Castaway Resort – Rarotonga

Stayed: February 2017, 5 Nights
Room: 2 Bedroom Deluxe Suite
Overall Rating: 8/10

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Although it’s not right on Muri Beach where all the more popular resorts are located, Castaway is a hidden little gem located on the western side of Rarotonga.
This resort is known for it’s helpful staff and friendly owners. Whatever you want to do or wherever you want to go, they’ll point you in the right direction with a smile on their face.

The resort is home to a decent sized pool, a bar located next to the water on beautiful white sand and a yummy little restaurant.
I’ll be honest, there is no spa and it’s not super glamorous in terms of beach bureaus located on top of glistening clear waters but it’s defiantly somewhere I would stay again if I just want a holiday to Rarotonga with my family or a nice little break away.

As there were four of us staying in Rarotonga, we where looking at either two rooms next to each other or a nice two bedroom place which we could all enjoy.
When I was booking my accommodation, I was e-mailing the owner of Castaway Resort, Michelle, and she suggested that we get one of their two bedroom suites for our stay.

I was pleasantly surprised with how big the suite was when we arrived!
Two big bedrooms right next door to each other with two bathrooms as well so we never had to share.
One bedroom was the ‘master bedroom’ and had an en-suite, small closet and a chest of drawers with a mirror.
The second bedroom was a bit smaller and had a queen bed along with a single bed (I’m assuming for families with kids) and their bathroom was just across the hall way.

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My boyfriend and I got the Master Bedroom while our friends shared the smaller one.
We all found them to be very comfortable, the only problem our friends had was they didn’t have an air-con unit in their room like we did so they had to leave their door open at night to cool down from the one in the lounge.

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As we’d never been to Rarotonga before, we found the staff to be very helpful in providing us with information and advice on things to do and places to eat. I feel weird even calling them ‘staff’ because the ladies in reception where the most chilled-out, friendly bunch that it just felt like you where staying with friends.

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As we went in the low-season, the resort was pretty quiet (as in we were sometimes the only people in the pool) so it was never over-crowded or very noisy.
The only noise we had was from the room next door to ours on the first night – a group of lads had flown in and drunk lots on their flight so where having a bit of a party. The owners had no problem sorting them out the next day however to ensure that everyone else at the resort had a pleasant and relaxed stay without being kept up all night.

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In the peak season from April – October, I can imagine the themed dinner nights that Castaway provides have lots of people attending. Every night they have something different for their meals, Monday night may be Pasta, Wednesdays may be Mexican and Sundays may be a BBQ night.
We attended the BBQ night on the beach and there was a really great turn-out from people at the resort and other holiday makers from the area (as you can eat at the restaurant even if you’re not a guest)
The food was a buffet of meats, salads and rolls along with some yummy ice-cream and banana cake for dessert after wards.
And if you get hungry during the day, the Beach Bar also have a range of little nibbles you can order such as spring rolls, calamari rings, chicken nuggets and french fries for an afternoon snack in the peak season.

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Pro’s

  • Decent sized rooms
  • Adults only
  • Lovely people who work there, always kind enough to book us activities or recommend things to do
  • Great price
  • Very clean
  • Free local phone calls from your room – great to book dinners etc.
  • BBQ’s available for personal use down near the pool so you can save money on eating out
  • If you don’t feel like the free continental breakfast – you can order pancakes, eggs or french toast off the menu for something a bit different
  • Always felt safe, eg; the rooms had a fire extinguisher, torch and a safe to put your valuables
  • Beach Bar
  • Private Beach
  • Amazing sunset right on the beach
  • Snorkeling gear available for free
  • Easy free parking across the road for guests
  • Themed dinner nights right on the beach
  • A Happy Hour
  • Bus stop literally right outside the resort
  • Bonfires on selected nights on the beach
  • Towels available for swimming
  • Large decks for the Deluxe Suites
  • Proper hair driers in the bathroom – not those small ‘hotel’ ones you always get
  • All rooms have a little kitchen with fridge, sink,  microwave etc…
  • Can book massages & nail services through Reception for an ‘in-room treatment’
  • Little Library at the reception where you can trade in your book for one of the ones available
  • Pool with sun-loungers
  • 10 minute drive from the airport

Con’s

  • No unlimited Wi-Fi (however you can buy a Bluesky SIM card for around $50 for more data)
  • The beach is swim-able but not the nicest in Rarotonga
  • Steps going up to the two bed-room suites. Not really a Con, but wouldn’t be suitable for wheelchairs
  • TV’s only have 1 channel
  • About a 20 minute drive to Muri Beach but if you have a car/scooter it’s not too big of a deal.
  • In the low-season, the bar/restaurant isn’t open until a bit later

If you’re planning on going to Rarotonga on a budget and want to stay somewhere friendly, clean and spacious I’d defiantly recommend Castaway Beach Villas.
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay here (even if it did rain like crazy for the last couple of days haha!)

