I was just wondering where the best snorkeling was on the island? I came across a topic about pollution in Muri Beach and that is where I will be staying--please advise?
The best snorkelling locations are within the marine reserves. These include Tikioki in the SE, near Muri; Aroa in the SW alongside the Rarotongan; Nikao - Black Rock in the NE, and alongside the Edgewater Resort in the west.
Snorkelling conditions are weather dependent. While the lagoon may be churned up in the SE (prevailing wind), conditions are often more favourable in the SW and sheltered NW. Be prepared to move from one site to another. However, all the lagoon cruises head to the outer edge (reefside) of Tikioki marine reserve due to the deeper water in this location.
Muri has never been good for snorkelling. The lagoon area is depleted of coral for fish habitats anyway, and there is much activity on the water from boats, kayaks, windsurfers, swimmers.
Thanks again--you have such great responses :) Can we walk to any of these other destinations?Edited: 29 November 2017, 07:55
Micht123, snorkelling is super easy on Rarotonga. If you don't have wheels just tell the bus driver where you want to be dropped off. You never have to walk more than 100 yards from the road to a snorkelling spot. Make sure to stay away from the passes unless you are very very confident. They are the best spots but currents can be crazy - you'll get sucked out in to the ocean and have to come back over the reef, if there's any swell you'll be visiting the hospital, if you're lucky. People drown at the passes with monotonous regularity. The Rarotongan is the pick for easy snorkelling with lots of coral and fish - go in off the sandbar just west of the restaurant and you'll swim out to the reef and west until you come back to the beach, about 20 minutes to do a circuit with the current behind you. Very safe spot. Fruits of Rarotonga is incredible - go in about 100 yards west of the bus stop, the reef is perpendicular to the beach so paddle out over it. But current can be an issue at Fruits. Black Rock is good on a high tide. Trader Jacks is incredible on a low tide before the swell comes over the reef and creates current. Muri is actually fairly interesting on the south side of Taakoka. There are some decent areas around Charlies too. Bring the best mask you can afford and don't forget the defogger!
Walking from Muri to Tikioki will take from 20 - 35 minutes. Quicker when the tide is low so you can walk along the beachfront. There is a stream midway along the beach, just south of The Nautilus resort. After heavy rain, a lot of water is washed down the stream mouth which may prevent access. Just come up onto the road immediately north of the stream and walk along the roadside then back onto the beach if an empty section allows access.
Otherwise the clockwise bus service will get you there in less than 5 minutes. Entry to Tikioki beach is either opposite Chantel's Concierge services, or just past the Enua Manea hall on the beachside before you reach Charlie's Cafe. Pickup an island map at your accommodation, at the airport or any of the small shops with a brochures stand. Maps and brochures are free.
The other marine reserve locations are too far to walk to. Hop on a bus to get there.
Thank you--lots of great info!