Your guide to a safe turtle tour in Rarotonga

Cook Islands Tourism
Photography By
Charlotte Piho

A turtle tour is one of the most popular visitor activities in Rarotonga, and for good reason! Here are some tips to keep you, the turtles and our ocean home safe.

What to Expect

Tours typically last around two hours and are led by experienced guides who will take you to the best spots for turtle sightings. You will have the opportunity to snorkel in crystal-clear waters, where you may also see a variety of other marine life, including majestic rays, colorful fish and beautiful coral reefs. Our guides are knowledgeable about the local ecosystem and will provide fascinating insights into the turtles’ behavior and habitat.

Top Tips

  • Respect the turtles: Touching turtles IS PROHIBITED. Turtles are wild animals. It is important to approach them with respect and caution, and to maintain a safe distance to avoid disturbing them and their natural habitat.
  • Experience: Prior swimming experience is suggested, but professional guides will be present during the tour to offer assistance. Children under 12 years of age must receive approval from the tour operator. If you are not comfortable with the conditions, it is recommended that you conduct your own risk assessment.
  • Be responsible: Visitors are strongly advised not to swim in the passage without the presence of a trained and reliable operator or an experienced guide. Any passage or channel can be highly unpredictable, and the conditions can shift rapidly, making them dangerous.

How to choose a Tour operator

It is important to choose an operator that strives to provide both best-practice customer safety and responsible eco-tourism practices.

  • Customer Safety: Max Guide/Visitor ratio does not exceed 4:1, tours operate only during weekday low tides, safety briefing is conducted and acknowledgement of risk form completed by all guests.
  • Eco-tourism practices: Operators demonstrate their dedication to preserving the turtle habitat. To ensure that the marine environment remains intact, it is essential to show respect and refrain from touching coral.

What to do if you're concerned

Please speak to your guide and/or tour operator in the first instance.

If needed, Cook Islands Tourism can also provide assistance. Please email [email protected]