Aroa Beach in Rarotonga, Cook Islands (Rarontongan Beach Resort & Spa)

Poolside at Rarontongan Beach Resort & Spa, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (Rarontongan Beach Resort & Spa)

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What to do in Rarotonga

You might think there’s little else to do on Rarotonga but loll on the beach. But if you want a true taste of life on this main Cook Island, convene with islanders and tourists for a progressive feast that takes place each Monday and Thursday and highlights the best cuisine the South Pacific nation has to offer. Appetizers—many freshly plucked from the Pacific—are doled out in a modest home surrounded by tropical fruit trees, including coconut, banana, guava, and papaya. Often, the host gives the history of each and chops them down with a machete to sample. The main course (meats, seafood, and wine) is served at a house perched on a dramatic bluff overlooking the ocean and is hosted by a large Polynesian family, the head of whom runs a black-pearl farm up north. Then, it’s on to the final home for dessert and coffee on a wraparound porch.

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