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Cook Islands Travel Guide

Palm Grove Lodges
Palm Grove Lodges is a good medium-priced choice on the south coast of Rarotonga.

Rarotonga Accommodations

US$100-150

If your flight is delayed, Air New Zealand may accommodate you at the Edgewater Resort Hotel, a tight cluster of two/three-story blocks and service buildings facing a mediocre beach. This is Raro's largest hotel, with 208 smallish air-conditioned rooms with the less expensive ones in the most unfavorable locations. No cooking facilities are provided but many restaurants are nearby (avoid the hotel restaurant, which has received mixed reviews). Traditional dancing is presented at the Edgewater twice a week. Frankly, this hotel is overpriced unless you're on a "cheap" package tour.

Seashells Deluxe Serviced Apartments, adjacent to the Manuia Beach Hotel in Arorangi, offers four two-bedroom apartments in a long block just back from the beach (children under 12 free). Full cooking facilities are provided.

Sunhaven Beach Bungalows, between Castaway Beach Villas and Puaikura Reef Lodges, offers nine self-catering rooms. Eight are right on the beach and one is in the tropical garden. There's a large freshwater swimming pool with guest barbecue. Children under 15 are not accepted. The onsite Brunch Cottage Café serves breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

Aro'a Beachside Inn, on a lovely beach at Arorangi, has eight two-story beachside units and one block of three garden rooms. The beach barbecue at 1800 is three times a week. Airport transfers are expensive.

Lagoon Lodges, on spacious grounds near the Rarotongan Beach Resort, has 21 thatched self-catering bungalows and villas of varying descriptions. There are a swimming pool, terrace café, and Sunday night barbecue for in-house guests only. It's a good choice for families with small children, though it's not right on the beach.

Palm Grove Lodges, on the south side of the island, has 16 self-catering units. Breakfast is included. In the new beachfront units, you don't need to cross the road to swim.

The Muri Beach Resort, formerly known as Shangri-La, is wedged up from the beach south of the Muri Beachcomber Motel. It's behind the gas station at the south end of Muri Beach and is quiet because it's back from the road. There are 14 individual units and six duplex units. Almost everyone books the "early bird/self-servicing special" rate available through the website as it's one of the best deals on the island. There's a large pool, a restaurant, and kayaks and snorkeling gear are lent free. The finest snorkeling here is between the south end of Muri Beach and Ta'akoka Islet. The big fish come in over the reef at high tide and get trapped in the lagoon there.

Also near the south end of Muri Beach is the Muri Beachcomber with 16 self-catering "seaview" units in eight duplex blocks. Children under 12 are accepted only in two larger air-conditioned garden units facing the pool. Three "watergarden" units are back near the road. Snorkeling gear is loaned free.

Muri Beach Hideaway, between Aremango Guesthouse and Vara's Budget Accommodation, is one of the best designed small resorts on the island. Each of the five clean thatched units, three front units and two in back, has cooking facilities. A small swimming pool is provided.

Manea Beach, between the Flame Tree Restaurant and Sokala Villas on Muri Beach, has three one-bedroom units, one two-bedroom unit, and three three-bedroom villas. The price varies slightly depending on proximity to the beach. Each air-conditioned unit has cooking, fridge, and terrace. Opened in 2001, this place has a beachside swimming pool and free kayaks.

Kura's Kabanas, beside Sokala Villas on the Muri Lagoon, has four comfortable, self-catering units with large terraces facing the lagoon. Laundry facilities are charged per load. Airport transfers are extra.

Avana Marina Condominiums, on a rocky shore facing the north side of Ngatangiia Bay, has five two/three-bedroom townhouses. These two-story self-catering units accommodate up to five people. Also available are four studios with microwaves. The minimum stay is one week. There's a swimming pool and free rowboats and kayaks are provided to reach nearby secluded beaches.

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