This was the perfect place to base for a week in the Cook Islands - inexpensive and located on a fantastic beach. Known primarily as a popular backpacker guest house, Vara’s also featured beachfront studios with private bath that appealed to non-backpacker types (that’s me!) as well. After settling in my room I ventured out and spent a fun 4 or 5 hours circling the island and stopping to check out each of Rarotonga’s gorgeous lagoons. I even made another stop in town to visit the market. By mid-afternoon I felt like I’d seen everything but the beach my hotel was sitting on so I returned the car and spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and snorkeling at Muri Beach just a few steps from my room. Now this is more like it!