Rarotonga Travel Guide

  • Nightlife
    by pure1942
  • Things to Do
    by pure1942
  • Things to Do
    by pure1942

Rarotonga Things to Do

  • Backyard Shopping Tours

    Backyard Tours - fun, informative and great way to meet locals and how they make their products. Good way to hear their stories directly from the locals. We also bought locally made products with some discounts as well. Well worth it. Tour guide Arni was fantastic. She took us to places we could never have seen or been to on the island. It was...

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  • Backyard Tours Rarotonga - New Tour

    Backyard Tours - fun, informative and great way to meet locals and how they make their products. Good way to hear their stories directly from the locals. We also bought locally made products with some discounts as well. Well worth it. Tour guide Arni was fantastic. She took us to places we could never have seen or been to on the island. It was...

    more
  • Backyard Tours Rarotonga - New Tour

    Backyard Tours - fun, informative and great way to meet locals and how they make their products. Good way to hear their stories directly from the locals. We also bought locally made products with some discounts as well. Well worth it. Tour guide Arni was fantastic. She took us to places we could never have seen or been to on the island. It...

    more
  • Avarua harbor

    This Vaka, or traditional Polynesian ocean going boat, was moored at Avarua harbor. The harbor is a busy cargo port along with hosting pleasure and fishing boats. A second harbor is closer to downtown but is too small for many boats.

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  • Tinomana palace

    This the colonial age palace of the Chief of the Tinomana tribe on the western side of the island. the building was built in 1849 by the British for Tinomana Mereana Ariki, the female chief at the time. The palace is called Au mara " The peace brought by Christanity" in Maori.

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  • Visit the Saturday market

    The Te Punanga Nui market is organised weekly on Saturday morning (up to midday) and you cannot miss it. Besides fresh local fruits and vegetables, you'll also have the chance to see local hand made clothings, bags and other crafts. The market is well organised and not so crowded.

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Rarotonga Hotels

See all 19 Hotels in Rarotonga
  • The Sunset Resort

    Arorangi 123, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

  • Pacific Resort Rarotonga

    Bound to go to raro but reading the reviews written in here, it feels more threatening rather than...

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  • Crown Beach Resort

    PO Box 47, Arorangi, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

Rarotonga Restaurants

  • Autentic Italian home cuisine

    As Italian travellers, we can definitely suggest Stefano's restaurant as a perfect Italian restaurant. We really appreciate their cuisine because it rally tastes like home-made cuisine, as we normally cook in our houses. Stefano and Roberta, the restaurant owners, have been living in Rarotonga for a while, but did not lose their Italian way of...

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  • Excellent cuisine and beach dinner

    We visited the Tamarind House Restaurant for dinner, it was suggested by some italian people living in Rarotonga. The atmosphere is quite sophisticated, I see on their website that the restaurant also organises weddings and special events. If you are travelling on a budget, I suggest to keep this restaurant as an option for a "special occasion".We...

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  • lagoonside dining

    On Muri Lagoon beach is Sails a beach restaurant. Food was excellent but prices were a little higher than average.

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Rarotonga Nightlife

  • Cultural Show

    The complex consist of a recreated Maori Village, a buffet restaurant and a dance show. Very touristy but fun and good food.

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  • Whatever Bar

    This is a great place for a night out where you can meet locals and other travellers. At the weekend it is a very popular spot but can be quiet during the week. The bar is upstairs and has great views out across the coast making it a good spot for a sunset drink. There is a grill here too where you can get bbq fish, steak, burgers etc but didn’t...

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  • Island night

    The Island night at the Staircase restaurant is the best value fin town or a meal and a show....$25 for both and is on every Thursday and Friday night...the dancer's are so close they are almost on your lap....and beware!!! they will get you up to dance with them.....they also have a Karaoke night on a Wednesday which is a lot of fun. Pretty...

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Rarotonga Transportation

  • Transportation

    With a circumference of about 20 miles, a perfect option for tranportation in Rarotonga is the rent a bycycle. It's great exercise and trafiic is slow and light enough that it's a great option. However if its raining or biking isn't your thing there is bus service that circles the islands once and hour in each direction ( clockwise,...

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  • Air NZ

    Not many airlines fly to Rarotonga, but Air New Zealand does. From NZ it feels much like a domestic flight really.Since I wrote this tip over 5 years ago, Air NZ has also introduced a Sydney-Rarotonga service.

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  • Hire a scooter and have fun

    One of the first things to do on the island is to go and hire your self a scooter or motor bike, they are the best wya to get around the place, they cost from around $12 nz a day, very cheap. Having a scooter means that you can just get up and go any time you like, want to go to town, ok lets ok, jump on your scooter and your away. Running cost are...

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Rarotonga Shopping

  • Duty free

    Wine, alcohol and cigarettes tend to pretty expensive on the island but you can save a lot by doing your shopping at the airport duty free shops on arrival. The shops are pretty small but well stocked.Make sure you do your shopping before passport control. The shops are on your right when entering the airport building. Cigarettes from NZ$20 a...

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  • Bits and pieces

    There are small village stores throughout Rarotonga, and they don't tend to stock a lot, but it's a good place to pick up things like drinks and icecreams.Here's an example of the 'six til eleven' chain.

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  • Net Cafe rip off

    This place is by Aroa Beach and is a total rip off. If the dial up goes down, they charge you for all the time THEY spend fixing it, then refuse to refund you if you can't get online. They promised I'd get the full time I'd paid for if I came back another day (which was improbable), but refused outright to sign the back of the receipt or make a...

