I get a lot of emails asking similar questions about the Islands. Please don't stop sending emails...I love hearing from people all over the world and I'll always write back, but forgive me sometimes if it takes a few days. In the meantime, though here are some of the most common queries and, more importantly, the answers as best I can provide them
The Cook Islands is one of the safest places in the world. Single travellers won't be hassled - it's not in the nature of the Islanders to hassle anyone. And if you're worried about going out at night alone...don't...don't worry that is
Crime in general is at a very low level. But behave sensibly and don't leave vaulables on view if you're on the beach. And the local police are forever reminding people that under the seat of a rented motorbike isn't a secure place either. That said though, as a visitor, you're more likely to be hit by a falling coconut or breadfruit than be a victim of crime (and that's a fact, not a joke!)
If your idea of a good holiday is looking for bars heaving with others from your own nation and having a loud, drunken time, go somewhere else in the world. Nightlife in the islands is what you make it. Rarotonga has plenty of places to go, but it's no Ibiza, Sydney or LA (thank goodness).
If you're going to the outer islands, you will have to ask the locals but don't be suprised if, they suggest joining in the bingo night at the local church hall! People make their own entertainment and it's a long long way from anything in a big city. I had some great nights in Mauke just chatting to the locals.
This is an almost impossible one to answer because it depends how your local currency compares to the New Zealand dollar. Australians and New Zealanders say the price of things is comparable to back home. People from the UK and Europe will find it inexpensive, although alcohol and basic produce such as bread is pricey. Americans and Canadians simply tell me it's good value for money. But anyone from the USA will be horrified at the price of petrol and diesel; visitors from Europe won't because it's similar to the price at home (but still not quite as expensive as the UK).
Accommodation ranges from backpacker places for a few dozen NZ dollars a night to the luxurious which is, not surprisingly, a lot more expensive. But wherever you stay and whatever you decide to buy, the scenery, beaches, crystal clear water and friendliness of the locals all come free!!
Yes. Entry visas are free. They're granted on arrival and last for 31 days or 90 days if you're a New Zealand ciitizen. You can stay for up to five months more, but you'll need to extend your entry permit a month at a time at the Department of Immigration in Rarotonga, and each extension will be subject to a fee. New Zealanders can apply for a single three month extension. And I would strongly suggest that if you're planning a long stay (lucky you!), you contact the Tourism Department in your own country before departure and get their advice. That way you can avoid delays on arrival
I can't even begin to answer this one. The immigration and employment regulations are strict and complicated. Work, even voluntary, is prohibited. You MUST contact the Cook Islands Department of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. Visit their website
I 'm sure you will be made very welcome. The only contact some of the more remote islands have with the outside world is through visiting yachts. But you need to go via the officially designated ports of entry. These are Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu in the Southern Group, and Penrhyn and Pukapuka in the Northern Group. I would also recommend any sailors to have a look at the Cook Islands pages in noonsite.com for specialist information for the cruising community. NOTE that there are still restrictions in place around entry to the outer islands because of the Covid pandemic. The government's health department website has the official details
I 'm sure you will be made very welcome. The only contact some of the more remote islands have with the outside world is through visiting yachts. But you need to go via the officially designated ports of entry. These are Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu in the Southern Group, and Penrhyn and Pukapuka in the Northern Group. I would also recommend any sailors to have a look at the Cook Islands pages in noonsite.com for specialist information for the cruising community. NOTE that there are still restrictions in place around the outer islands because of the Covid pandemic
Well, the obvious answer is to look around this website! There's information about every single island, and I've tried very hard to ensure it's accurate with the help of islanders themselves. In particular, have a look at the following pages:
FACT FILE : Everything from currency, health and internet access to language and driving Click here
COOK ISLANDS TOURISM OFFICES : List of addresses and contact numbers worldwide Click here
And if you want A UNIQUE INSIGHT INTO ALL THE ISLANDS "Around the Corner from Nowhere" is my new e-book available through Amazon. Proifits from sales are donated to dementia charities Click here