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FAQs and Travel Tips

1. Where are the Cook Islands?
2. How long does it take to get there?
3. What is a good time to go?
4. Should I buy travel insurance?
5. What documentation do I need to enter the Cook Islands?
6. What is the measurement system?
7. What should I pack?
8. Will I be understood?
9. What if I have to plug something in?
10. What about communications?
11. How do I pay for things?
12. Are there good medical facilities in the Cooks?
13. What if I want to drive on my own?
14. Getting married in the Cook Islands

1. Where are the Cook Islands?

The Cooks extend from just south of the equator (at its most northern island of Penryhn) to just above the Tropic of Capricorn (for its most southern island of Mangaia). To the west are the islands of Tonga and Samoa and to the east lie the islands of French Polynesia.

2. How long does it take to get there?

The Cook Islands (Rarotonga) is a 9hr 45 min, non-stop flight from Los Angeles on Air New Zealand.

3. What is a good time to go?

The Cook Islands enjoys lovely weather all year round. Some of the best times to visit are around the Christmas–New Year season through to April/May. Flowers are in bloom and fresh fruit in abundance. Some such as pawpaw, bananas and coconuts are available year–round. The days are longer, but its summertime, so enjoy those hot days lazing on the beach with a cocktail. Cooks winter falls between July and September; Summer is from December to April but the difference in temperature is only a couple of degrees.

4. Should I buy travel insurance?

Yes. But you donít need any special shots for the Cooks and there are no major epidemics or infectious diseases. The drinking water is purified at hotels and restaurants and there is bottled water available to take on the road.

5. What documentation do I need to enter the Cook Islands?

Stays of up to 31 days require a valid passport and a return ticket, adequate financial means of supporting stay and confirmed accommodation. Extensions are granted on a monthly basis – up to five additional months only.

NOTE:  It is the sole responsibility of the passenger to check which documents are needed to travel and have these documents in order before departing.

6. What is the measurement system?

Cook Islanders use the metric system for weights and measures and the Celsius scale for measuring temps.

7. What should I pack?

Keep it casual. Light tropical clothes for both men and women. It is best for ladies to take a sun-dress or comfortable dress. Likewise for gentlemen, a pair of summer trousers and island or polo shirt as most dinner meals are at casual restaurants.


Donít forget these essentials: Sunscreen, brimmed hats, sunglasses, swimwear, reef shoes, bug repellent, prescription medicines; sweatshirt or light wind breaker and still and/or video camera.

8. Will I be understood?

Yes, the official language is English and it is widely spoken throughout the islands.

9. What if I have to plug something in?

Wattage is 220 AC/50 cycle, the same as Australia and New Zealand. In some cases a two pin adaptor may be required. Northern Hemisphere travellers will need adaptor plugs suited for New Zealand to use dual–voltage appliances, such as hairdryers.

10. What about communications?

International telephone, phone-cards, fax, email, internet connections and services are available 24 hours from the Telecom Cook Islands Office in the main township of Avarua. When phoning the Cook Islands from other countries dial 682 then the number.


Several internet café's are located on Rarotonga and Aitutaki. WiFi is available at various locations. Colorful Cook Islands stamps make distinctive impressions on any mail and are keenly sought by philatelic enthusiasts.

11. How do I pay for things?

Currency
The Cook Islands unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar, supplemented by notes and coinage minted for local use. The unique local coins and notes are not negotiable outside the Cook Islands, but are keenly sought by collectors worldwide.

Banking
On Rarotonga
Westpac and ANZ banks in downtown Avarua are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm. Westpac is also open Saturday from 9amĖ12pm. Westpac Bank has an exchange and departure tax service available at the airport for all international flights; this is located at the International Arrivals Terminal. ATM service available at the main branches in Avarua, with ANZ ATMís located at Cooks Corner and Wigmores Superstore at Vaimanga, Westpac ATM is located at Oasis Energy in Nikao.

On Aitutaki
ANZ is located in Amuri at Mango Trading, open Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm. Westpac is located in Arutanga and is only open Wednesday 9.30am to 3pm. There is also an ATM located outside the Westpac Branch in Arutanga.

12. Are there good medical facilities in the Cooks?

Good medical and dental services are available and there is a well–equipped hospital with New Zealand trained staff situated in Rarotonga, with a smaller hospital in Aitutaki.


Some specialists and alternative medical practitioners are available in the Cook Islands and can be located through the telephone book. Various pharmacies are available for prescription medicine.

The outer islands in the Northern group tend to provide only very basic medical services and because of their isolation it is recommended that visitors with any pre–existing health conditions travelling to those parts of the Cook Islands check with their doctor on medical supplies to carry with them.

13. What if I want to drive on my own?

Vehicles are driven on the left hand side of the road in the Cook Islands. The maximum speed is 30 kmph/18 mph in towns and villages and 50 kmph/30 mph in unpopulated areas.


All drivers are required to obtain a Cook Island drivers license from the Police Station in Avarua on presentation of your own state, provincial or countries drivers license along with a fee of NZ$20.

An International Drivers License is also accepted. An additional charge is payable to sit a compulsory practical test for motor scooters if your license does not cover this. It seems that everyone who is old enough to drive rides a scooter. So if you want to get around like a local or drive a regular car on Rarotonga, there are a range of vehicles and motor scooters available to hire from rental companies at daily or weekly rates. A number of the resorts also have on site hire cars and scooters available. Bicycles are another option for exploring the island and are widely available for hire.

Taxis and a regular public bus service also operate on Rarotonga. The bus is a reliable economical means to travel, with buses departing on the hour and circumnavigating the island in approximately an hour with frequent stops along the way. The bus will also stop anywhere on request. The routes are labeled Clockwise and Anti–Clockwise.

Avis Rental Car and Bike Hire
Explore Rarotonga in a variety of quality vehicles at unbeatable rates. Cars, jeeps, mini buses, motor bikes or push bikes with unlimited kilometers. Optional collision damage waiver and there is Free pickup from your hotel/motel. Most major credit cards are accepted. Contact the friendly staff or book through any AVIS office worldwide.

Main Office Downtown Avarua next to the police station.
Open Mon–Fri 8am–4pm, Sat 8am–12 noon
Ph: +682.22833 or 22853 Fax: +682.21702.

The Airport Office is open for all international flights.

Aitutaki has hire vehicles, motor scooters and bicycles for rent, but no public transport options. For many of the outer islands transport can be limited in the choice of scooters and bicycles for hire.

14. Getting married in the Cook Islands

These are a few of the priceless moments that set the Cook Islands apart as a place of genuine warmth and friendship. There is no better place than the Cook Islands to share in experiences and creating memories that will remain with you for the rest of your days.

    Marriage Requirements:
  • Birth certificates
  • Be in the Cook Islands 4 full days before the date of wedding
  • $50 additional for waiver of 4 day waiting period
  • Divorce papers if previously married

All documents must be translated to a Certified English Translation if in a foreign language.

Copyright 2017 PacificIslands.com, All Rights Reserved . CST (California Seller of Travel) # 2098768-40

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