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Polynesia - Rarotonga

Rarotonga is the most populous island of the Cook Islands, with a population of 14,153 (as of 2006), out of the country's total population of 19,569.

The island is surrounded by a lagoon, which often extends more than a hundred metres to the reef, then slopes steeply to deep water. The reef fronts the shore to the north of the island, making the lagoon there unsuitable for swimming and water sports, but to the south east, particularly around Muri, the lagoon is at its widest and deepest. This part of the island is the most popular with tourists for swimming, snorkelling and boating. Agricultural terraces, flats, and swamps surround the central mountain area.

Popular island activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, bike riding, horse back riding, hiking, deep-sea fishing, boat tours, scenic flights, restaurants, dancing, island shows, squash, tennis, zipping around on mopeds, and sleeping on the beach. There are many churches open for service on Sunday, and the beautiful a capella singing makes them a must. The pace of life is so relaxed that at night people congregate at the sea wall that skirts the end of the runway and watch the jets land.

The Cook Islands' Parliament buildings and international airport are on Rarotonga. Because it is the most populous island, Cook Islanders may often be referred to as Rarotongan, but they may come from one of the other 14 islands in the group, such as Aitutaki or Mangaia. Rarotonga is a very popular tourist destination with many resorts, hotels and motels.

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Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) is the international airport of the Cook Islands with Air Rarotonga operating inter-island flights: daily flights to Aitutaki, regular flights to Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke and Mitiaro, and occasional flights to the remote Northern Atolls of Manihiki, Tongareva (Penrhyn) and Pukapuka.

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  • 5 Budget-Friendly Things to Do on Rarotonga - Arriving in the South Pacific Island of Rarotonga feels like stepping into a screen saver. Palm trees dot along sandy white beaches while soft, transparent blue waves crawl up the shoreline...more

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