The supermarket check out in down town Avarua...And the supermarket itself.  There's a good range of fresh and packaged food, mostly from New Zealand.
Population 10,572
25.9 sq mls/67.1 sq. kms



Scooters are the main form of transport.  Tourists need a Cook Islands driving licence (NZ$20) from police headquarters in town.  You must produce a current full licence from your own country.  If you're planning to hire a motorbike or scooter, you'll also have to take a short test...to prove you know how to go round the only roundabout on Raro! (pictured above left)
WELCOME TO TOWN
Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands and the capital, Avarua is the main commercial and administrative centre.  Locals just call it "town".

FINDING RAROTONGA
Early Polynesian settlers found the island by sailing raro (down) and tonga (to the south) of French Polynesia.   Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia find it easily now with regular flights into the island from New Zealand, the USA and Australia.   And as soon as you step off the plane, you know you've arrived somewhere very special...

"MAY YOU LIVE LONG"
A straw hatted Islander stands in the corner of the arrivals area in Rarotonga airport strumming Polynesian love songs on a banjo, as you queue up (for minutes, not hours!) to get your passport stamped.   Immigration and customs are efficient but very friendly, welcoming you with words that will quickly become familiar because everyone greets you with them... "kia orana" meaning "may you live long".
Cook's Island Bus is an inexpensive way of travelling.   It goes all round the island and stops anywhere you want to get on or off.  You only need to decide if you want to go clockwise or anti-clockwise!
Check the timetable

Service with a genuine smile
Muri lagoon from the air
Another day in paradise
Muri Beach: you can snorkel on the reef (a marine conservation park) or walk across to the uninhabited islands in the lagoon - or both!
What do and where to go
Access: 
Daily International Flights



Jake Numanga Senior has been welcoming visitors with songs and music for more than 20 years.  He was honoured for his services to tourism with an MBE from HM The Queen
Scooting around Rarotonga
Cook's Island Bus
The Capital Island
Rarotonga supermarket
Video clip
Jake's tuneful welcome to Rarotonga
Empty beaches
Rugged Rarotonga
Sunrise
An island of contrasts...the rugged interior and the palm fringed beaches
It's worth getting up early to watch the sun rise
Roadside shopping
The only roundabout in Raro
Or you can just browse in one of the roadside shops outside of town
Don't be surprised to see gravestones in the gardens of homes as you travel round the island.  Islanders are often buried on family land and the graves tended lovingly
7 day shopping finally reached Rarotonga in 2009 with the opening of this petrol station and mini supermarket.  But nearly everywhere else is still closed on Sundays as most islanders  head for church.
Tangaroa carving
This is Tangaroa, an ancient god whose image you'll see all over the place and an unofficial symbol of the Islands.  Smaller versions of this wooden carving are popular souvenirs!
Open all hours
Family graves in the garden
Continue the tour
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The Punanga Nui cultural market near the harbour is a must visit for tourists and islanders alike.  It's open daily from 8 till 4, but the main market day is Saturday (6am- 2pm).
More about the market
Location map
New airport terminal exterior
Continue the Rarotonga tour
STAYING IN RAROTONGA
Remote doesn't mean rough and ready when it comes to staying on the capital island.   Rarotonga has a wide choice of places from the luxurious to the cheap and cheerful backpacker type. 
Pacific Resort Rarotonga beach front room
Right on Muri beach in Rarotonga
Award winning Little Polynesian
I can personally recommend the Pacific Resort Rarotonga (left and centre) which is in the prime position on Muri beach.  The Little Polynesian (right) in Titikaveka is also a premier property and both are international award winners

Vara's budget accommodation
Vara's is a budget property also on Muri beach
Aro'a beachside inn
Aro'a Beachside Inn in Arorangi is highly rated on review sites
Cultural market entrance
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