Deep diving Rarotonga’s beautiful Peppermint Reef

Peppermint angelfish on deep coral reef

Exploring a Cook Islands‘ subsea treasure

Healthy deep plate coral reef in Rarotonga

Rarotonga offers fantastic deep diving all around the island. Just a little out of reach for recreational divers is Rarotonga’s Peppermint Reef. The dive site consists of a vast stretch of very dense plate corals on the northern reef slope, covering the sea floor at a depth between 45 and 60 metres. We found this subsea treasure a few years back when exploring Rarotonga’s deeper reef areas and drop-off’s.

Incredibly healthy and dense coral cover

Healthy deep plate coral reef in Rarotonga

The coral density at the Peppermint Reef is incredible. Healthy, stunning plate corals cover the bottom over a very long distance. We are still to explore how far the area stretches. The reef with it’s coral cover is similar to the plate coral reef off Tahiti that made it into the world media in January 2022. The dense plate corals are also home to many other photogenic fish species, like angelfish and anthias.

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Experience Blackwater diving in Rarotonga

Blackwater diving in Rarotonga

Scuba dive Rarotonga at night in the deep, open ocean. Witness the largest migration of biomass on our planet with Adventure Cook Islands blackwater diving trips in Rarotonga.

Imagine you are in the middle of the ocean, with 1000 to 2000 metres of water below you. It is a pitch black night, there is no moon, no wind and the the ocean surface is flat. Only a weighted line with attached lights illuminates the water. As you dive down, you see that you are surrounded by countless of tiny critters. You are observing the largest migration of biomass in the world: the diel vertical migration. This is blackwater diving. Nowhere else in the world will you feel as close to being in outer space.

The diel vertical migration

Juvenile boxfish on blackwater dive

During the diel (or diurnal) vertical migration, millions of tiny creatures called zooplankton migrate every night in the cover of darkness from the deep oceans up towards the surface. At the surface, these miniature crustaceans and jellyfish feed on the phytoplankton, which are microscopic size plants. At the end of the night, the zooplankton must make their way back to the safety of the dark, deep ocean to avoid being eaten. During this ever repeating synchronized movement through the water column, the zooplankton is followed by a large number of predators that feed on this seemingly endless food source.

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Scuba Schools International Training Centre

SSI Scuba Schools International Rarotonga

Largest range of dive courses in Rarotonga

Adventure Cook Islands is proud to be a PADI Dive Centre, but also Rarotonga’s only Scuba Schools International Training Centre. Scuba Schools International is one of the leading dive training organizations worldwide. By being affiliated with multiple dive training organisations, we are able to offer the widest range of scuba diving courses of any dive centre in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands.

Apart for try dives and learn to dive certification courses like the Open Water Diver, we also offer over 20 SSI Specialty courses. The academic portion of every SSI course is to be completed online through SSI’s state-of-the-art elearning platform before any in-water training. Most SSI Specialty courses only require two dives to be complete. This means they can easily be completed on one of our two tank dive trips in just half a day.

SSI Extended Range Center in Rarotonga

Extend your range with SSI

If you are an experienced diver and you would like to extend your range in diving, our dive centre is also an SSI XR centre. Get in touch with us for more information about XR programs .

Technical Diving International in Rarotonga

Technical Diving International in Rarotonga

At Adventure Cook Islands we offer a wide range of technical diving courses and training in the Cook Islands. Whether you want to extend your range or just fine tune your existing dive skills: with our quality technical diving courses through TDI you will train to be an overall better diver, dive deeper, further and go beyond.

Technical open circuit and rebreather training

Adventure Cook Islands offers both technical open circuit (OC) and closed circuit rebreather (CCR) training through TDI, right here in Rarotonga. Join the world of technical diving and learn how to safely plan and conduct staged decompression dives, using single or multiple gases, both on regular open circuit scuba or using closed circuit rebreathers.

Rebreather support for exploration dives

We also offer rebreather support for experienced CCR divers who wish to explore Rarotonga’s fascinating deep drop-off’s.

DAN World Partnership

DAN - Divers Alert Network partner in Rarotonga

Adventure Cook Islands is proud to be an official DAN World Partner and to support DAN Asia-Pacific (DAN AP). The Divers Alert Network is a global not-for-profit, member-based organization dedicated to improving the safety of all divers through education, research and training.

Worldwide coverage

DAN Asia-Pacific provides Worldwide Emergency Evacuation Coverage as well as optional Dive Injury (Medical Treatment) Insurance Services for its Members. Moreover, DAN AP makes sure that diving emergency hotlines are manned 24-hours a day throughout the Asia-Pacific region. DAN AP is a part of DAN World, which has over 350,000 members worldwide.

