Culture in Paradise: Highland Paradise Cultural Show Is A Must-See In Rarotonga


Highland Paradise Cultural Center Dancers

photo: Highland Paradise


Visiting the Cook Islands? One of the most popular experiences on the main island of Rarotonga is to take a cultural village tour. If you’re looking for a little local culture, an amazing feast and traditional entertainment, Highland Paradise Cultural Show is IT!


Tribe Woman weaving at Highland Paradise, Rarotonga Cultural Show

At Highland Paradise, you’ll get an authentic look at the history of the culture of the Tinomana Tribe and a guided tour of the sacred grounds of their local mountain village. What I love about Highland Paradise is that this is a family project to rejuvenate and maintain the site that was home to their descendants 600 years ago. All of the dancers, drummers, singers, servers, and other staff are direct descendants of the Tinomana mountain village tribe!


Highland Paradise cultural mountain village group tour

photo: Highland Paradise


The tour starts the minute you are picked up from your hotel. The bus that you arrive in is your “vaka”, or group, for the evening. A male is named the tribe leader and will be important to lead the group throughout the show.


Drummers at Highland Paradise Cultural Show

We arrived at the village to sounds of drumming by the locals. Once we find our seats in the banquet room, everyone is taken outside to the grass where we learn all about their way of life, how they work together, cook their food underground in an “umu”, build their homes, and have spiritual ties with the land they live on. We also learned about the sacred Marae in the village, the place of worship and tribal sacrifice.


Highland Paradise cultural show sacred marae in mountain village

photo: Highland Paradise


The top of the mountain offers breathtaking views, that’s the ocean back there.


Deanna Underwood at Highland Paradise, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Come inside for a welcome cocktail…


Welcome cocktail at Highland Paradise Cultural show and Feast

… and enjoy a delicious feast before watching some of the historic costumes and dances performed by the talented group. They took us through a journey over the years to show us how the tribe evolved, how the dances and costumes changed, and how they celebrated life.


Highland Paradise Cultural Show and Island Feast Dancers

photo: Highland Paradise


The show was outstanding – high energy and full of life. It’s a must-see!


Singers and drummers prepare for the cultural show at Highland Paradise

At the end of the show, we got a chance to meet some of the dancers in the tribe. The youngest, pictured here in the yellow grass skirt, is only 12 years old. She’s been dancing with the family since she was 2, and she was great!


Higland Paradise Cultural show and feast, Meet and Greet with dancers after the show

I truly appreciate that Highland Paradise provides a look at their celebration of heritage and preservation of culture. Such a great experience, it’s an excellent cultural show in Rarotonga! Laugh, dance, eat and enjoy the evening, great for families of all ages.


Highland Paradise Cultural Center Dancers

photo: Highland Paradise


Highland Paradise Cultural Show and Feast

For tickets and information:


PO Box 3227, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Phone: (+682) 219 24, (+682) 50 567


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