Rarotonga Weather January Averages, Cook islands
What's the weather Like in Rarotonga in January
With temperatures just slightly lower than those in February and March, January is one of the warmest times of the year. Daily average temperatures in January range from a high of 28C (82F) to a low of 24C (75F), with an overall average of 26C (79F). These temperatures are somewhat lower than other South Pacific locales such as Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands. The average sea temperature in Rarotonga is 28C (82F), making the water quite comfortable for the popular swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving that's found in the tranquil lagoon encircling Rarotonga's shores.
You'll see the years lowest levels of sunshine in January with an average of 7 hours a day, contrasted by the highs of 12 daily hours in September and October. The rain clouds that hang over the centre of the island for much of the year are more pronounced in January.
January falls in the middle of Rarotonga's wet season (from November to May), so prepare for some precipitation if you visit during this month. In close competition with February and March for the wettest month of the year, January has an average of 19 rainy days with an overall average rainfall of 190mm. However, you can almost always count on sunny skies in the mornings with cooling downpours in the afternoons that arrive suddenly and recede just as quickly.
Be prepared for some muggy weather in January, the most humid month on the island. While average temperatures don't vary greatly from month to month, fluctuations in humidity make them feel as if they do. The average relative humidity in January is 85%, with humidity of around 89% in the mornings and 77% in the evenings. In short, January can feel hot, though the heat is offset by cooling rains.
Sunrise and Sunset
In January, the duration of daylight is constantly decreasing. On January 1, the sun rises at 6:00 am and sets at 7:24 pm, creating 13:24 hours of daylight. On January 31, with the shortest daylight of the month, daybreak happens at 6:21 am and sundown takes place at 7:23 pm, with 13:02 hours of total daylight.
You can expect moderate winds of 4 m/s in January, which is about the strength of the light breeze you'll experience for most of the year.
January falls in the middle of the South Pacific's cyclone season from November to April. However, the Cook Islands are less likely to get hit by the tropical cyclones that are more apt to strike locations such as Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Strong storms that do hit Rarotonga can bring winds of up to 55 m/s (124 mph) and cause massive flooding, but these instances are rare.
Rarotonga Hotels in January
Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa
On the secluded southern side of the island, Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa sits before the private white sands and turquoise waters of Muri Beach. A handful of villas feature traditional Polynesian design with spa tubs, marble flooring, personal plunge pools and intimate courtyards that overflow with tropical greenery. You can indulge in a soothing massage or a rejuvenating treatment at a world-class spa. Then set out for some ocean exploration with a courtesy kayak that lies beside your luxury villa.
Pacific Resort Rarotonga
Set in a tropical garden, Pacific Resort Rarotonga offers four-star suites, villas and standard rooms in a serene setting. Enjoy modern Polynesian design elements at accommodations that look onto either tropical gardens or the pristine sands of Muri Beach. When hunger hits, it's just a short stroll to beachfront dining at Sandals Restaurant, or to refresh with a tropical drink at the Barefoot Bar. Invigorate with a brisk dip in the outdoor pool or take a few steps to a beach that's great for swimming, sailing and kayaking to surrounding islets.
Sunset Resort is a solid mid-range option in tropical gardens that are just a short walk to the beach. As its name suggests, sunset is perfectly positioned for enjoying brilliant sunsets over the Pacific. Splash around in one of two inviting pools. Take in magnificent views from your private patio or balcony and whip up a meal in your own kitchen. If you don't feel like cooking, you're just a short walk to several restaurants that serve everything from local delicacies to international fare. Or enjoy fresh-caught seafood at the open-air eatery The Anchorage and a tropical drink at the poolside Drumbeat bar.
Kiikii Inn & Suites
A superb option for budget travellers, Kiikii Inn & Suites has beachfront bungalows with ocean views. Enjoy modern amenities including flat-screen TVs, refrigerators and kitchenettes in bright functional rooms that have separate seating areas. Refresh at an outdoor pool that lies before sweeping ocean views and then settle back into a lounge chair with a good book from the on-site library. After shopping at the nearby Beachcomber Pearl Market, you can grill your own meal at the hotel's communal barbecue to enjoy in a picnic area.
