After a 2.5 hour flight from Papeete, we finally arrived on a Pacific island that met our expectations of the paradisiacal “South Seas”. Rarotonga, the main island, is mountainous with bizarre formations, full of lush vegetation, zillions of coconut trees and an equal amount of brightly red-flowered flame trees.
Everywhere on the island, you can hear the thunder of the sea and almost everywhere see the big surf breaking on the outlying reef. The beaches of white sand lined with palm trees are often narrow but rather empty. Each time we go or drive around, we take in the tropical landscape, the lush vegetation, the view of the sea through palm trees and the quietness of this place!
There is no danger of getting lost in this paradise, since the very road circles the island: on our scooter we can do the 32 kilometer long loop in less than an hour. The very comfortable local bus is a convenient and pleasant way of touring the island. The drivers are super friendly, helpful to the inquiring tourist and there are always some local ladies with incredible flowery headdresses on the bus.
We settled at Vara’s Beachside Resort, a budget accommodation for about 30 Euros, a very reasonable price for this island. They have beachside rooms and nearby hillside bungalows with a brand new, fairly-sized pool and kitchen-use. One of the latter, we share with an easy going and very friendly British couple from Liverpool, Colin and Kerrie. They are also on a trip around the world, but our routes hardly touch, except here in the Pacific and parts of Southeast Asia.
They taught Gilles card games, since this is how they like to spend the quiet evenings here. Now at this point, you may wonder why we do not all immerse in exciting nightly island activities… Well, there are none! This is indeed one of the quietest places we have been to. The rainy season makes itself felt during the night, when we had a few violent downpours.
The rooms and the property are really nice, with pleasant common areas to relax or meet other guests. But there are a few small things that are rather bothering. We do not talk about the millions of rooster literally crowing at any times of the day and unfortunately also during most of the night: they are everywhere and people in five star resorts also got to hate them. To give a warm welcome is not what the staff at the reception is eager to do. It is hard to find truly service orientated businesses, the simply fact that every shop in the village, except the supermarket, closes at 04:00 pm explains it all.