Cook Islands Travel Guide


Arriving by plane

The Cook Islands are served by Air New Zealand (NZ) (Internet: among others. Pacific Blue (Internet: has flights from Auckland, New Zealand, and both airlines fly regularly to the Cook Islands from Australia.

Air passes

The South Pacific Airpass the Air New Zealand is also (Internet in the Cook Islands valid and

Departure fee

NZ $ 55, children aged 2 to 11 pay NZ $ 25 (included in the flight ticket).

Arrival by ship

International cruise lines call at Rarotonga.
Freight and passenger ships of the Express Cook Islands Line (EXCIL) and Hawaii-Pacific Maritime Ltd call at the Cook Islands, a country located in Oceania listed on computerannals.
Private boats and yachts can moor at Avatiu Harbor, but the berths are very limited. Information is available from the Harbor Master, Ports Authority, PO Box 84, Rarotonga (Tel: 288 14).


Traveling by plane

Air Rarotonga (GZ) (Internet: flies regularly to 7 of the 15 islands: Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Mauke, Mitiaro and Penrhyn (Tongareva). The airline also operates day trips to Aitutaki as well as Rarotonga sightseeing flights. Flights can also be chartered.

Flight times

Aitutaki – Rarotonga: 50 min;
Atiu – Rarotonga: 45 minutes;
Mauke – Rarotonga: 40 min;
Mitiaro – Rarotonga: 50 min.

On the way by car / bus

Left-hand traffic. There are two roads in Rarotonga, the Ara Tapu paved ring road, which runs past beaches and through villages, and the older inland road.

The island buses (“Round the Island Bus”) run on Rarotonga Mon-Fri from 7 am to 4 pm and Sat from 8 am to 1 pm at regular intervals. The buses stop at many hotels.

Car rental:
Various companies and hotels rent bicycles, vehicles and scooters. Advance booking is recommended.

At the police station in Avarua, visitors can obtain a national driver’s license upon presentation of their own driver’s license and for a fee (also required for scooters). Minimum age 21 years.

Cook Islands Travel Guide



The following items can be imported into the Cook Islands duty-free (people aged 18 and over):

200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 1 kg of tobacco;
2 liters of spirits or 2 liters of wine or 4.5 liters of beer;
Gifts worth a total of up to NZ $ 250.

Import regulations

A special permit is required for weapons and ammunition.

Prohibited imports

Fruit, plants, meat, meat and meat products (except New Zealand). Narcotics, pornographic material, fireworks and explosives.


Business etiquette

Tropical suits or summer dresses for business appointments.
Business hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-4 p.m.


Chamber of Commerce (Chamber of Commerce)
PO Box 242, Rarotonga
Tel: 209 25th

Business contacts

Chamber of Commerce (Chamber of Commerce)
PO Box 242, Rarotonga
Tel: 209 25th



International direct dialing to most resorts and accommodations. The national telephone company is Telecom Cook Islands (POBox 106, Rarotonga, Cook Islands Tel: (682) 296 80. Fax: (682) 261 74. Email: Internet: International calls can be made from Telecom Cook Islands’ headquarters in Avarua.


Analog cellular network. Cell phones can be rented from Telecom Cook Islands.


In Avarua you have internet access in the Telecom Center (open 24 hours) and at the post office. Main provider: Telecom Cook Islands (Internet:

Post Office

Post office opening times: Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-4 p.m.


Since the use of shortwave frequencies changes several times over the course of a year, it is advisable to contact Deutsche Welle customer service directly (Tel: (+49) (0228) 429 32 08. Internet: to request.



There are only a few shopping options on the Cook Islands, but you can always find a bargain or two. Wood carvings, ukuleles made from coconut shells, the rare and precious black pearls, shell jewelry, woven fabrics, embroidery, panama hats, coconut mats and baskets are particularly nice souvenirs. Many tourists buy a pareu, a universally usable, colorfully patterned piece of cloth that you wrap yourself around; this is an ideal garment in the hot climate. The islands’ coins and stamps are coveted collector’s items. There is a large selection of duty-free goods.

Tiki Industries and Islands Crafts (Internet: have workshops in Avarua and Avatiu where you can buy wood-carved items. You can watch carvers at work in the Punanganui Market Square. Tokerau Jim (Internet: in Matavera on Rarotonga carves filigree shell and pearl jewelry.

In Avarua there is a colorful market every Saturday morning, with flowers, food, jewelry made of pearls or shells and clothing, among other things. On the stage in the center of the market there are always small performances like live music or traditional dance.

Rarotonga has numerous small shops selling groceries such as fresh vegetables, pasta, bread, canned meals and butter. In the supermarkets Wigmore’s Super Store or Foodland you will find a larger range of goods. Grocery prices are relatively high as almost everything has to be imported.

Opening hours

Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Some shops in the resorts open longer.



The nightlife in the Cook Islands is rather tranquil. You won’t find any cool nightclubs or trendy bars here. Many tourist resorts and larger hotels have a bar, such as the Edgewater Resort (Internet:, which is known for its cocktails. Some restaurants also have a bar. Most of them are on the island of Rarotonga, such as the Tumunu Garden Bar & Restaurant (Internet:, where the owners have been entertaining their guests for over 30 years and one of the oldest restaurants on the island. Usually one location is the party meeting point for the entire island every evening.

Throughout the year there are festivals celebrated with chants, dances and often with a strange mixture of traditional pagan rituals and Christian liturgy and hymns. The fabulous gospel choirs of the Cook Islands are famous and can be experienced in the Sunday services. On Gospel Day, which takes place every year at the end of October, stories from the Bible are told at gospel concerts in the open air.

The Island Nights, which are held in numerous resorts and hotels, are a special experience. Dance and music performances are presented at a banquet. The musicians play traditional instruments while the dances tell the story of the ancestors. Current event information can be found in the local tourist information offices and at the hotel reception.


Regional specialities

  • Matu rori(sea cucumber with lemon and cooked green banana; this dish is often compared to “spaghetti from the sea”)
  • Ika mata(raw fish marinated in lemon juice with coconut cream, onions, chilli and tomatoes)
  • Fried chicken in a banana leaf
  • Spicy papaya salad
  • Eke(octopus curry)
  • Rukau(leaves of the taro plant cooked with onions and coconut milk)
  • Pok√©(baked dessert made from banana puree and tapioca starch)

Useful information

You can take part in an umukai in the larger holiday resorts. At this typical Polynesian feast, the food is cooked in the umo, an underground oven. As a rule, an umukai is accompanied by traditional local entertainment.


Traditionally, a gift requires a gift in return, so tips are not common.

Regional drinks

Tumunu is a traditionally brewed alcoholic drink made from fermented oranges. In Rarotonga, the local beer Cooks Lager is brewed.

Minimum age for consuming alcoholic beverages

In the Cook Islands you can drink alcohol from the age of 18.

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