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Rarotonga Day 2 (Feb 2017)

We made it in time for breakfast this morning!
It was the usual fruit, cereal and toast ( 2 pieces of Vegemite toast for me please) before the three of us went to the reception to inquire about activities in Rarotonga.

We liked the look of this Village tour and Water Dancing Dinner so booked that through the resort for Tuesday night before trying on some snorkeling gear the resort provided to take with us to Muri Beach.
It had rained the night before and it was still a little bit cloudy in the morning but that soon passed before the sun was out and shining at a lovely 27°

While Kerri and Glen where getting ready, Nathan quickly taught me how to ride the scooter as I’d never done so before. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be but I defiantly wouldn’t be prepared for the streets of Thailand.
I can go in a straight line and speed up all good but I’m pretty bad when it comes to taking off smoothly. I ended up leaving the scooter duties up to Nathan on the way to Muri beach as I didn’t think I would do very well with him on the back of me.
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We had asked at reception before we left and was told the best place nearby for snorkeling was at Muri Beach across from a shop called ‘Fruits of Rarotonga’. On the way we stopped off at the supermarket for some more water and I came across the biggest piece of Kumara I’d ever seen! (It’s also called a Sweet Potato for you overseas readers) I’m the biggest Kumara lover so this was amazing for me haha.
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Once I’d made Nathan take a photo of me with a vegetable, we found the snorkeling location about 15 minutes drive up the road. We parked up our scooters, grabbed our towels and all our snorkeling gear then found a nice spot under some palm tree’s to set up for the day.

I was pretty keen to get under the water so I was in there straight away. Annoyingly though, my goggles kept fogging up (even after doing the whole spit your saliva into them trick) so I wasn’t under the water for very long before having to come back up again. The water however was wonderful, Rarotonga is surrounded by a nice lagoon so it’s really easy to snorkel and swim in without being pounded by waves or murky water.

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Nathan joined me in the water soon after I’d gone in and we swum around the coral reefs for a bit and took picture and videos on the GoPro. Not without injuring ourselves though, Nathan scratched his hand and I got a graze on my knee from the reef. Thankfully I had some prescription cream I brought with me to put on them that afternoon to keep them from getting infected.

We where in the water for around an hour before getting out and laying our towels out on the sand.
The clouds had formed a bit and it wasn’t as sunny as it was before so I didn’t put any sunscreen on. We where under a palm tree anyways so I assumed I would be protected from getting burnt. Turns out I was wrong and I went to bed that night with the worst sunburn! – but more on that later.
Being the typical tourists that we are, we took some more pictures on the beach and also being typical girls we then complained about how gross we looked while the boys rolled their eyes at us.
Now that I’m uploading them however, we brushed up quite well!
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As it was Sunday, many places where shut in Rarotonga so we went back to the resort for lunch. If you read my previous post, you’d remember we ordered about 3 massive pizza’s the night before that we couldn’t get through, so we re-heated them up for lunch instead and ate them while sitting next to the pool.
The bar at the resort wasn’t open, so Nathan collected our bottles of Vodka & Bourbon from our room and we took them downstairs so we could drink them while we swum. He was our own personal bartender for the afternoon!

