Our Rarotonga accommodation + the best beach pants

Madewell striped pants casual outfit with white tee — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Gardens at Muri Beachcomber, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Standing under a palm tree on Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Tropical foliage on Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Striped beach pants casual outfit with white tee and gold sandals — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

I did a lot of research prior to us leaving on our trip to the Cook Islands. When it came to deciding on an accommodation, I specifically wanted to stay in an area of the island that had a lot of things to do and places to eat within walking distance. I didn’t want to rent a car or scooter (scooters are a popular form of transportation on the islands and requires a motorcycle license or a special Cook Islands scooter license that tourists can get), as there was a bus on the island we could take if needed. I also primarily considered properties that had rooms right on the ocean and that provided some sort of breakfast and transfers from and to the airport. I didn’t really consider large resorts in my search since most were out of the budget.

We ended up spending our week at the Muri Beachcomber, which is located on Muri Beach in the southeast corner of the island (read reviews on TripAdvisor). It’s a popular destination thanks to the many places to stay and abundance of activities that are family-friendly. There’s a wide, shallow lagoon to swim and snorkel in and four motu (islands) to explore. We saw and heard big waves crashing on the reef! The trade winds come from the southeast so it’s breezy but not unbearably so.

We selected a seaview room and got a room closest to the ocean, so we had a view of the lagoon and distant waves. The room was more like a little apartment; we had a small living space, dining space, and kitchenette with two burners, a small fridge, and a microwave. It came stocked with supplies if you wanted to cook at “home”, and there was a grill out front to use and a small patio with a table and chairs. The bedroom was a separate room and included a king-sized bed and nice wardrobe for hanging our clothes (well, my clothes, haha). And of course, the bathroom was spacious and had a lovely rainhead shower! I had never used one before. The water on the property is filtered and UV sterilized and totally safe to drink; we had no problems with it!

Palm trees at Muri Beachcomber, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
White tee casual outfit for Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Garden at Muri Beachcomber, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Madewell cotton-linen pants casual outfit with gold sandals — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Wild Rarotonga chicken, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

Our rate included daily breakfast packs (bread, jams, cereal, milk, juice) to get us started and free transfers from and to the airport. We also got to use bikes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and snorkeling equipment (masks, snorkels, fins) as we pleased. They also had water shoes with hard soles if you didn’t want to bring a pair. There’s a small pool on the property that the kiddos loved to swim in, and laundry is available onsite (NZ $3 each for the washer and dryer). The ladies at the front desk were so helpful, and they wrote out the daily weather, tides, sunrise/sunset times, and things to do on a white board for guests to reference. There’s a bus stop right outside the property.

We loved walking this path by the water every day on our way out and about! The grounds are so lush and well-maintained with lots of tropical foliage everywhere (and lots of animals—chickens, roosters, stray dogs, and their 12-year-old sassy tabby cat named Estelle). I shared a couple of videos on Instagram stories with sound so you can get the full effect. ;)

For the trip, I packed a few tops to mix and match with one pair of shorts and this pair of pants. I purchased these a couple of weeks before my trip and knew they would be perfect! The cotton-linen blend is so airy and comfortable. I wore these pants every night when it cooled down in the evening, paired with my lightweight hoodie or cotton-linen sweater. They lived through a tomato sauce spill from the night market on day one and countless rain showers and still looked…well, decent enough. ;) Ha!


OUTFIT DETAILS

Grana tee / old; similar by Banana Republic
Madewell pants / exact (on sale!)
Sandelles sandals / similar by Banana Republic
ABLE earrings / exact
Le Specs sunglasses / exact style
Dior Lip Glow in pink / exact

Kia Orana

White caftan on Muri Beach, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Taakoka Motu, Muri, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Rarotonga dog on Muri Beach, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

Hello, hello! Korri and I are back from our week-long trip to the Cook Islands to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was the first time south of the equator for both of us, and it felt extra special to spend time together exploring a new country. We are already planning on going back! The internet on the islands is very limited and expensive, so I went without it (save for the 30 free minutes and spotty connection we got at the airport)—and I must say, it was liberating to be free from social media and email for a week.

