Watersports in the Cook Islands
Snorkelling in the Cook Islands
The best snorkelling lagoon on Rarotonga is along the south coast, particularly off the Fruits of Rarotonga just outside Takitumu Village where you can spot giant clams and lots of colourful reef fish. Muri Beach is good for beginners with its shallow sandy bottom lagoon. Most resorts offer complimentary snorkelling gear. If not, head to Muri Beach where you can hire gear.
The best snorkelling reef on the main island of Aitutaki is around the marine reserve located on the north west close to the airport runway. The best snorkelling in the Cook Islands is on one of the lagoon cruises which stop in the heart of the lagoon at either beautiful coral gardens or to marvel at giant clams. You may even spot a manta ray or reef shark if you're lucky.
Kayaking & Sailing in the Cook Islands
Muri Lagoon is a favourite for kayaking with a protected lagoon and four uninhabited islets to visit within the lagoon. You can also rent small sail boats at Muri Beach or, when the winds pick up in the afternoon, go kite surfing in the shallow lagoon.
On Aitutaki, Ootu Point is great for kayaking with a curved bay for exploring the coast and sand bars to visit in the shallow sections of the lagoon.
Scuba Diving in the Cook Islands
Scuba diving in the Cook islands is good but limited for experienced divers. Rarotonga has some good reefs all close to shore and because the island is so small but relatively high thus protecting it from winds, scuba diving venues change depending on the wind direction. There are five dive operators on island all offering daily pick-ups from around the island so it doesn't matter which resort you are staying at.
Game Fishing in the Cook Islands
Game fishing is excellent in the deep sea surrounding Rarotonga. There are only two main passages and harbours from which game fishing boats can access the deep sea, one in Avarua Town (there are actually two harbours in Avarua) and one at Avatiu at the northern end of Muri Beach. For this reason, no resort has its own game fishing charters but instead, game fishing charters are run by independent tour companies with pick-ups from all properties around Rarotonga. A similar scenario is on Aitutaki, where independent charter companies run the game fishing tours and hence there are no dedicated game fishing resorts.
Fishing directly off the reef is possible but brings about its own risks and is advised for experienced fishermen only. The best place for this is on the west coast of Rarotonga.
Bone fishing is very good in the lagoon of Aitutaki with Ootu Point being the best place for this - you'll need to bring your own gear as there are no tackle shops on the island.
Surfing in the Cook Islands
There isn't much surfing in the Cook Islands - unlike its South Pacific neighbours of Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa and Tonga where you'll find world class reef breaks. On Rarotonga there are four passage breaks with reasonable but unreliable surfing. The most consistent of these is at Avana, the northern passage of Muri Lagoon and there's also a good break for boogie boarding. Other popular spots are Rutaki Passage close to the Rarotongan Beach Resort and opposite The Edgewater Resort on the west coast. There are no surf tours available or places you can rent a surf board so you'll have to buy your own. The other option is to buy a second hand board from Nikki's Surf Shop in Avarua Town, although these are not always in stock.