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The next few hours where spent drinking, swimming, lying down with a book and more drinking.
Around 5pm, it begun to get close to dinner time so Kerri & I headed upstairs to make ourselves presentable for the BBQ dinner the resort was providing.
This was when I realized how bloody sunburnt I was! The whole back of my legs where turning bright red and it hurt to touch. It’s crazy how it takes a little while for a sunburn to actually show instead of right away 😦

Thankfully Glen had some aloe vera from when he got sunburnt the previous day, so I put that on my legs to cool them down a bit.
Just before we headed downstairs for dinner, we all took some Vodka shots and as I had been drinking for most of the afternoon, I started to feel a little giggly when we got to dinner.
We where told in the morning from the restaurant staff that the BBQ was on the resort’s beach so Nathan and I walked ahead of Kerri and Glen to the beach where we where then told that we had to go back to the restaurant to get the food.
We turned back and told Kerri and Glen that the food was inside (as they hadn’t made it to the beach yet) so we all went in and loaded up our plates with the BBQ buffet. Suddenly, Kerri and Glen take a seat inside (where no one was by the way) and so I assumed in my fuzzy little state that they wanted to sit inside instead of out on the beach with everyone else.
Finally, after we’d all eaten and had dessert, Kerri said something like “I feel bad, like we’re the only ones who turned up for the BBQ and the chefs like made all this food”
Me and Nathan looked at each other and were like “Oh what – no, everyone else is on the beach having dinner”
Kerri looked at me in shock – “WHAT! We thought you said the BBQ was inside!?”
Me – “Yeah, the food is inside but everyone else is sitting at tables on the beach while they listen to live music”
Kerri and Glen couldn’t believe it. They assumed no one had turned up for the BBQ apart from us and a couple of other people they saw who came into the restaurant – who actually just came in to fill up their plates then head back outside.
They couldn’t believe we didn’t tell them everyone was outside!
Me and Nathan honestly assumed they just wanted to sit inside and eat hahahaha.
We all got up then and headed outside to the beach but by this stage the music had finished, everyone had finished eating and there where just a couple of tables of people left. Woops!

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It’s funny because I was GoPro-ing us going to the buffet dinner and I’ve watched the video back and there’s even footage of me going to head outside with my plate of food and then seeing the others sit down at a table and saying to myself “Oh, guess we’re sitting inside then”

Oh well – just a mis-communication.
Even though we missed the sunset and the music, we still enjoyed our meals and defiantly got our $40 worth of food haha.

Rarotonga Day 1 (Feb 2017)

We arrived in Rarotonga last night on a very late flight from Auckland.
We left around 7:45pm and after a 4 and a half hour flight, eventually landed in Rarotonga around 12.30am. We where a bit late as the pilot announced there was a lot of rain so we had to circle above the airport until it passed.

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Surprisingly the flight went by quite quick. It wasn’t full so the four of us (my boyfriend Nathan and our friends Kerri & Glen) all spread out on the seats. I had a whole row to myself and so did Nathan – such a treat when you’re cramped up on a Jetstar flight!

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I read most of the way and Nathan watched a season of Vikings that Glen had downloaded beforehand (there wasn’t any entertainment on – board)
I’m not normally a Jetstar flyer for long-distances because you don’t get much on the flight, but I found a really good deal to Rarotonga a few months ago that was worth the small leg room and no free food 😦

When we eventually landed, we had to quickly run from the plane to the terminal as it was still raining a little bit. If you’re planning on going to Rarotonga, don’t expect much from the airport. It’s your typical small island airport – very small and basic but you don’t really need much from it anyways.

The resort we where staying at organised a shuttle to take us to the resort, unfortunately I think they forgot to tell the driver as he had no idea but he happily took us anyways. For $20 per person I was expecting more than a leaky, damp van but from I’ve come to realize in Raro is that it’s a very simple island. It’s a country of little money and basic necessities with things being very expensive. However it’s still being such a beautiful place with kind people and a very laid-back atmosphere.

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When we got to the resort, we found our room (a nice 2 bedroom apartment) and all had showers to wash the ‘flight feel’ off before promptly heading off to bed. I was soo tired I actually had a pretty good sleep, even if I didn’t have my most favorite pillow with me haha. Unfortunately Kerri & Glen had an awful sleep because the people in the apartment next door to us (these four guys) basically had a party all night long. Kerri thought we where staying over the bar because they where so loud but it turns out they just spent up large on booze with their Virgin Australia flight.

Breakfast ended at 10am so when we woke up at 9:30am we quickly got dressed and headed down to the bar/breakfast area to eat some tropical breakfast before heading back up to our room to get ready for our day.
It started raining in the morning much to my disappointment (as I always think it rains when I take my boyfriend away on holiday) but it cleared up pretty quickly. We where told from the owners of the resort that a bus left every half hour outside the resort to take you into Avarua (the nearest town) where they had the Punangi Nui Market that morning until 12pm. We decided to do that so waited for the bus….and waited…and waited. Until eventually it came chugging up the road with the windows down and the driver singing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen.
I think we got lucky with the best Bus Driver on the Island. I can’t remember his name but he was quite a laugh – cracking jokes and making up stories along the way, like how he was really out from prison that day and it was just his day job driving a bus.

