Insider’s Review Of The Black Pearl At Puaikura In Rarotonga

June 20, 2016

Rarotonga in the Cook Islands is the perfect tropical vacation in the heart of the South Pacific. I spent nearly 3 weeks in Rarotonga on my voyage across the South Pacific Islands, with 5 nights in The Black Pearl At Puaikura. Recently renovated from the ground up, the hotel welcomes couples and families with its warm hospitality, intimate setting and spacious rooms – in one the island’s most peaceful spots. Here’s a full review of The Black Pearl At Puaikura in Rarotonga.

Traveling to Rarotonga? Here are the top things to do in the busiest of the Cook Islands!

Top Things To Do In Rarotonga Cook Islands - thumbnail wide

The Location

In the quieter Aroa District on the west coast of Rarotonga, the family-friendly Black Pearl At Puaikura is located in the area better known as ‘the sunset side’. You’re about a 15-minute drive to the main town of Avarua and 10 minutes from the island’s airport. Within walking distance, you’ll find a grocery shop, internet cafe, takeaway restaurant, car/scooter hire, dive shop and the Shipwreck Hut – the best beach bar on the island. A short drive will bring you to the island’s premier restaurants, though some offer a complimentary pickup from the hotel.

The Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga - front view

Aroa Beach is just across the road – not that frequented by tourists, meaning you can easily find your own spot and stroll in any direction. Thanks to its marine reserve status, the snorkeling is great as is the swimming. Oh, and it’s a magical spot to watch the sunset!

Sunset in Rarotonga Cook Islands sun with ray of light

The Story

The friendly owner Jane has been in the travel industry for over a decade. Originally from New Zealand, she’s also lived in Australia and Los Angeles before taking over the Black Pearl and completely redoing it from the ground up. I mean, this place was absolutely spotless when I visited. Jane’s philosophy is to focus on personal service – ensuring guests enjoy themselves throughout their precious vacation. Aside from warm hospitality, she puts an emphasis on vibrant interior decor – stimulating your senses and getting you into holiday mode.  

The Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga Cook Islands - pool area

The Rooms

A tropical fruit platter welcomes you to one of 12 bright pastel-colored rooms. To call this ‘a room’ is to do it injustice, as it is super spacious. Complete with your own living area, catch up on your holiday reading or grab one of the helpful brochures and plan your next island activity. Of course, you can just crash on the sofa and nap for a few hours. Rooms are cooled by ceiling fans, most face a saltwater swimming pool at the heart of a tropical garden and all are equipped with a fully functional kitchen so you can cook your own meals. If you’re staying on a ground level unit, you can even enjoy those meals in your very own patio.

The Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga - self contained kitchen

Pool View

These extra spacious units will comfortably sleep two adults in a separate king-size master bedroom and one or two children (or adults) in the living area on two single beds.  

The Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga Cook Islands - pool view living areaThe Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga - living areaThe Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga - pool view single bedsThe Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga Cook Islands - pool view roomThe Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga - pool view bedroom

Garden View

Similar in layout to the Pool View rooms but slightly ‘smaller’.

The Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga Cook Islands - garden viewThe Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga Cook Islands - garden view living roomThe Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga - garden view bedroomThe Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga - garde view bathroom


I stayed in one of these units, essentially a very large brightly colored open studio. These units are equipped with a king-size bed alongside a single bed – suitable for a couple or three people. Your large patio overlooks the swimming pool and tropical garden, though the noise level is definitely not an issue (aside from a couple of roosters in the morning, an inevitable thing in every South Pacific island).

The Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga Cook Islands - cabanaThe Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga - cabana roomThe Black Pearl At Puaikura Rarotonga - canaba facing out

What Else?

Jane and the friendly local staff will be able to get you the best deals on the island for car/scooter hire and tours. Airport transfers can also be arranged. Here are a few extras:

  • Free filtered water
  • BBQ area
  • Zenbu wifi hotspot (Blue Sky hotspot next door)
  • Drinks on sale at the reception
  • Free use of snorkeling gear and reef shoes
  • Free introductory scuba diving lesson in the saltwater pool every Monday
  • Laundry service upon request
  • Book library
  • Ice-cold drinks on sale in the main reception

Come Here If You Are…

A couple or family traveling with children, seeking a comfortable self-catering accommodation in an intimate environment. Book here!

Exclusive Offer

Get a free three day scooter rental when you book a stay of 5 nights or more. Mention the promotion code ‘X Days In Y’ when making an inquiry directly with the hotel.


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