Best time to visit Rarotonga & Cook Islands

Snorkelling and Diving in Rarotonga & Cook Islands

The rich underwater world of the Cook Islands opens its beauty for everyone. Warm and clear waters welcome visitors to enjoy the colours of the ocean floor

Best time: May–October

Snorkelling and Diving
Snorkelling and Diving
Snorkelling and Diving
Snorkelling and Diving

The crystal clear and warm shallow waters of the Cook Islands offer the best holidays and perfect snorkelling conditions. The amazing underwater world with beautiful coral reefs and hundreds of brightly coloured fish are waiting for you here. Snorkelling is a safe and exciting activity for people of all ages. The Aroa Marine reserve, on the west coast of Rarotonga, is one of the best places for snorkelling due to the outlying reef which protects its waters from the open ocean waves. It is a natural breeding ground for tropical reef fish. You can find parrot fish, Moorish idols, wrasse, angel fish, and lots of others. In the waters of Aroa marine reserve, you can easily spot large schools of trevally, butterfly fish, and sea bream.

Big blue triggerfish welcome divers in the deep waters of the Cook Islands. The excellent visibility opens an unforgettable underwater world outside the reef in Aitutaki. Caves, canyons, tunnels, coral gardens, drop-offs, and shipwrecks offer an excellent underwater adventure in the coast waters of Rarotonga. You can expect from 30 to 60 metres of perfect visibility with amazing colours for both diving and snorkelling. Really deep diving or night diving is an ideal part of the holiday for those looking for something more extreme. Although the water temperature ensures that diving and snorkelling can be performed year round, before planning your trip remember that islands experience cyclones during the rainy season from November to March. It is better to avoid these months to ensure perfect diving conditions on every day of your vacation.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit the Cook Islands for snorkelling and diving?

From May to October, the weather and water conditions in the Cook Islands make it an ideal time for snorkelling and diving. While diving and snorkelling can be enjoyed all year round due to the consistent water temperature, the rainy season from November to March brings cyclones, so it's best to avoid these months. Show more

Where is the Aroa Marine Reserve located, and what can be seen there?

Located on the western coast of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, the Aroa Marine Reserve provides excellent snorkelling opportunities. Protected by the outlying reef, the reserve harbors a variety of tropical reef fish like parrotfish, Moorish idols, and angel fish. Schools of butterfly fish, trevally, and sea bream are in abundance in this reserve. Show more

What types of fish and other marine life can be found while snorkelling in the Cook Islands?

The waters surrounding the Cook Islands are home to a diverse range of marine life. Snorkellers can enjoy the sight of tropical fish such as parrotfish, Moorish idols, wrasse, and angel fish, along with larger fish like trevally, butterfly fish, and sea bream. Additionally, turtles, octopus, and even small sharks can be spotted during a snorkelling adventure. Show more

How deep can divers go in the waters of the Cook Islands, and what types of diving are available?

Divers who explore the waters of the Cook Islands are in for a treat, with stunning visibility and diverse marine life, caves, canyons, tunnels, coral gardens, drop-offs, and shipwrecks. The depth of diving available varies according to skill level, with dives from 30 to 60 metres possible. The Cook Islands also offer night and deep-sea diving for those looking for more adventurous experiences. Show more

Are there any specific safety measures that tourists should be aware of before snorkelling or diving in the Cook Islands?

Snorkelling and diving in the Cook Islands require prior experience or professional guidance to ensure your safety. Check your equipment's condition, especially breathing gear, before entering the water, and avoid disrupting marine life or damaging the coral while snorkelling. Be wary of strong ocean currents, and don't swim during low tide as it can create dangerous situations. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin