Rarotonga Weather May Averages, Cook islands
What's the Weather Like in Rarotonga in May
Though temperatures don't fluctuate too much on Rarotonga, the cooler period begins in May. Daily average temperatures in May range from a high of 27C (81F) to a low of 22C (72F). The overall average of 25C (75F). These temperatures are close to what you will find on other South Pacific spots such as Tonga and Palau. The average sea temperature in Rarotonga is 26C (79F) in May. While not quite a warm bath, the waters are still inviting for comfortable swimming and snorkelling in the aquamarine waters of the island's lagoon.
The sunshine levels begin to climb in May from the January low of 7 hours a day to an average of 10 hours a day, still behind the highs of 12 daily hours in September and October. In May yuo start to see some dissipation of the rain clouds that hang over the island's cenre for much of the year.
May falls at the end of Rarotonga's wet season (from November to May). You will see precipitation but don't expect downpours. Rarotonga's rainiest months are January and March when you can expect 19 rainy days and 190mm overall. May has an average of 17 rainy days with an overall average rainfall of 140mm. But no matter the month, the rain that falls generally comes down in strong afternoon bursts and you'll have sunny skies in the mornings and early evenings.
While it won't be muggy enough to ruin your trip, Rarotonga has considerable humidity. The average relative humidity in May is 85%, with humidity of around 84% in the mornings and 77% in the evenings.
Sunrise and Sunset
On May 1, the sun rises at 6:56 am and sets at 6:15 pm, with 11:19 hours of total daylight. On May 31, daybreak happens at 7:09 am and sundown takes place at 6:04 pm, with 10:55 hours of overall daylight.
You can expect moderate winds of 5.2 m/s in May. From May to October the trade winds pick up and blow steadily across the island from the east.
May falls just outside the South Pacific's cyclone season from November to April. Even during the storm season, the Cook Islands are less likely to see cyclones that hit locations such as Taiwan and Vietnam. The rare cyclones that strike Rarotonga can bring winds of up to 55 m/s (124 mph) and cause massive flooding.
Rarotonga Hotels in May
As diverse as the visitors who land on its shores, Rarotonga accommodations range from chic boutiques to basic backpacker retreats. In common they share lagoon views, surrounding nature and a laid-back attitude that has drawn explorers to the isle for generations.
Muri Beach Club Hotel
An adults-only gem on the island's eastern shore, Muri Beach Club Hotel is steeped in sophisticated four-star style. Enjoy inspiring sunrises over the Muri Lagoon beachfront from a balcony with panoramic views of the ocean and offshore islands. Sunsets behind a mountain backdrop are equally impressive at the 30-room boutique retreat. Easterly winds make this a good location for windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing. Or perhaps you prefer to laze by the large outdoor pool before heading to the spa for a relaxing massage. Enjoy gourmet Pacific Rim fare at a fine dining restaurant and linger over a tropical cocktail before lagoon views at the island-chic Lagoon Lounge.
Manuia Beach Resort
Perfectly positioned to take in sunsets on Rarotonga's west coast, Manuia Beach Resort offers a boutique-style getaway on the white sands of Manuia Beach. The four-star sanctuary sits before a breathtaking backdrop of swaying palm trees and rich native flora. Relax before an infinity pool that appears to meld into the sparkling blue waters of the lagoon. Spacious thatched-roofed suites embody traditional Polynesian style with modern island-style interiors and shaded outdoor seating. Enjoy locally inspired cuisine with your toes in the sand at Manuia's on the Beach Restaurant and Bar.
A one-minute walk from Muri Beach, Muri Beachcomber is tucked into verdant gardens that evoke a sense of serenity. Earning points for both value and location, it's also mere steps from the bustling Muri Night Markets and its surrounding restaurants and shops. Air-conditioned accommodations have separate bedrooms, full kitchens, dining and living areas, and balconies with splendid ocean or garden views. Plunge into the outdoor swimming pool or stroll to the lagoon to make use of free paddleboards, kayaks and snorkeling gear.
Giving budget travellers plenty of options, Rarotonga Backpackers has four locations on the island. A beachfront complex on the sunset side of Rarotonga has dorms, beach huts and self-contained oceanfront accommodations -- along with a pool. A nearby collection of garden bungalows offers studio lodging amid nature that's just a short walk from the beach. A three-bedroom house with two bathrooms is available on the north coast where they also offer a handful of beachfront studio units with lagoon views.
