Favorite thing: Although the official currency of the Cook Islands is the New Zealand Dollar, keep an eye out for Cook Islands Dollar coins. A Cook Islands Dollar is equal to 1 New Zealand Dollar, but while both currencies are acceptable in the Cook Islands, you can't spend Cook Islands Dollars in New Zealand.
Befitting this small exotic island paradise, its coins have weird and wonderful designs on them, quite unlike any I've seen elsewhere in the world.
The $1 coin is almost flower shaped and features a picture of the rather erotic Tangaroa fertility god on one side.....and Queen Elizabeth II on the other!
The $2 coin is triangular shaped with rounded corners. It features a picture of what seems to be a table with a bottle or vase upon it.
The $5 coin is a golden dodecagon (12 sides), featuring a picture of a conch sea shell on one side.
All three of these coins are mentioned and pictured on this "unusual coins" website.
Internet access at Muri Beach
Favorite thing: Upon arrival at Rarotonga, my mobile phone was unable to pick up a signal. I was staying in a beachside guesthouse seemingly miles from civilisation and I was feeling more isolated from the rest of the world than at any other time in my life!
I walked several kilometers along the beach from Vaimaanga to Muri Beach, passing almost nobody on the way. I was starting to wonder how my football team back home had fared in the previous day's football game.....and then I spotted it.....a wooden hut surrounded by palm trees and emblazoned with signs showing it to be an Internet cafe!
So, I paid a small fortune (approximately 10 GBP per hour) to log on to the Internet from this remote corner of the globe. The connection speed wasn't particularly fast and there were none of the other services (CD burning, webcams, headphones) that you would find in most Internet cafes.
This Internet cafe, located just behind the beach at Muri Beach, is owned and run by a friendly Kiwi guy, who boasts of selling the best milkshakes and toasted sandwiches on the island. Sadly, I never got a chance to test his claim, but we had a good chat about life on the island and how, without the Internet, he would be isolated from global events. Of course, the only global event that I was interested in was the Sheffield Wednesday result....and I was happy to learn that they had won 2-0 against Derby County the previous afternoon.
This is one of the few places to access the Internet outside the capital, Avarua. There are at least two modern Internet cafes in Avarua....but this hut at Muri Beach is surely the most relaxing place to log on!
Favorite thing: Unless you have a Vodafone New Zealand or T-Mobile USA phone, you can turn off your mobile for the duration of your visit as these are the only roaming partners of Telecom Cook Islands.
If you are really desperate to have your mobile phone on, you need to buy a local prepay SIM card - see http://www.telecom.co.ck for details
Favorite thing: 1. We got asked by staff at Aroko Bungalows (Muri Beach) to pay for our accomodation in cash because they "want to avoid the taxman". The owner lives across the road in a plush house overlooking the water. No wonder their countries infrastructure is absent. We talked to other guests who got asked the same thing.
2. When you leave, be sure to read the fine print at the airport. If you have any fragrances or other liquids which are not contained within self sealing plastic bags...they will take them off you and keep them. When we left, a few people had made the error while packing, due in part to the ungodly time you have to depart (1amish) Where officials could have the self sealing bags handy to assist people in this predicament, they choose not to, and end up putting your property to one side so they can take it home themselves to keep.
They are unapologetic about that. - Unbelieveable. Also beware of the $55 per person departure tax.
Fondest memory: The graves that litter the entire populated land mass, between houses, lining beaches, on the roadside - EVERYWHERE - ewwwwwwww! No thanks. - Weird.
If you have visions of splendor on the seafood front - I hope you like Tuna Steaks...thats about it. You can get Sword Fish too....but by and large - Tuna is it.
Watch out for late night drunk drivers and be prepared for 2 dollar shop style shopping. - bar a few furniture and clothing shops.
The beaches are okay, but the pictures dont show you the road that runs right behind the idilic photos you see. You will be constantly buzzed by tourists on scooters and other road noise as you lay on the beach.
Ill never go back - I recommend you look at Bali instead.
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
- Spa and Resort
Finding a coconut on the beach.
Favorite thing: If you have never been before, hire a bike and cycle around the island. If you do it on a Sunday morning there will be no traffic, and you can go to one of the hotels for lunch, or a cafe that has Friday or Saturday as its closed day.
Once you have done the whole loop at this pace, you will know were you want to go for the rest of the trip and you can hop on the bus.
Fondest memory: I loved just sitting and watching the sea gently lap on the shore, and watching the hermit crabs going about their business.
The day we found a coconut on the beach, and my husband spent an hour getting in. It tasted fantastic though.
Bring a lot of money
Favorite thing: The motorbikes were the best thing on the island.
Let me get to the point.
Internet = expensive and very slow
Food = $20 for breakfast
Most things are so expensive...It's cheaper in Paris
Don't be fooled into thinking that when you arrive they suck you into the hotel bus , call it a transfer then if you haven't got the transfer per-paid they hit you for $20 per person to the hotel. Absolute robbers...
In fact, when you leave the island, pay another $55 per person for some strange tax, so they locals can sit on their asses all day.
Then wait, if you need a plastic bag for your liquids, that's one more dollar...
If I wasn't going to my best friends wedding here, I would never have gone.
Further more, I will never go back nor do I think most people do... Once robbed, twice shy..
Fondest memory: None
- Water Sports
- Luxury Travel
Larger Ladies Will Love Raro!
Favorite thing: Larger-size women who dress modestly will find a wealth of admiration in the Cooks - skinny bikini-wearing women do not attract the local gentlemen, who find them unattractive.
Ladies, believe me - I'm not joking about this! Or overstating the case. They like their women zaftig. Feeling horrid or unattractive because you're not a successful dieter? Need some R&R from a stressful work life? Go to the Cooks for a romantic vacation! And, the more plump, the more beautiful.
When asked about your family, or number of children, be sure to be complimentary. Don't complain about your relatives, and feel free to mention how many children you've had - as you might not in a normal dating situation. A large, attractive modest woman is a sure hit! Have fun dating and dancing. ~~
- Women's Travel
Favorite thing: The main boat harbour is only very small, its home to the Cook Islands Navy, they only have one ship but at lest its real. The harbour is also home to many yachts that travel from all over the world to visit the Cook Islands. The local transport ships also dock here, they travel between the outer islands carring cargo and passangers
The local fishing charter companys are also based here at the harbour so all yo uhave to do is wander down later in the arfo and book a spot.
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