DAN members have piece of mind that no matter where they dive, DAN is available 24/7 to assist in case of an accident ot illness.

Join DAN World

Why should I have a DAN Membership and Dive Injury Insurance?

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Mystery Shipwreck in Rarotonga Identified

Letter R on stern of shipwreck

The mystery of the new found shipwreck in Rarotonga has been revealed.

In February 2018, Carina and Patrick discovered a small shipwreck in Rarotonga. The vessel was a sailing yacht that lay in 70 metres of water depth outside Avatiu. After talking to many locals and multiple dives on the wreck, the identity of the shipwreck remained a mistery. The only clue to the identity of the vessel was a big letter “R” in the centre of the stern of the vessel.

Bow of Cook Islands shipwreck in Rarotonga

The breakthrough came recently, after Patrick talked to the Director of Maritime, Ngatokorua Ngatokorua (Junior). After hearing the story and seeing images of the wreck, he also confirmed that Maritime Cook Islands have no records about the existence of such wreck. However, he assured Patrick to try to find out more information on his end.

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Scooter helmet law changes for Rarotonga

Scooter rider with safety helmet in Rarotonga

Helmets now compulsory for all in Rarotonga

The Cook Islands government has recently amended the safety regulations one more time.

In recent years, and after much debate within the Rarotongan community, the Cook Islands government had already made wearing safety motorcycle helmets mandatory for all visitors as well as younger riders on Rarotonga. As it did not include most local residents, this law had caused some confusion. Some visitors could not understand why they had to wear a safety helmet on Rarotonga when many other riders didn’t.

This year the government has made more amendments to the act. It is now mandatory for every person riding on a scooter or motorcycle on Rarotonga to wear an approved motorcycle safety helmet. This includes any pillion (passenger), no matter whether the pillion is a child or adult.

Helmets not mandatory in outer islands

The traffic on the outer Cook Islands is not comparable to Rarotonga. Furthermore, people ride way faster on Rarotonga than they do in the outer islands. Therefore, the changes to the safety helmet regulations are only for Rarotonga, not for the outer islands.

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COVID-19 update


Cook Islands declared COVID-19 Free Zone

2020 has been an exceptional year in many ways. With the virus spreading and life being turned upside down in most parts of the world, the Cook Islands have managed to stay Covid-19 free until today. With Cook Islands borders being closed for visitors since April, the nation’s tourism industry sector is eagerly anticipating the return of visitors in the near future.

Having said that, we acknowledge there will be a constant risk of the virus spreading over to our little paradise once borders re-open.

As such, we take the health and well being of you, our customers and our staff very seriously. We will be following the Cook Islands Ministry of Health, CookSafe and the dive industry guidelines for contact tracing and equipment sanitisation.

We would like to assure all our customers that it will be business as usual and all our dive activities as well as rental and sales operations will go ahead as per normal. However, we will do everything possible to keep you and our staff safe over this Covid-19 period – and beyond.

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Crown-Of-Thorns Removal

Crown-O-Thorns starfish

Crown-of-thorns starfish eradication on Rarotonga

You got to to love the diving in Rarotonga! Great visibility and warm water combined with our fascinating marine life makes scuba diving in Rarotonga extremely fun and explains why many divers keep coming back year after year.

Crown-of-thorns starfish suckers and spines
Crown-of-thorns are beautiful starfish

Amongst our natural reef inhabitants are the beautiful Crown-of-thorns starfish, aka COTS and locally known as taramea.
COTS are natural reef predators and have evolved over millions of years. These starfish have thousands of suckers and venomous spines. Crown-of-thorns starfish are feeding on coral and are important for the natural growth and health of the coral reefs. Their preferred food are fast growing corals. By primarily feeding on fast growing corals they make space for the slower growing, reef building corals, which in turn is important for the healthy growing of the coral reef.

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We Have Moved

Office and painted workshop

Adventure Cook Islands has moved to Aroa!

We have moved our office from Kavera Beach 800 metres down the road to Aroa Beach.

Since the COVID-19 border closures in April we have kept ourselves busy. We have moved our office building, decks, containers and palm trees to our new location just across the road from the beautiful Aroa Beach with it’s stunning lagoon.

The Aroa lagoon is a rauí (marine protected area) and one of the best and safest places on Rarotonga for snorkelling inside the lagoon. It is also a great place for introduction dives, diver training as well as for kayaking.

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