One of the highlights of any visit to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands is a trip to the Punanga Nui Cultural Market. Held every Saturday from 6.00am to Noon, the Punanga Nui Cultural Market is one of the more highly regarded traditional markets in the South Pacific and is a great opportunity for tourists to mix with the locals and sniff out some great bargains. Whilst it serves as a traditional marketplace for fresh produce, fish and the like, you will also find local chefs taking up stalls and serving up delicious hot and cold meals.
Fresh fruit and vegetables
As well as being a chance to wander around the stalls, it’s also a great opportunity to grab yourself some of the freshest fruit and veges on the island. People come from far and wide to sell their produce and only the freshest produce will cut the mustard.
There is also a great fish market where you can pick up the catch of the day. This is great if you are staying somewhere that provides self-catering options, however you can rest assured that the chefs at Pacific Resort Rarotonga will already have bagged the freshest and best catch of the day for Sandals Restaurant and Barefoot Bar!
Crafts, clothing and more
As well as fresh produce, there are also a number of stalls selling local craft items including some beautiful handmade quilts and black pearl items. You can also purchase a unique ‘Rito’ hat – a great souvenir or a gift for someone back home.
If you are planning on staying on Rarotonga for a while and you need to freshen up your wardrobe then there are also a number of clothing stalls where you can pick up a wide range of items in various styles.
Punanga Nui Cultural Market Tips
If you are planning on a visit to the Punanga Nui Cultural Market, here are just a few tips that have been passed down from our visitors:
- Don’t have breakfast before you go! There are so many delicious treats at the market and it is great to try out new things
- Go there early! The market gets really busy and all the best produce gets snapped up pretty quickly so don’t miss out!
- Try a Nu (coconut with a hole and straw in it)
- Get your souvenirs here – if you can wait for the market day to come around, it’s a great place to get souvenirs to take home
- Try one of the super fresh smoothies – they’re delicious!
Check with the front desk for the best bus to catch to the market. It’s just a short walk from the main town of Avarua and you will see the mass of people heading that way.