Accommodation and holiday advice on Rarotonga and the Cook Islands - from local experts.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ'S

This section of our web site is constantly being updated. As we get another question repeated by our clients, we include it here, in the hope that some of your important questions may be answered - before you ask them.

However, we do love to help, so please do not hesitate to ask any question relating to your future holiday - no matter how insignificant you think it may be...

Just click on the 'Ask Uncle Jeff' icon - and ask away...

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - FAQ'S

Do I need pre-booked accommodation to enter the Cook Islands?
When is the best time to visit the Cook Islands?
When is the weather the best?
How much does food cost?
Wine and beer?
What is the norm for tipping (gratuities)?
Which side of the island should I stay on?
Where are the best beaches?
How safe is the Cook Islands?
Will I have enough to do there?
How do I get around on Rarotonga.
How long can I stay in the Cook Islands?
What language is spoken there?
For Electrical appliances - what voltage / plugs?
Which properties have rooms with kitchen facilities?
Which properties are family friendly?
What currency is used in the Cook Islands?
Nude and topless sunbathing?

Do I need pre-booked accommodation to enter the Cook Islands?
Our immigration current policy is that you must have evidence of pre booked accommodation here when you arrive. The commonly accepted reason for this is to prevent anyone taking advantage of our people's natural tendency to hospitality.
Also
Most of our holiday complexes are small, and as we are a popular destination with many "very busy" periods, accommodation can be at a premium.

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When is the best time to visit the Cook Islands?
Whenever it suits you to escape your rat race!
The people here never change, and the season is a year round one (no "off season"), so everything is happening - all the time.
Accommodation rates are pretty well standard all year, though occasionally we are able to offer specials - see our HOT DEALS section.

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When is the weather the best?
As for the whole world, we can never guarantee anything to do with the weather.
Generally, our driest months are from May to October, and the warmest months from January to March. Daytime Temperatures range between 23 and 30 degrees centigrade pretty well year round, so it is usually sun bathing and swimming weather!

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How much does food cost?
If you are cooking for yourself - the supermarkets and local food stores provide almost everything you will need. The costs are probably a little higher than you are used to because of our small population and the cost of airfreight and shipping.
On the other hand, locally produced fruits and vegetables can be a bargain!

If you are eating out - the cafes and restaurants are plentiful - and so are their menus.
You can eat from $30 for 3 courses, or you can pay up to $30 for an exotic main course.
Or you can buy a full plate of local food for $5!
As always - you usually get what you pay for.

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Wine and beer?
We have plenty of wine, beer and spirits outlets, and the costs are reasonable when compared to overseas prices. Almost all restaurants and cafes carry liquor licenses and extensive fine wine lists.

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What is the norm for tipping (gratuities)?
Tipping is not expected in the Cook Islands. Nor is it customary. In other words - a kind word is appreciated as much as a dollar is.

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Which side of the island should I stay on?
It really is your choice.
Do you wish to be near the town, the restaurants, the beach, the mountains, the sunset, the sunrise? Just remember that the island of Rarotonga is only 32 km around so everything is nearby anyway. The island of Aitutaki is also small and it is not too far to anywhere.

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Where are the best beaches?
On Rarotonga, the beaches are pure white coral sand and run from the North-West to the South-East. The deepest swimming and snorkeling parts of the lagoon are in the South (Titikaveka) and South East (Muri).
On Aitutaki, the very best beaches are on the uninhabited lagoon motus (islands), but there are many fine stretches of white sand and safe lagoon areas on the main island too.
Most other outer islands have small intimate beaches - just perfect for couples!

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How safe is the Cook Islands?
From Insects and animals etc - VERY safe. There are no wild animals or snakes or poisonous spiders.
From People - Cook Islanders are a gentle race. There are very few (if any) places that you would be advised against visiting.
Cook islanders are basically a giving, honest people.
As with all societies, there may be exceptions. But they will be exceptions.
Common sense precautions against theft should be taken (just as you would at home).

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Will I have enough to do there?
Oh yes!
The selection of tours and excursions will keep you busy for weeks.
Then there are the local activities and sports that you are encouraged to participate in.
The nightlife is fun and safe and restaurants plentiful.
I doubt if anyone ever left the Cook Islands, having done it all.
I have lived here for 15 years and am still learning!

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How do I get around on Rarotonga.
There is a choice of:
Walking (remember you have to get back too)
Bicycles (about $15 per day). Most roads are flat.
Motor Scooters (around $20 per day) which take two and have lights!
Cars and jeeps (from about $45 per day)
Public buses (very reliable and cheap - and fun)
Taxis not so cheap - but still fun.
Aitutaki also has motor scooters, cars and jeeps for hire.

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How long can I stay in the Cook Islands?
Immigration policies can change so if you are considering a lengthy stay - you should check with the authorities here - or send me your requirements and I will get an unofficial answer for you.
Most visitors receive an arrival stamp in their passport which allows a stay here for up to a 31 days. Extensions for up to six months are usually possible.
If you are looking to work or invest here, then special conditions apply.

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What language is spoken there?
Cook Islands Maori ( Polynesian) is the official language but every local speaks English perfectly well. All signs are in English.
There is usually someone on the island who can speak your particular language if needed.

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For Electrical appliances - what voltage / plugs?
240 volts. Most good hotels and tourism properties have "multi plugs" to enable you to use your foreign appliances - as long as they are 240V.
Irons and hairdryers are standard inclusions in most accredited holiday accommodation.

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Which properties have rooms with kitchen facilities?
Check out our listings on this web site for "self catering"

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Which properties are family friendly?
Our site listings show you which properties accept children and which do not.
Generally speaking the smaller (boutique) properties which cater mainly for romantic couples do not accept children but most others do.

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What currency is used in the Cook Islands?
The New Zealand dollar is the official currency here but there are Cook Islands coins used also. They are souvenir items outside the Cook Islands because they cannot be exchanged.
There are two major trading banks on Rarotonga and some 24-hour automatic teller machines. Travelers cheques and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
All prices quoted within our site are in NZ dollars.

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Nude and topless sunbathing?
No.

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