In the Cook Islands, the snorkeling off Rarotonga Island is very popular. Many visitors consider Rarotonga as a much lower cost version of Bora Bora. The boat-free Aroa Marine Reserve in Aroa Lagoon is considered to have world class snorkeling dives. You can expect to see plenty of parrotfish, moorish idols and angelfish.
Another good snorkeling dive site on Rarotonga is the southeast shore at Tikikaveka Beach. Alternately, you can check out the snorkeling at Tikioki Beach, just opposite of the Fruits Of Rarotonga shop on the southwest side, where you’ll encounter brightly colored reef fish among the diverse coral formations. While on-island, makes sure to try hiking the challenging Cross Island Walking Track for a real adventure.
To reach the Rarotonga Island snorkeling by air, fly into the Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) located on the northwest side of the Rarotonga Island. There are direct flights at least once a week from Sydney, Auckland, Tahiti (Air Tahiti) and Los Angeles. In addition, there are inter-island flights on Air Rarotonga to the main Cook Islands including Aitutaki. There is no separate depature tax since it is included in the international airline tickets. A fun and active base village is Avarua Town on the north shore.
Overall, Rarotonga Island is the 1st most popular snorkel dive spot of all 3 snorkeling dives in Cook Islands.