Rarotonga's climate is equable, with little variation in temperatures year-round. The winter months are May to October; temperatures range between 18 and 28 degrees Celsius. The summer months are November to April and temps are 21-29 degrees. January to early May are the wet season months.
Getting around Rarotonga
The Rarotonga bus service runs clockwise and anti-clockwise between about 7am and 4.30pm daily.
Rental cars and motor scooters are available, but drivers must have a Cook Islands licence, which costs about $10.
Getting downtown from the airport
Hotel courtesy buses, public buses and taxis are available. To rent a car you'll need a Cook Islands driving licence. This can be purchased at the police station in Avarua. Temporary licences can be issued by rental-car companies, for a small fee of a couple of dollars. They're valid until noon the following day. Rental-car companies include Budget and Avis.
Rarotonga insider information
- Visitors are not expected to tip while on the Cook Islands. It's not part of the Islanders' culture. Also, Rarotonga is a conservative place. Even Rarotongan women will cover up for the beach. Dress conservatively.
- There are four coral islets off Muri Beach: Mo tutapu, Oneroa, Koromiri and Taakoka.
- The Takitumu Conservation Area protects native birds and plants, particularly the Kakerori, the Rarotonga Flycatcher.
- Rarotanga's cuisine is modern Pacific Rim - a fusion of Asian, Indian and French. Ika mata is a specialty on Rarotonga, it's fish marinated in coconut and lime. Ika mata, with taro (the leaves of the taro are island spinach) appear on "island nights" menus.
- The Saturday market at Punanga Nui runs from 6am until noon. This is the place to pick up black pearls, hand-woven baskets and wooden souvenirs.