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At the markets, we had a quick browse but it was mainly locals selling fruits and vegetables and some nice sarongs. We didn’t really find anything we where interested in so headed across the road to Polynesian Rental Cars so we could get a couple of Scooters for our stay.
Originally I thought we where all going to hire a car but getting a scooter was the better option as they where cheaper and overall more fun to ride.
While the boys where hiring the scooters, I quickly went across the road to buy an SD card for the GoPro, unfortunately the one I’d put in wasn’t formatted properly so it wouldn’t work. I was going to buy a new one at the Auckland Airport but they where $65!!
Good I waited until Rarotonga because I got a 32GB one for $45 instead.

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Off we went on our scooters to explore the Island!
First stop was the grocery store to buy Sun cream and bottles of water. Coming from a New Zealand Summer, it was much hotter/humid than it was back home. Weirdly the Supermarket didn’t sell any sunscreen (apart from one bottle that looked like it was made on the side of the street) so we had to go to a clothing store a few shops down that sold them instead. However, they where like $40 a bottle!
They use New Zealand dollars over here and Sun Screen is expensive enough back home, I wish I had brought my own bottle over!
Once we where sorted, we jumped back on our scooters and set off clockwise around the Island. There is only one road that goes around the islands coast and in some parts there is also a second road inland that also encircles the island. Because of the rugged mountainous interior there is no road that crosses the island so it’s pretty easy to just drive around, as long as you stick to their speed limits of 30-50km/h

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We got a little hungry so stopped off at a place called Charlies. It was just on the edge of the Akapuao Marine Reserve with views of the water and what looked like some yummy food! As we walked in, we saw customers being served big plates of delicious looking sandwiches so defiantly decided to stay.
I wasn’t super hungry so ended up ordering a Beef Burger along with a Fruit Smoothie which was delicious. Glen got the Steak sandwich which was huge and had to end up sharing with Nathan as he couldn’t eat it all.

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The water was too tempting after our lunch so we all walked down to the lagoon to dip our feet into the clear waters for the first time on our trip. It was so warm and beautiful but we weren’t quite prepared for a swim so agreed to head back later during the week for a proper visit.
We kept on with our Scooters and drove around the Island until we got to our resort. As our flight arrived at 6am that morning we where all pretty knackered so decided to just chill at the resort for a bit and have a look around. Castaway Villa had a pool, bar, small restaurant and was right on the beach so we all grabbed some towels and headed down to the beach to get some color on our skins and have a little paddle.
Unfortunately the  water near our accommodation wasn’t the best for swimming in. You could if you wanted to but there was lots of sea weed floating round that wasn’t too appealing, especially when you went underwater and you’d come up with seaweed  on top of your head. Instead – we took some photos on the GoPro then went back to our sun loungers for a good 5 minutes before claiming it was far too hot and jumping in the pool!

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Once we’d had a bit of a cool off, we all went upstairs to our rooms and got ready to find a place for dinner. As it’s the quiet season in Raro, the restaurant at our accommodation wasn’t really packed and we didn’t really want to be the only ones in the eating area so we hopped on our scooters again and drove up near Muri Beach to find somewhere to eat.20170204_190441

The first place that had a sign saying ‘Pizza’ we stopped at.
When we sat down, we thought we’d share 3 pizza’s between the four of us. We all assumed they’d be a bit thin so we’d demolish them no problem. We even ordered Garlic Bread to accompany our meal.
Our eyes grew when the waitress set down our pizza’s! They where so big and so so sooo cheesy. I had 2 slices and I was done. I’ve never had that much cheese on a pizza in my life, even when I traveled to America!


We sheepishly ended up asking for a box to take the pizza’s home in so we wouldn’t waste it and popped it in the fridge when we got back to our Villa.

With tired eyes and very very full stomachs, we all went to bed (with quiet neighbors this time) and had a typical summer’s sleep with the fan going and the sound of palm tree’s outside out windows.
Tomorrow, it’s a day of snorkeling and more exploring!