Rarotonga Beaches for January
Set in a secluded spot on the southwest coast, the white sands of Aroa Beach welcome you to an idyllic getaway. Enjoy time away from crowds as you plunge into azure waters that are alive with vibrant marine life, making it one of the best snorkelling sites on Rarotonga. Just off the shore, you can spot Moray eels, octopus and the colourful butterflyfish that call the Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve home. Stay until dusk if you visit. The beach is perfectly positioned for sublime sunsets that put on magnificent shows across the shimmering horizon.
Bars and Restaurants
For a fine-dining experience, Nautilus Restaurant is sure to satisfy. Located in the Nautilus Resort at Muri, the upscale beachfront eatery specialises in Polynesian-influenced fare that's locally sourced and uses in-season ingredients. Enjoy a la carte cuisine amid the chic surrounds of the main dining room. Or, head out to the more-casual patio for a light meal with panoramic views over a shimmering infinity pool and the Muri Lagoon beyond.
Mooring Fish Cafe
When you're ready to taste a local tradition, grab a sandwich at the Mooring Fish Cafe. Located by the Avana Harbour, the seafood restaurant is well known for its trademark fish sandwiches. You'll find locals and visitors alike savoring classics like mahi-mahi with signature aioli sauce on fresh-from-the-oven Turkish bread, paired with one of their famed fruit smoothies or coconut drinks. Affordable meals that come with homemade dressings and pickles are served under the welcoming shade of a palm-thatched roof before harbour views.
Another iconic favourite for locals, Trader Jacks has been serving by the water's edge for over 30 years. Founded by the title trader Jack Cooper, the seafood restaurant overlooks Avarua Harbour and offers house specialities of sashimi and fish cakes with smoked salmon in a sophisticated dining room. Or savor one of their popular pizzas at the more laid-back beachfront bar. If you're there on a weekend night, you're apt to catch some spirited live music.
Oceans Restaurant & Bar
To enjoy unique displays of Polynesian culture with your meal, check out Oceans Restaurant & Bar at the Crown Beach Resort. Known for their colourful tropical cocktails, the relaxed waterfront restaurant also features a bounty of Pacific-Rim fare that infuses culinary influences from across Asia and the Americas. Their "Island Night" themed evenings popular with visitors. Backed by a live band, a traditional dance troupe puts on an interactive show that lets you immerse in local culture.
Things to do in Rarotonga in January
Paddling a kayak
Paddling a kayak is one of the most-popular ways to explore Rarotonga's famed tropical lagoon. Steeped in Polynesian tradition, outrigger canoes have graced these shores for centuries. Glide through the sheltered turquoise waters to explore uninhabited islets and find a secluded spot for snorkelling or a picnic. Hire a glass-bottom kayak to view the colourful marine life that teems beneath you on your nature escape. When the afternoon winds pick up, the lagoon is also great for sailing and kite surfing.
Punanga Nui Cultural Market
If you're up to explore the local scene on land, head over to the Punanga Nui Cultural Market. Vendors offer the freshest fare and most unique artisan works at the bustling waterfront hub. Delight in Polynesian classics such as ika mata (fish marinated in coconut and lime), steamed taro leaves or a poke bowl with banana and arrowroot. Enjoy live music as you browse an assortment of handcrafted art. To really live like a local, you might even consider getting a tattoo. The area's tribes have long practised the art and the Polynesian term "tatau" gives us the English word we use today. You can find skilled tattoo artists who continue the custom with elaborate traditional designs. Later, catch a rugby match. The sport is wildly popular on Rarotonga.
Te Rua Manga
Known as "The Needle", the most-iconic mountain peak on the island is the pointy spire of Te Rua Manga. You can go on a hike that brings you close to the scenic summit and take some inspiring photos that are sure to impress on Instagram. The trek begins in open fields, progresses through dense jungle terrain and passes a gentle stream. While reaching the summit is a difficult ascension that's best left to experienced climbers, those who make the attempt are rewarded with magnificent views of the coast and jungle canopy.