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Simple Polynesian Pleasures

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While it’s the hub of business and activity in the Cook Islands, Rarotonga still offers an easy pace and simple Polynesian pleasures. Snorkeling and diving, hiking and nature walks, and cycling or scootering around the island are favorite ways to pass the time in paradise.

Rarotonga Hotels

More About Rarotonga


Little known to the wider world, Rarotonga, the capital of the scattered nation of the Cook Islands, is a relaxing and easygoing place of beauty and style. Its small population, around 10,000 by disputed estimates, lives on the coast of the circular island, while the interior is lush, rugged, and jungle-clad, offering even the day-tripper the opportunity for challenging walks and sensational views. Since it's a former colony of New Zealand, it has the distinct feel of a New Zealand Polynesian outpost—including New Zealand newspapers and television—as well as the distinctive accent. It has long been believed that New Zealand's indigenous Maori people originally hailed from Rarotonga, which means “south wind.”

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Before You Go

Airport Check-In: It is recommended that you reconfirm your flight information and check in for your flights at the airline’s website 24 hours prior to your scheduled departure. Please bring all your final documents with you. It is important to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to departure for all domestic flights, and two to three hours prior to departure for international flights. For domestic flights within the Cook Islands, you are required to check in one hour prior to departure.

Required Documents: U.S. citizens must travel with a valid passport and a ticket for return or onward travel. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens might be different, and visitors are encouraged to verify the documentation/visa requirements with the nearest consulate or embassy. Rules are subject to change at any time, without notice. For the most current information, please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov.

Newlywed Information: Tickets and other travel documents must exactly match your current passport and other identification. If not, you could be denied boarding and no refund will be forthcoming. For requirements and information regarding marriages performed in a foreign country, please visit the consulate of the particular country.

Honeymoon Packages: Some hotels require you to present a marriage certificate or license in order for you to receive the honeymoon package. Please bring your marriage documentation with you if you are traveling on a honeymoon package.

Luggage: Baggage allowances and fees vary by airline. For airline baggage fees and policies please visit https://www.costcotravel.com/Info/Airline-Baggage. If baggage fees do apply, this cost will be additional and must be paid directly to the airline.

Duty Free/Customs: When returning to the U.S., the duty-free allowance may vary by country. Please visit http://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens for information regarding U.S. Customs and more.

Travel Health Information: For the most current worldwide health information, consult your family physician or the official website for the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/travel or by phone at 1-800-232-4636. You’ll find information on recent outbreaks, required vaccinations, insect protection, illness and injury abroad, and more.

General Safety Tips: By taking a few simple security precautions before and during your vacation, you can help ensure that you, your traveling companions, and your valuables are as safe and secure as possible.
  • To make it easier to replace your passport if it’s lost or stolen, in addition to your passport, take a photocopy of your passport information page (keeping it separate from your actual passport).
  • Carry only a limited amount of cash, just enough for gratuities and incidental purchases. Major credit cards are widely accepted and can be replaced if lost or stolen.
  • Always lock your hotel room door (including patio and balcony door on any level of the building) and use the peephole before opening the door.
  • Store your valuables (such as cash, credit cards and airline tickets) in the hotel’s in-room safe or front desk safety deposit box.
  • If you must carry valuables on your person, do so in a pouch or money belt concealed under your clothing. Purses and backpacks can be easy targets for thieves.
  • For complete and current safety and security information, including travelers’ tips, public announcements, travel advisories and more, please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov.

Average Fahrenheit Temperature:
May through September: 66° to 77°
October through April: 70° to 82°

Water Safety: Bottled water is recommended.

Local Currency: New Zealand Dollar

Currency Information: Currency exchange facilities can be found at the airport, banks and most hotels. Major credit cards and travelers checks are accepted at most hotels, restaurants and shops.

Electricity: The voltage is 240DC/50 cycle. A universal adapter/converter is recommended.

Telephone Information: Direct dialing for local and international telephone calls is available from most hotels and from most public phone booths.

Local Language: English | Maori

Attire: Although dress is informal, brief attire is not recommended when visiting towns or villages.