We stayed on Rarotonga, the main island; it has the most infrastructure and highest population (around 12,000 people). Our accommodation was on the southeast side of the island along Muri Beach, a popular destination thanks to its beautiful, wide, and shallow lagoon and four motu (small islands within the lagoon) dotting the horizon. We walked up and down the beach early one morning and only saw a handful of people and as many dogs. One of the dogs followed us down the beach and was interested in being a part of the photoshoot without any encouragement from us! The Raro dogs are so cheeky.

Raro dog on Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Taakoka in Muri Lagoon, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Summersalt Causeway one-piece swimsuit — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Coconut palm tree on Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

Our trip got off to a rainy start; it rained most of the day on the first day we were there, and there were scattered light showers throughout the rest of the week. We enjoyed the few sunny moments we got, though we quickly realized that we were much more comfortable when the sun was hiding behind the clouds. It felt hot without them! You probably noticed that my chest got burnt…and I think it happened on this morning just before we took photos, ha. This was one of the couple of sunny mornings we had.

This caftan was my favorite thing to wear on the beach! The fabric is luxe and the perfect weight to shield the sun and also provide a little warmth when the trade winds really pick up. It’s a little long on me so the back hem got a little dirty from the wet sand/my feet. I absolutely love this caftan and am so glad I splurged on it. It gives me all the beach feels, and it’ll come along with me on every future beach trip. This was my first time wearing my Summersalt one-piece suit; I didn’t swim in it but it was still comfortable to wear for a quick splash in the lagoon.

9seed Tangier beach caftan on Muri Beach — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Koromiri Motu, Muri, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
White Summersalt swimsuit + floppy straw sun hat — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Muri Lagoon, Rarotonga, Cook Islands — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

I was surprised by how chilly the water felt. I’ve been to Hawaii and to the Florida Keys, and the water is way warmer in those locations (even though Hawaii is at a similar latitude away from the equator to the north). This was primarily why I didn’t do any swimming or snorkeling in the lagoon! I’m sure it would have been fine once I was in the water but that’s the hardest part—getting in the water!

The Cook Islanders are some of the nicest people I’ve met! Seriously. They love to share their culture and their beautiful island home. The majority of the Cook Islanders know English in addition to Cook Islands Maori, but we did learn a couple of Maori phrases. Meitaki means good (as a response to “How are you?”), and it also means thank you. Kia Orana is their general greeting, and it translates to “may you live a long and fulfilling life.” In New Zealand Maori, a very similar greeting is Kia Ora (“be well”).

More to come on our trip! :)


OUTFIT DETAILS

9seed caftan / exact (also available from Shopbop)
Summersalt swimsuit / exact
Old Navy hat / exact
Le Specs sunglasses / exact style
Dior Lip Glow in pink / exact

Sea you later / out of office

Florida Keys foliage at sunset — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

For the first time since I started blogging six years ago, I’m taking a break from posting…but it’s only going to be for a week while I’m ringing in my 30th birthday with Korri on a beach in the Cook Islands. Woohoo! Internet is expensive and slow on the islands, so I’ve decided to leave my laptop at home and take a proper break from the online world/social media. I’m planning to be back in this space on the 30th with the first post about my trip!

I’ve been feeling a little apprehensive about entering a new decade, so I decided back in the spring that I wanted to go somewhere for my birthday. Hawaii was my original plan until I got an email from Scott’s Cheap Flights (sign up for those if you haven’t already!) with inexpensive flights to the Cook Islands. I didn’t know where the islands were, but after doing a little Googling I decided I needed to see them in person! Plus, I’ll get to cross a new country off—and since neither Korri or I have been there, it’ll be a new experience for both of us.

I’m finishing up packing and tidying/cleaning the house before we jet off, but I put together a widget with some of the items I plan to bring along with me. I have a vague idea of what to expect weather-wise, and it does seem like we’ll get a little bit of everything (sun, rain, wind, etc.). Fingers crossed for lots of sunshine and warmth! And maybe a sweet tropical thunderstorm. ;)

See you in 10 days! (I’ll probably start posting on Instagram as soon as we’re back in the U.S.)