Rarotonga, Cook Island

Takitumu Conservation Area
Muri Lagoon

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Rare Birds, Markets and Beaches

Even today, just as centuries ago, when you get to Avatiu Harbor, you are welcomed by the people of Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands, giving you flower necklaces.

As you disembark from your MSC cruise ship, Rarotonga looks like a mountainous island surrounded by a single road, the Ara Tapu, which runs along the coastline, crossing the many streams that come down from the mountains. This road runs upstream, while the other, the Ara Metua is much older and dates back to a thousand years ago. 
On your MSC World Cruise, you will discover what it is like to live in Avarua, the peaceful capital of the Cook Islands, strolling through its open market, the Punanga Nui, and exploring this nation’s ministerial buildings or visiting the CICC Church (Cook Islands Christian Church) that dates back to 1842. 
If you go on one of the MSC Cruises, you will also be able to explore the heart of the island accompanied by a local traditional healer or visit the Takitumu Conservation Area on the opposite side of the island. This reserve preserves a section of tropical rainforest that protects a rare indigenous bird, the kakerori or Rarotonga Monarch, threatened by the introduction of such predators as the cat. If you continue a further 8 km away from the reserve, you will find the dock at Ngatangiia Harbor where the Polynesian boats that colonized New Zealand in the middle of the 14th century launched from. Behind this harbor is found Muri Lagoon, a rare treasure protected by four islands covered in forests and filled with colorful tropical fish and intricate coral reefs. And if, after spending so much time at sea, you want to do some flying, the most daring visitors can take the opportunity to fly over Rarotonga island for about twenty minutes aboard a single-engine Cessna. An unforgettable guided aerial tour.

Must see places in Rarotonga

Discover our excursions

    Cook Island

    On the Coral Route
    On the Coral Route

    The Cook Islands, made up of fifteen islands with strong ties to New Zealand, have been a tourist destination since the 1950s.

    The result of the irrepressible force of ancient volcanoes, they mostly consist of paradisiacal coral atolls that protect tranquil lagoons. Some of the islands are so small, such as Takutea or Suwarrow, which they can only be protected nature reserves, uninhabited or almost; others are large enough to accommodate thousands of people, although many emigrated to New Zealand during the Twentieth century.
    The MSC World Cruise stops at Rarotonga, the largest and most populated island, home to the capital of the Cook Islands: Avarua. 

    Aitutaki is one of the dream islands where hundreds of newlyweds decide to spend their honeymoons, or even marry there. Palm trees, turquoise water and white sand: the Cook Islands are the stuff that dreams are made of. Although known and colonised by people coming from Asia hundreds of years before the arrival of European navigators, these islands are named after the British Explorer James Cook, who visited them aboard two sailing ships during the 18th century.