Do Not Forget: Visitors are reminded to bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, reef walking shoes, swimwear, insect repellent and after-bite medication, personal prescriptions, a camera, film/memory card, an extra camera battery and a disposable underwater camera. During the rainy season, lightweight rainwear is advised.


The weather in Rarotonga changes very little throughout the year. In winter, running from May to October, the daytime temperatures are between 77º and 80ºF. In summer, running from November to April, temperatures top out at between 81º and 84ºF. January to early May the island sees most of its rainfall for the year.

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Top Experiences

  • Taking a Stroll : The main town of Avaru is best seen on a gentle stroll, and Cook Islanders, being an unhurried people, seem to appreciate folk who move with slow grace. Most things of interest to tourists can be found in a small area near the waterfront.

  • Shopping for Pearls : These days the Cook Islands mean one thing for most visitors: black pearls. Two atolls to the north, Manihiki and Penrhyn, cultivate them. Many shops around the island sell these precious items.

  • Hitting the Trail : Rarotonga is rightly celebrated for its interior. The Cross-Island Track, which can take up to a day to hike, is often the highlight for visitors. Obviously it is hard to get lost on such a small island, but the interior is surprisingly rugged and thick with jungle.

  • On the High Seas : The Rarotonga Sailing Club is a great place for renting canoes and other small vessels for exploring the island's sandy shoreline.

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Make the most of your vacation by including an activity when you book your package. Please note, activities and tour credits are only available with a vacation package.

Aitutaki Day Tour

This award winning, full-day excursion features one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world. You’ll be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for a scenic 45-minute flight to Aitutaki. As you approach the island, the view is spectacular as the tiny offshore islets, known as motus, appear like beads strung along the protective coral reef and white sand beaches appear whiter with the morning sun. After a tour of the main township of Arutanga, board a 70-foot, traditionally designed catamaran. The slow cruise across the lagoon to the top reef will take you past many of the offshore motus. While you are in the water snorkeling, your crew will prepare and cook lunch on board the catamaran. This is the best restaurant setting with the best view around. Take your passport with you as you can get an “arrival” stamp on the famous One Foot Island Post Office. The swimming is fantastic on One Foot Island. After a relaxing cruise back to the main island, you will catch your return flight to Rarotonga. Meet and greet includes flower Lei, voucher exchange, itinerary briefing and document check. For the flight to Aitutaki, Air Rarotonga allows each person to carry on personal items weighing no more than 15 pounds (7 kilograms).

Additional Information

Tour Details

Tour Duration: Approximately 10 hours

Tour Highlights
  • Scenic 45-minute flight from Rarotonga to Aitutaki and return
  • Swimming and snorkeling the clear turquoise waters of the Aitutaki Lagoon
  • Lagoon cruise on a 70-foot traditionally designed catamaran
  • Aitutaki township tour and One-Foot Island visit

Age Group(s)
  • Adult 12+
  • Children 2 to 11
  • Infant 0 to 1

Tour Inclusion(s)
  • Transfers to and from Rarotonga accommodations
  • Interisland flight Rarotonga to Aitutaki to Rarotonga
  • Island tour of Aitutaki
  • Lagoon cruise and BBQ lunch
  • Towels and snorkeling gear
Days of Operation:
  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Departs Between
  • 6:30   a.m. and 7:15   a.m.
Pick-Up Point(s)
  • Hotel reception
Suggested to Bring
  • Change of clothing, hat, sun protection, insect repellant and camera
Cancellation Policy
  • A 50% cancellation fee will apply if the reservation is cancelled within seven days prior to arrival. A 100% cancellation fee will apply for no-shows. The Aitutaki weather is checked each morning before departure from Rarotonga. In the event of cloudy and/or wet conditions that prompt Air Rarotonga to cancel the day tour, guests are given the choice of rebooking for another day with no cancellation penalty or surcharges.
Additional Information
  • To confirm or change your reservation during your stay, please call Island Hoppers on Rarotonga at 220-26.


Region: Rarotonga

Instructions: Transfers in Rarotonga are provided by your hotel. Details will be included on your travel vouchers.

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