Rarotonga Beach for May
Vaimaanga Beach is a top snorkelling spot on the island's southern side. The calm waters just off the coast teem with diverse tropical fish. The beach is also popular for other watersports. You can easily hire a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard to explore the waters surrounding the reef that protects the shore. Vaimaanga has a reputation as a great spot for surfing. But be warned, it's only suitable for the adventurous wave riders. Those that brave the paddle out beyond the protected reef will be rewarded with some challenging waves.
Bars and Restaurants
Enjoy poolside dining, gourmet meals with your toes in the sand or on-the-go delights to devour before your choice of ocean views. However you opt to eat, Rarotonga's vast and varied restaurants are sure to serve.
A poolside eatery with Polynesian flair, Aqua Restaurant serves island-inspired cuisine at the Muri Beach Resort. Enjoy alfresco dining amid lush gardens with a menu that focuses on fresh-from-the-ocean fish. They offer a wide selection of tapas for light bites and small samplings. Exotic cocktails are crafted at a daily happy hour. Aqua Restaurant is open from 8 am to 12 am each day.
Crusoe's Restaurant and Bar
Crusoe's Restaurant and Bar serves a slate of international cuisine at the Castaway Resort on the sunset side of the island. Each night of the week features a theme such as Mexican, curry, barbecue and Japanese fare. House specialities such as Sir Vikki's Local Fish and Mr. Paul's Local Crayfish are always on the menu. Daily happy hour is from 2 pm to 6 pm and the restaurant serves dinner from 6 pm to 12 am.
OTB Restaurant & Bar
As you can probably guess from its name, On the Beach Restaurant has a beachfront location. The thatch-roofed eatery is also poolside at the Manuai Beach Resort. Dine directly on the sand with views of the lagoon where local fishermen bring in their daily catches. Beyond a wide selection of seafood, OTB has a popular Sunday barbecue with live music, and vegetarian specials during the week. The eatery is open daily from 8 am to 11 pm.
Palace Takeaway is a great place to grab a quick bite at an affordable price. Popular with locals, the seaside shack crafts towering burgers that are piled so high with toppings that they'll topple if you're not careful. Their Wet Cheese burger is an island classic. Settle down at outdoor seating by the Avatiu Wharf to discover why the place is always packed with islanders. Palace is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm.
Things to do in Rarotonga in May
Shopping at Punanga Nui Market
While food huts offer an eclectic variety of cuisine, shopping is a big draw at the Punanga Nui Market. Browse a variety of Polynesian arts and crafts. Pick up a log drum or an eight-string ukelele. Both instruments are part of the traditional music found on the Cook Islands for generations. Get into island style with a floral dress or shirt. Purchase a tie-dyed sarong to bring some South Seas culture home with you. You can even find black pearls. The gems are harvested in the outer islands and incorporated into rings necklaces and bracelets.
Enjoy a Nature Hike
Some of Rarotonga's most-scenic spots are found along its white-sand beaches. But what about viewing the lush island from above? Take a trek to Te Rua Manga. The iconic rock spire known locally as "The Needle" sits at the centre of the volcanic island. Getting there isn't easy. A well-marked trail through dense nature does take a bit of stamina and you'll have to use roots to help you make your way to the top. Once there, you'll be rewarded with magnificent panoramic views of the island that will make you the envy of Instagram.
Join a Umukai Feast
Sharing a meal is one of the best ways to immerse in any culture. The Cook Islands welcome you to an "umukai" feast. Take a cultural village tour that includes a meal cooked in the time-honoured method of the Maori. "Umu" food is wrapped in banana leaves and placed in a shallow fire pit with volcanic rocks. It's then covered with a layer of leaves and steamed until ready to enjoy. Savour the earth-oven flavours as ancient stories are shared while traditional dancers and musicians perform before torchlight.
Discover a Muri Lagoon Motu
If you go to popular Muri Beach you're sure to notice the picturesque islands offshore. A great way to visit one of these islets, or "motu", is on a glass-bottom boat tour. Watch the undersea world pass before your eyes as you float through the azure waters, stopping for snorkelling along the route. You'll disembark on tiny Motu Koromiri, where you can stroll its secluded white sands and enjoy a lunch of barbecued fish right on the beach.