11 things to pack for your next trip to the Cook Islands!

Posted on May 15, 2019

So you’ve made the awesome decision to have your next holiday in the tropical oasis that is Rarotonga. You’ve booked your tickets and accommodation (at the Pacific Resort of course) and have enjoyed that great blissful feeling, thinking about your vacation to come. Then, a thought occurs. ‘What do I need to pack?..’

We decided we’d come to share some tips and list all the essentials you’ll need for your trip to Rarotonga and what to pack to get the most out of your island getaway!

1. Jandals/flip flops

We start with a few easy ones and probably the first things you’ll throw into your suitcase. Jandals, otherwise known as flip flops! Rarotonga’s beaches are outrageously beautiful with long beaches of soft golden sand. Your jandals are easily the footwear of choice for this and are especially good when the sand gets a little hot. Light and convenient, you’ll find these will spend more time on your feet than off them so it pays to make sure you have a pair that are nice and comfortable.

2. Swimming Gear and Casual Clothing

Another obvious choice is paired with one that’s not quite so obvious as we move into the clothing section of your suitcase. Swimming gear needs no explanation with our beautiful waters probably the main reason for planning your trip to Rarotonga in the first place. Casual clothing is recommended however for wearing in and around the town centre and the non-beach areas of the island. The Cook Island people are quite traditional in this respect and it’s not considered appropriate to wear your swimming gear beyond the beaches.

3. Sneakers

Even though you’ll be mostly wearing your jandals while out and about in Rarotonga there’s still a place for a good pair of sneakers. The reason being is that you’ll want to explore the island on foot with some stunning natural wilderness to discover via the numerous walking tracks. Our favourite of these is the epic Cross Island walk that takes you to a scenic lookout point near a summit called ‘The Needle’. The track can’t really be done with jandals so sneakers are definitely your best bet. Make sure you take some bottled water and some snacks/fresh fruit too!

4. Sunglasses and Oxybenzone free Sunblock

It doesn’t get much sunnier than Rarotonga but as good as the sun is, you’ll want to give yourself a little bit of protection during your time here. A good pair of sunglasses (polarised ideally) and some decent sunblock will keep your eyes from getting strained and your skin from getting burnt. Oxybenzone is a compound found in most sunblocks that has been related to coral damage, so in order to keep our coral reefs beautiful, please choose an Oxybenzone free product! There’s also nothing worse than getting burnt on the first day of your trip and suffering because of it for the next few days after. Depending on which part of the world you come from, you may find the Pacific sun a little stronger than you expect too so try not to make that mistake!

5. Insect Repellent

This is more a ‘nice to have’ in many respects as there’s not a huge issue with insects/mosquitos etc but like most places, after the sun goes down you can find yourself swatting at a few here and there. A small bottle of spray on insect repellent will help keep the bugs away so you can enjoy your evening strolls and cocktails by the beach without being bothered.

6. Reef Shoes

From protecting your skin to protecting your feet. Reef shoes are handy things to have when enjoying and exploring the shores and waters of Rarotonga. As you may know, Rarotonga is surrounded by a beautiful coral reef. What you might not know is that bits of it can flake off and be quite sharp underfoot which can be hard to see when wading the shallows. It can also be a little slippery underfoot around the lagoons and reef shoes have a slip-resistant bottom which will help you avoid any embarrassing falls.

7. Snorkel Gear

Along with your reef shoes, in order to properly explore the coral reef, you’ll want to have snorkel gear as well. It isn’t the end of the world if you forget because you can hire gear when you get there. However, many people feel a little more comfortable using their own which has been properly fitted and used over time. One thing’s for sure is that you won’t regret bringing them as the view of the marine life underwater is beyond words.

8. Waterproof Camera/GoPro

While witnessing the marine life with your own eyes will be amazing, what’s equally incredible is having photos to show for it. A camera/GoPro that is waterproof (or has a waterproof housing) is just the bit of kit that will help you achieve this. They’re no longer exclusively premium pieces of equipment either and are readily available at reasonable prices. The quality of imagery they produce is superb too when combined with the beautiful sceneries that await. You’ll definitely be the envy of friends and family on social media.

9. Drivers license

Rarotonga is a relatively small island that you can drive around in about 45 minutes. While they have taxis and car rentals, one of the unique Cook Islands’ experiences is to hire a scooter as your way of getting around. In order to do this, you’ll, of course, need to have a current drivers license. Licenses from some countries like New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada and the UK etc will be accepted but if yours isn’t you can always go to the local police station and get a Visitors Motorbike’s Drivers License.

10. New Zealand Dollars

While the Cook Islands have their own currency (with some really interesting notes and coins) they also accept and use New Zealand dollars. You’ll probably find it a lot easier to get New Zealand dollars than Cook Island dollars from where you’re travelling from and we’d definitely encourage you to do so. While credit cards are fairly widely accepted, it’s still a cash-based society by and large. This is especially true for the local markets in the evenings and on Saturday mornings which you’ll definitely want to visit to enjoy all the local delicacies and grab a few souvenirs too.

11. A Good Read

The whole point of an island holiday is to get some decent R&R and nothing pairs better with that than catching up on a good book. As soon as you arrive in Rarotonga you’ll find yourself on “island time” where everything slows to a point where time almost stands still. This makes it an ideal place to bury yourself in something you just haven’t had time for in the real world. There’s no better companion than a good book and there’s no place that rings truer than that than in Rarotonga.

Rarotonga! What to pack list sorted!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our recommendations for things to pack for your next trip to Rarotonga. With your packing all done and dusted you can focus on looking forward to what will surely be a relaxing and memorable trip!

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