Aroa Marine Reserve

Marine Environment

Wherever you are at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa, you are mere steps away from the unspoiled waters of the Aroa Marine Reserve. This protected sanctuary is home to a healthy, diverse marine life, and is sheltered by the outlying reef. Swim, snorkel, sea kayak and explore the reserve at any time in complete safety, as boating and fishing are not allowed in the lagoon, and this particular area of the lagoon is less affected by tides. The Aroa Marine Reserve has been set aside for protection for future generations, and we ask that you experience it to its fullest, while respecting the beauty and uniqueness of one of nature's miracles. Back to top

Marine Life

Prepare to be amazed. Boasting some of the clearest, cleanest turquoise water in the world, the Aroa Marine Reserve is home to a rich, diverse array of marine life. Among the many sea creatures awaiting your discovery include parrot fish, Moorish idols, wrasse, angelfish, butterfly and more, all in shallow clear waters, protected by the outlying reef. The reserve's marine life thrives, as there are no boats nor any fishing allowed in this area of the lagoon. We like to think of our healthy local marine life as part of The Rarotongan's family, and hope that you spend time exploring and enjoying it to its fullest. Back to top


What better way to explore Aroa Marine Reserve's stunning marine life than by snorkeling. Grab some custom-fit snorkel gear and a snorkeling map from our Activities Centre, which is located just steps from the water's edge. Snorkeling in Aroa Marine Reserve reveals a true underwater wonderland. Amazingly clear visibility, a wide variety of marine life, and a healthy population of sea creatures in this clean, clear, warm water await your discovery. Relax and take your time snorkeling. Your patience will be rewarded, as new and different sea life come out to see you, just as you hope to discover them. Never been snorkeling? Try our Learn to Snorkel course, taught in the safe confines of our fresh water pool. Do you want to witness the best of our snorkeling? Join one of our Snorkeling Safaris. Snorkeling is rightfully one of our most popular activities, and is sure to be one of the highlights of your stay at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa. Back to top

Learn to Snorkel

Do you want to try snorkeling for the first time? Well, you are in for a treat, as you are about to be spoiled for life! Our trained and friendly activities team members will happily show you the ins and outs of snorkeling, all in the comfort and security of our fresh water pool. Soon you will be comfortable snorkeling on your own, as the lagoon certainly beckons. No need to worry about boats or jet skis, as motorized vessels are not allowed in Aroa Marine Reserve. Other than a few swimmers and kayakers, the only others with whom you share the waters are the amazing marine life. No fears about sharks in the lagoon either. All we ask is that you limit your experience to a visual one, and not touch any of the delicate marine life that makes this place so special. Back to top

Snorkeling Safaris

Do you want to learn more about the marine life in Aroa Marine Reserve? Try one of our Snorkeling Safaris, where an experienced snorkel guide takes you on a snorkel experience highlighting the best (and some of our hidden!) spots. Our guides have been snorkeling these waters all their lives, and they know the best spots to witness the finest marine life. As the waters are warm, calm and protected from the outlying reef, snorkeling is safe at all times of the day (and night! - check out our Night Snorkeling). Our Snorkeling Safaris are regular activities, so be sure to check our Daily Activities Board. Back to top

Night Snorkeling

Did you know that a completely different set of marine creatures comes out at night? Have you ever wanted to witness this firsthand? Grab a torch and join one of our experienced snorkel guides for our popular Night Snorkel. Your first step into the dark lagoon may be taken with a bit of apprehension, but once the torches are on, you will be surrounded by amazing sea life, who are as inquisitive about you as you are of them. Prepare to see a whole new set of sea creatures that only come out after sunset. A fun, unique, and educational experience for all. For those on shore or on the waterfront deck, the arcing torch lights from the snorkelers in the lagoon is a sight to behold. Simply a different world. Back to top


Aroa Marine Reserve has been in the making for millions of years. We are very proud of the cleanliness and amazing visibility found in Aroa Marine Reserve, and we are dedicated to maintaining its unique nature for future generations. This area is an important fish-breeding lagoon, and recognized throughout the island as a Raui - a no-fishing zone. As such, we ask that you respect the lagoon by not soiling it with trash, and by not touching sea life and corals while snorkeling and kayaking. Take only memories, leave only bubbles. Back to top

Snorkling map