Glorious and lush tropical landscapes and magnificent ocean views keep visitors to Muri beaches entranced and engaged. Situated on the eastern side of gorgeous Rarotonga, the village of Muri borders the renowned Muri Lagoon. The lagoon’s sheltering and shallow water is a perfectly clear turquoise, a fun-filled playground for fish and visitors alike. Across the appealing lagoon rests four blissful islets, home to even more delightful sealife and water sports. With plenty of Polynesian warmth and South Pacific scenery, Muri beaches are some of the most treasured in the world. From the northern points of Muri to the south, here are our picks for 10 incredible Muri beaches.
Just south of Avana Harbor lies the northernmost coral islet in Muri Lagoon, Motutapu. A popular surf spot and the largest of Muri Lagoon’s motus, the islet features powerful waves at high tide and tricky coral reefs. Enveloped by the lagoon to its west and the South Pacific to its east, the islet’s intimate western beaches are great for lazing about and soaking in the beauty of Rarotonga’s impressive mountains. The motu’s eastern side showcases its best beaches, perfect for enjoying the visual appeal of surfers and towering waves. The coral islet also offers a bit of history as the first site of Polynesian settlement in the southern Cook Islands in 900 A.D.
Avana and Aroko
While Muri Lagoon offers iconic tropical beaches filled with water sports and sunbathing, its northern low-lying sand flats present captivating tidal estuaries and saltwater marshes. Here, the beaches are for the fascinating fiddler crabs, Pacific heron and other wildlife. Visitors to the estuary and marsh enjoy fishing with locals and reveling in the spectacular and unexpected scenery.
Muri’s northern section provide the island’s quietest, most serene beaches. Sunbathers here marvel at the breathtaking views of Motutapu and Motu Oneroa while luxuriating in balmy weather and the hushed rustling of palm trees. Several of the island’s coziest resorts are located on north Muri Lagoon, many offering beachside accommodations and complimentary kayaks for their guests.
Although wading and swimming out to Motu Oneroa isn’t recommended because of the strength of the current, visitors enjoy the tropical paradise of Oneroa via outrigger canoe or kayak. The beauty of the coral islet is featured in the short film Islands and is favored for its serene setting and excellent snorkeling among vividly colored starfish and spiny coral.
At the heart of Muri, central beaches enjoy a widened lagoon area and highlight the island’s abundant appeal. Several resorts stretch along the beaches, perfect spots for grabbing a quick lunch, shopping for local treasures and enjoying a romantic, elegant dinner with awe-inspiring views. Several local shops, the Sailing Club and watercraft tour operators offer boat tours, snorkel cruises, windsurfing tours, kayak rentals and surfing supplies. Although Muri beaches are rarely considered crowded, if you want to add a little people-watching and shopping to your beach activities, the central beaches are the place to be.
Motu Koromiri – West
Swaying palm trees and long stretches of quiet beaches encircle the coral islet of Koromiri. Across the alluring Muri Lagoon from Rarotonga, visitors can swim, boat or kayak to the tranquil motu. At certain low tides, visitors can even walk to the quiet islet. The lagoon side of the islet is ideal for reveling in the brilliant views of Rarotonga’s mountains, relaxing on warm beaches, indulging in a picnic and lounging in shallow lagoon water. An ideal wedding spot, Koromiri welcomes an occasional bride floating across the lagoon in a tribal vaka with a traditional shell horn.
Motu Koromiri – East
Snorkeling on Koromiri is best on the ocean side of the small motu, where parrotfish and yellow tangs swim by the hundreds. Refreshing and picturesque, this side of the islet entices visitors to relish the cooling, prevailing winds and dramatic views of the South Pacific Ocean.
Presenting dazzling views of Koromiri and Taakoka islets, Muri’s south beaches are a world apart. The consummate blend of tropical serenity and welcome amenities, Muri’s southern stretch of beach invites visitors to enjoy golden beaches, world-class snorkeling, luxurious spas and fine dining. Offering some of the island’s best snorkeling, the southern lagoon shimmers with pristine water, ample small rocks to shelter scores of fish and abundant coral.
Peaceful and lush, the volcanic motu of Taakoka is a tropical delight. The southernmost islet in Muri Lagoon, the island paradise lures visitors to snorkel around its beaches or enjoy a quiet kayak trek along the shore. A bit further from the other Muri Lagoon islets, but still close to Rarotonga’s shoreline, Taakoka is just a quick swim or snorkel from the main island, with plenty of sea cucumbers, fish and sea coral to see along the way.
Keep heading south to Tikioki for even more incredible snorkeling. Here, the coral is more vertically situated with plenty of sandy areas in between and the water is slightly deeper, creating ideal conditions for swimming and more world-class snorkeling. Several luxury resorts and spas are at home on Tikioki Beach, making it a pleasure destination for travelers looking for upscale relaxation and service. Although technically south of Muri, Tikioki Beach is just a few minutes from Muri Lagoon and well worth the effort.
With all of the abundant activities, luscious scenery, picturesque motus and iconic tropical lagoons on Rarotonga’s eastern shore, it’s easy to see why Muri beaches are a favorite destination for travelers seeking a lush retreat from busy lives.
Sophie Fande is a freelance writer who has been contributing to the Pacificresort team for a number of years. Her wealth of experience within the holiday sector allows her to give an excellent insight into the 10 Unbelievable Muri Beaches.