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The Cook Islands are comprised of 15 beautiful islands in
the heart of the South Pacific with just 14,000 residents.
These unique and friendly Polynesians have their own language
and government and enjoy a vigorous and diverse culture
with significant differences between each island. Despite
some 70,000 visitors a year to the capital island Rarotonga
the Cooks are largely unspoiled by tourism.
and Aitutaki are excellent for diving, snorkling. The outer
reef area offers a diverse range of diving conditions. Canyons,
caves and many varities of coral make it a most unusual
terrain. There are also wrecks to explore and fish to hand
feed. Combined with warm water temperatures year round,
this a truly inviting destination.
dive spots to name but a few are the Ngatangiia Swimthroughs,
the Matavera Drop-Off, the Mataora Wreck, the Papua Canyon,
the Sand River and the Koromiri Coral Garden. The abundant
reef life among 73 types of live coral features hundreds
of fish species, a bonanza for underwater photographers.
Experts rate the reef drop-off as the highlight for divers
off Rarotonga. This begins at about 100 feet and plunges
down to 12,000 feet -- Rarotonga is an extinct volcano.
diving is land based with the diving boats in the 16 to
22 ft (5 to 7 meter) size range offering personalized diving.
Trips usually depart in both the morning and afternoon.
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Travel to Cook Islands
Island Air Travel
Upon departure all visitors will be charged the following
taxes: Adults NZ$25.00, Children under 12 years NZ$10.00,
Children 2 years and under are free of charge. This must
be paid upon departure, and is not included as part of prepaid
taxes with airline tickets.
bona-fide visitor (any person who enters the Cook Islands
solely for recreation or vacation/holiday), does not require
an entry permit, provided he/she possesses proof of onward
passage (booked and paid) for stays of not more than 31
days. Extension permits are usually granted for visitors
wanting to stay over 31 days. All visitors are required
to have a valid passport, proof of onward passage, adequate
financial means of supporting stay, and suitable accommodation.
Applications can be made upon arrival at the Immigration
Department. Extensions are granted on a monthly basis, up
to 5 additional months only. A fee is payable with each
application within 14 days prior to the expiration of the
permit. Extensions are granted at two levels. Up to three
months NZ$70.00 (15 years and older), up to five months
NZ$120.00 (15 years and older). Children under 15 years
of age are exempt from charges but must report to Immigration
for official paperwork to be completed.
those wanting to stay in the Cook Islands longer than 6
months, must apply for a visa from their home territory,
prior to their arrival in the Cook Islands. Please direct
applications to :
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration
PO Box 105
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Ph: (682) 29347
Fax: (682) 21247
the entire island of Rarotonga is only 32 kilometers in
circumference, getting around is easy. There are two main
roads on Rarotonga, you can circle the island on the Ara
Tapu sealed road, through the villages and past the beaches;
or you can take the older inland road, which winds through
fields of taro, pawpaw, bananas and local farmlands.
are a popular, fun way to see the sights. Scooters as well
as bikes, cars and jeeps are available from local rental
agencies. Driving is on the left hand side of the road.
Drivers of all vehicles are required to have a current Cook
Islands Drivers Licence available from the Police Station
in Avarua on presentation of your own current drivers licence.
"Island Bus" offers a convenient low cost methosd
of transport, operating regular schedules around the island.
It will pick you up and let you off anywhere on request.
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Local products include black pearls, handicrafts of excellent
quality, colorful clothing and electrical goods at very
Enjoy a variety of Polynesian fare, as well as many dishes
enfluenced by New Zealand, South east Asia, India and europe.
traditional Polynesian feast is known as the umukai, and
involves baking food in an underground oven. The umu is
the underground oven, a deep pit filled with scorching hot
stones from mountain streams. Damp sacking and shredded
banana trunks are placed over the hot stones which soon
causes rising of steam. The traditional food is known as
kai and consists of chicken, pork, fish and vegetable dishes.
The kai is placed in the umu, whereupon everything is covered
up with more leaves and earth and allowed to steam for around
two hours, keeping in all the natural juices of the food.
feast is followed by enthralling entertainment - kariori.
Guests are greeted with the fast paced tempo of drums, followed
by sensual dancing by island men and women dressed in traditional
and other sightseeing tours are available.
The waters offshore are ideal conditions for wahoo, barracuda.
dolphin fish, yellowfin and skipjack tuna, sailfish and
marlin. Inshore look for bonefish, trevally, cod, snapper
and other reef fish.
Many resorts offer windsurfing equipment, or it can be rented
from a number of local specialists.
Inter island excursions, day cruises, glass bottom boat
tours are all available.
Enjoy cross island walks, mountain hikes and beautiful waterfalls.
Ride the island trails, along the beach, and past waterfalls.
Play 9 holes at the Raratongan Golf Club. There are pro
shops and rental equipment is available.
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Although dress is informal, swimsuits or revealing attire
should not be worn when visiting town or villages. Nude
or topless sunbathing is also offensive. And while the Cook
Islands have a tropical climate, a light sweater may come
in handy for the cooler evenings during July and August.
Voltage is 220 AC/50 cycle, the same as New Zealand and
Australia. In some cases, a two pin adapter may be required.
Some hotels and motels have provisions for 110 volt AC electric
Some visitors prefer to boil water before use, but it is
not necessary. Bottled water is available from the local
shops for those who wish to purchase.
Tipping is not expected and is contrary to Cook Islands