pool so cant comment, but it looked tidy and clean.
Our sheets and towels were not changed in 7 days, but we found clean towels up by the office and just helped ourselves (it is a backpackers after all).
The sunsets were STUNNING! We sat on our deck every night and just relaxed with our duty free, a few guests ended up checking out of their fancy resort and coming down to us as the area was brilliant, and most nights we were joined on our deck for drinks at the resorts just didn't cut it for sunset drinks.
Rooms were tidy and clean, a bit noisy as the walls are thin and there are a few people around at night, but nothing too annoying. Wouldn't recommend as a family holiday.
There are some dogs about that seem to be annoying, but they are friendly enough, just ignore them and they will go away.
No problems with mossies, the nets were great, they also burnt the coconut tree rubbish as this keeps them away! And we took our own plug ins.
DO BEWARE about thieves though, we had locals on our deck after we had gone to bed, nothing serious, but they were opportunistic, we lost a pack of ciggies and lighter on our first night. We knew they were coming back as we could see the foot prints, but left nothing outside again so were fine. Also had no problems with our gear inside as we locked up when we left and didn't sleep with any doors unlocked (personally, I dont think we were in any danger, they were just getting what they could easily)
All in all a great place.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank happyg0lucky42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
47 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 May 2011

I enjoyed my stay at the Rarotonga Backpackers (beachside). I stayed there for 5 days and booked a beach hut. The hostel was clean (even though there were a lot of ants in the common room) and the beach hut was great. It was right on the beach and had its own bathroom. The common rooms were cleaned every day and it was a good hostel to meet people. The girl at the reception was very helpful too.

The only thing that could have been improved was that my room didn't get cleaned for 5 days. Sheets and stuff is not necessary, but especially since it is right on the beach they could have swiped the floor and cleaned the bathroom. Also, the internet was very expensive and was sold by the mb.

There is one other thing I want to warn solo (female) travellers for. If you choose the hillside accomodation it is around a 15 minute walk from the beachside. No problem. However, when it is dark (which is after 6pm) the bus only takes you to the main road. That means you have to walk for around 10/15 minutes on a pitchdark street (you will definitely need a flashlight) without houses, only bushes and abandoned car wrecks. I have been up there and eventhough it is a small island, the walk really freaked me out so I was glad I was not staying there.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Stephaniedev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wellington, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 April 2011

I stayed here for three nights before my friends arrived on the Island. I had my own very basic single room with a fan and a bed and it was right by the living area and kitchen so could be noisy. The main bonus was the people were really friendly and it was right by the beach which you could walk along and easily have to yourself. I found the area quite chilled and the bungalows on the beach also looked lovely. There is also a discount if you stay at the backpackers for diving with Rarotonga Divers which is much cheaper then the online discount and they are a good operation to dive with. Wireless internet is also fast here

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank divediva79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yutz
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2011

We first booked the garden bungalow but ended moving to one of the beach hut after just one night. Nothing wrong with the garden bungalow mind you, but the beach, where the beach bungalows were, is really nice, and worth staying there just for the hammocks and the sunsets.
Friendly staff, kinda basic but comfortable enough...and again, nice beach!

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CaroVo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 October 2010

Great hostel, ariving from LA without accomodation we decided to look for a hostel/hotel after ariving. Rain pooring from the sky upon arrival limited our options to hostels having pickup. We listened to their offer en gambled on Rarotonga backpacker booking 1 night, staying 5. The hostel has 2locations both with pool. 1 on the beach 1 in the hill 10min walking apart. While the beach one is slightly more expensive, busier and smaller it is the popular 1. For no other reason then being perfect for lazy people being afraid of a 5 min walk to the beach (for which other beaches are better anyways. The hostel in the hill is the better one, big living amazing view! Rooms are nice but small 44nzd for a double. Staff cleans everyday and is very friendly. Free bananas are a nice courtesy. Make sure to visit the island migration 12 nzd with taxi. Nothing like the tourist trap I expected it to be.

Freek en Irena

The Netherlands

  • Stayed October 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank FreekTeije
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rarotonga Backpackers

Property: Rarotonga Backpackers
Address: PO Box 3103, Arorangi, Cook Islands
Region: Cook Islands > Southern Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Arorangi
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Arorangi
Number of rooms: 63
Also Known As:
Rarotonga Backpackers Hotel Arorangi
Rarotonga Backpackers Cook Islands

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