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Rarotonga Local Customs

  • Floral garlands

    Cook Islands Maori is the official language of the Cook Islands, but there are various dialects spoken including Rarotongan, Aitutakian, Mangaian, Pukapukan etc. The 'ei katu floral garlands worn by Cook Islanders depicts our culture as of Eastern Polynesian descent, an aspect that indigenous people are immensely proud of. Our customs and culture...

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  • Money

    The Cook Islands have officially used the New Zealand Dollar since 1995 and all New Zealand notes and coins can be used in the Cook Islands. However, the Cook Islands do have some coins and even notes that are still in circulation and can still be used as legal tender in the Cook Islands. The rare $3 note is a sought after collectors item but the...

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  • Cook Islands Maori

    There are 5 languages spoken throughout the Cook Islands but Cook Islands Maori and English are the two official languages. Cook Islands Maori is the language most often heard on Rarotonga along with English which is widely spoken. The language is closely related to New Zealand Maori and some words are very similar including Kia Orana (meaning...

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Rarotonga Warnings and Dangers

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    International Date Line

    by SWFC_Fan Written Sep 1, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Be aware: The Cook Islands are located just to the east of the International Date Line.

    If you are arriving from Auckland, New Zealand, as I did, make sure you are aware of what day it is!

    I departed from Auckland on a Saturday evening......and arrived in Rarotonga on a Saturday morning! That's right, after a 4 hour flight, I landed in The Cook Islands some 18 hours earlier than I set off.

    You won't feel the time difference too much though, The Cook Islands are 22 hours behind New Zealand....so the time difference is effectively only 2 hours in terms of having to adjust your bodyclock!

    Of course, when flying back to Auckland from Rarotonga, I crossed the International Date Line in the opposite direction and lost a full day!

    The Cook Islands

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Rarotonga Tourist Traps

  • DONBURGESS's Profile Photo

    STEAK WITH NO VEGIES

    by DONBURGESS Updated Jul 3, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Well if i could find a Tourist trap it would be the way you order your meal in a resturant.
    In australia when you order a steak you would get vegies as well, but not here, you have too order them as a side dish.
    So just make sure that if you want vegies you order them at the same time as your meat other wise you don't get any. Other then that the food is great.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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Rarotonga Off The Beaten Path

  • Fish like a local in Rarotonga!

    The best fishing day in Rarotonga!Your itinerary for the best fishing and 'off the beaten path' experience in the Cook Islands.1. Aramoana Cafe & GrillStart off with breakfast at the Aramoana Cafe & Grill. All day classic breakfasts that will keep you full while on the water.
2. Akura Game Fishing ChartersAkura Game Fishing Charters,...

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  • Walk to the Top

    Well there's a few island walks that you can do, the best would be across theisland from onesideto the other, need to be of a fari fitness.Take lots of mozzie replent with and some water, wear solid shoes as well.

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  • Rarotonga Hotels

    19 Hotels in Rarotonga

    2 Reviews

Rarotonga Sports & Outdoors

  • Snorkeling

    Rarotonga is an excellent place for snorkelling, most of the island is ringed by a coral reef creating a calm lagoon. In addition there are 3 coral area within that lagoon where fishing is prohibited creating sanctuaries for aquatic life.

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  • kayaking

    A great way to see the island is by kayak, the surrounding Coral reef makes the waters calm and a few hundred feet off shore is a great way to get a good picture of the island.

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  • Row, row, row your boat ... Vaka Eiva

    Vaka Eiva (literally Canoe Festival) is held in Raro each November. It is an international week-long event, drawing teams from Oz, NZ, Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, Guam, etc, as well as local CI teams.Polynesians have a seafaring tradition on great canoes going back over 5000 years (pre-dating western navigation of the oceans) so they take this pretty...

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Rarotonga Favorites

  • Bring a lot of money

    The motorbikes were the best thing on the island.Let me get to the point.Internet = expensive and very slowFood = $20 for breakfastMost things are so expensive...It's cheaper in ParisDon'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...

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  • Rip Off

    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...

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  • Larger Ladies Will Love Raro!

    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?...

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Explore Deeper into Rarotonga
The best way to experience Rarotonga by sea.
Things to Do
Pokata Marae
Things to Do
Cook Island Parliament
Things to Do
Pare O Tane Palace
Things to Do
National Museum Complex
Things to Do
Marae Arai Te Tonga
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Highland paradise
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Avana Stream Trail
Things to Do
Black Rock beach
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Raina Beach
Things to Do
Vaka Village
Things to Do
Cook Island Library and Museum
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Local institution with great view
Restaurants
Avarua market
Things to Do
Avarua
Things to Do
Muri lagoon
Things to Do
a new cool restaurant in rarotonga
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Great location, great staff!
Restaurants
Venture out at Night!
Things to Do
Sunset
Things to Do
Domestic Air Travel
Transportation
International Air Travel
Transportation
Bus
Transportation
Getting A License
Transportation
Scooter
Transportation
Turoa/Titikaveka Beach
Things to Do
Island Night
Things to Do
Diving
Things to Do
Cross Island Hike
Things to Do
Aro'a Beach
Things to Do
Muri Beach
Things to Do
Avarua
Things to Do
Adorable & Practical
Restaurants
Pizza by the sea
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Learning to scuba dive
Things to Do
Cafe in Avarua
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Great Seafood
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Muri Cafe
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Best Pasta Ever!
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Sensational food, views and service
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