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Rarotongan Resort Ruins

When I first saw this abandoned hotel complex on my first trip to Rarotonga back in 2003 I was dumbfounded as to how something like this existed here, for it seemed so out of place on this dramatically beautiful tropical island.  I didn’t get a chance to explore the ruins on that trip, but I made it a priority to venture in there during my most recent trip to the island.

Work on it what was supposed to be a luxury Sheraton Hotel complex apparently started back in 1987, and ended sometime in the mid 1990’s when disgruntled workers dropped their tools and walked off before the project was completed.  They were fed up with working for weeks on end with no pay.  Depending on who you talk to, locals will give accounts of the ordeal that include tales of Italian Mafia connections, dodgy investors, large sums of missing money, unpaid workers, conspiracy, and cursed land.

Whatever happened, the result is a vast complex of unfinished buildings that have been more or less looted and vandalized.  Today the buildings are steadily rotting away as the thick vegetation overtakes them.  It is easy to see the potential that this place could have had, but there are no cash-strapped foreign tourists in sight at this beachfront resort.  The only residents are cows tied up to coconut palms, and the only visitors are presumably local teenagers who come armed with cans of spray paint and alcohol.

(Click photos to view slideshow)


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