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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.

Rarotonga 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.

Favorite 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.

All 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.

April to October average 68 - 78F 20 - 26C
November to March average 71 - 82F 22-28C
Water Temp 74 - 86F 23 - 30C
Visibility 150+ ft 45+ m

Cook Islands Diving and Accommodations


Pacific Divers Rarotonga
PO Box110
Cook Islands
Ph. [682] 22450
Fax. [682] 22450

Daily Dive Tours- 2 dives per trip. PADI Diver Training. Free pick up service from all Rarotonga accommodation. Pacific Divers offers a comprehensive and enjoyable diving service catering for all levels. Dives include coral terrain dives, canyons, drop offs and drifts. Fish life is varied and includes Hawksbill and Green turtles, White Tip and Grey Reef sharks, Napoleon Wrasse, Giant Moray, Giant Clams and the myriad of reef fish and invertebrates you’d expect to see on a coral reef.


Palm Grove
P O Box 23
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Tel. (682) 20-002
Fax. (682) 21-998

Set in the enchanting area of Vaima on the stunning Southern coast, Palm Grove enjoys the peace and tranquility of one of the best locations on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Thirteen garden bungalows set amongst hibiscus and tipani flowers are complemented with thirteen beachfront bungalows set alongside our secluded beach. All bungalows have full kitchen facilities, aircon, flat screen TV and private patios. Rarotonga is renowned for its pristine beauty and offers activities from scuba diving to hiking. Experience the true paradise of our white sand beaches and clear blue lagoon, or enjoy our acres of lush, quiet garden. Sit back, relax, and find your own private piece of paradise!


Paradise Inn
Cook Islands
Tel. 682 20544
Fax. 682 22544

The Paradise Inn is a quirky little jewel on the beach opposite the National Auditorium, only minutes from great restaurants and the main shops of Avarua, Rarotonga. Join us on the deck for some whale watching and sunset drinks! All accommodation includes a kitchenette with microwave and gas stove, a fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. All just 3km from Rarotonga International Airport.


The Dive Centre - The Big Fish
Po Box 142
Cook Islands
Tel. 00682 20238
Fax. 00682 20238

You can dive Rarotonga in clear, warm waters with fantastic visibility and diversity of marine life which makes it excellent for diving and snorkelling or if you've never been diving before - we are a full service dive operation who can cater for all your needs and take you out for your first bubbles in a breath taking under water world. Either you explore the abundant fish variety of the lagoon right across the road in the Aroa Marine Reserve as a snorkeler/diver or if you take a trip outside the reef you will feel the difference that Rarotonga and The Big Fish has to offer.


Travel to Cook Islands

Rarotonga International Airport is the gateway airport for the Cook Islands.

Air New Zealand (to/from Auckland, Sydney, Los Angeles)
Virgin Australia (to/from Auckland)
Jetstar Australia (to/from Auckland)
Air Rarotonga (to/from Papeete)

Entry Requirements

A 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.

For 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 :

Principal Immigration Officer
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration
PO Box 105
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Ph: (682) 29347
Fax: (682) 21247

Getting Around

As 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.

Scooters 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. Cost NZ$10.00.

The "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.

Activities (besides diving of course)

Local products include black pearls, handicrafts of excellent quality, colorful clothing and electrical goods at very reasonable prices.

Enjoy a variety of Polynesian fare, as well as many dishes enfluenced by New Zealand, South east Asia, India and europe.

The 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.

The 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 costume.


Historic and other sightseeing tours are available.

Deep Sea Fishing
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.

Horseback Riding
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.

Helpful Tips

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 razors.

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 custom.




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