10 Essential Items (Including Food) to Pack for a Trip to Rarotonga 

Rarotonga is the jewel of the Cook Islands. It is the main island and where you are likely to find most of your accommodation and activities during your trip.

There is so much to love about this island – the food is delightful, the people are kind, and the fun is unlimited. If you love the sun and the sand then Cook Islands Rarotonga is a paradise that will keep giving. 

But like any holiday, packing is often the most difficult part. While Rarotonga does have a range of shops, it may not have the variety you need and it can be expensive. It is best if you have everything you need for your trip in your suitcase.

From books, to rash guards, to snacks, this list will include everything you could possibly need for your trip to Rarotonga. 

A variety of footwear

There are a huge range of activities available on Rarotonga and you will need suitable footwear for each type. 

Make sure that you pack a good pair of walking boots for Rarotonga. This will help you to walk around the island and get everywhere you need to go. Sneakers are also recommended.

Make sure you take a pair of tennis shoes, or casual sandals. There is a lot of sand on the beaches so you will need a pair of comfortable shoes for walking on the beach.

Reef shoes or waterproof shoes are also necessary for snorkeling and spending time in coral reefs. 


While the food in Rarotonga is amazing, it can be difficult to source snacks – especially cheap snacks. If there are any foods that you particularly crave we recommend buying before leaving home.

However most of the islands in the Cook Islands have an incredible array of food choices. In Rarotonga, there is a wide range of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, grocers and supermarkets. It is possible to buy fresh bread and fruit almost anywhere in Rarotonga. There are plenty of restaurants and fast food outlets where you can find reasonably priced food. 

A couple swimsuits

Rarotonga is a beach island paradise and you will find yourself spending a lot of time in the water. It is important of course to have a range of swimwear available to you.

It should also include a range of more covered swimsuits to account for any activities you might do while there. 

Sun safety

When spending so much time at the beach you need to make sure you are protecting yourself from harmful UV. You should remember to bring sun safety items like sun cream, lip balm, sunglasses and sun hats.

It is also advisable to bring some sunscreen for use in the water as well as on your skin. The water is one place you really shouldn’t expose yourself to the sun. The rays can penetrate the water and can easily burn you.

Waterproof camera

When spending so much time in the water, you often miss the opportunity to capture memories. A waterproof camera will capture all the beauty and action of the ocean without having to worry about damaging the lens of the camera or the camera itself.

There are many ways that you can take photos while in the ocean. The simplest is to use your smart phone camera with a waterproof casing. 

New Zealand Dollars

On the Cook Islands, the official currency is the New Zealand dollar. You will need it if you want to buy items or make purchases. This will help you to avoid problems with the exchange rates. 

There are a range of ATM’s on the island – but if you are travelling to other islands it is best to have cash on hand.


A beach holiday is the perfect time to read that book that has been sitting on your bedside all year. This can be a relaxing time to relax and read. You may be able to read all day long. It’s a good idea to bring a book that you know will entertain you while you’re away.

Something warm

Even though Rarotonga is a warm beach paradise, you don’t want to be caught unaware if it is cold. So it is best to make sure you have a jumper that is warm and comfortable. You don’t want to find yourself shivering when you arrive at your hotel.

Mosquito repellent

Like any tropical destination, mosquitoes are in abundance. You don’t want to be bitten by mosquitoes when you are on holiday in Rarotonga. It is best to bring your preferred bug spray with you. 

A sense of adventure

Rarotonga is an adventure paradise and you should be prepared to get out and explore. You will be glad to know that Rarotonga offers a wide range of activities to keep you busy and entertained during your Cook Islands holiday.