Rarotonga, Cook Islands — An Airbnb Rental on the Beach; Dinner with Friends


It had been some twenty-six years or so since Ursula and I first visited the Cook Islands. And, with a couple of back-to-back cruises scheduled for Australia and New Zealand, Ursula decided it was time to return on the long journey to Sydney. So, on February 1, 2020, we flew out of Los Angeles for Rarotonga.

Back Again in the Cook Islands

On our first visit to Rarotonga, I visited with the controllers working the control tower at Rarotonga International Airport in the Avarua District on the north end of the island. Here I met Mark Vaikai, with whom I’ve kept in touch off-and-on ever since. Mark is an aficionado of American-style grilling spices, so I stocked up on some for him in preparation of this visit. More on him and his lovely wife Eunice in a moment, but right now let’s take a look at the wonderful little Muri District beach bungalow Ursula booked for our four-night stay:

Rarotonga Airbnb rental near Muri

This charming little place had a kitchen, dining area, two baths, a spacious bedroom, a wonderful living room, and a comfortable back porch with great views of the water:

Our cottage even came with a little friend at the base of the steps:

Kermit the Hermit Crab

Now back to Mark and Eunice, who very graciously hosted us at their lovely home for an absolutely delectable island dinner:

Dinner with Mark and Eunice Vaikai

And here are our charming and wonderfully entertaining hosts Mark and Eunice:

Mark and Eunice Vaikai

By the way, if that name Vaikai sounds familiar to readers of my mystery novel Decisions, it’s because I named the fictitious resort setting of that novel after Mark. As Mark explained to me all those years ago, Vaikai is Polynesian for two of the things you most need in life — Vai (water), and Kai (food). Now let’s take a couple of last looks until this Wednesday’s continuation of this two-week series on Rarotonga:

A flame tree in Avarua

The view from the porch of our Rarotonga beach rental:

Rarotonga Airbnb rental near Muri


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