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Cook Islands Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT -10.

Electricity

Electrical current is 240 volts, 50Hz. The three-pin flat blade plug with two slanted pins are used.

Language

Cook Island Maori is widely spoken by locals, but English is in common use.

Travel Health

There is little risk of disease on the Cook Islands, but visitors should take precautions against insect bites and sunburn. Outbreaks of dengue fever can occur, therefore a good arsenal of mosquito repellent and protective clothing is advised. Although no vaccinations are required one or two may be recommended by your doctor as a precaution: vaccinations for hepatitis A and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended.

Locals consider the tap water safe, but boiled or bottled water is advised for visitors, particularly to the rural areas. A range of medical and dental services are available on Rarotonga, including a hospital and various pharmacies, but medical facilities in the Cook Islands in general are limited and comprehensive medical insurance is advised to include air evacuation for emergencies. If you require medication during your stay in the Cook Islands it is best to take it with you; make sure you have the necessary documents from your doctor to get the medication through customs.

Tipping

Tipping is not expected and is contrary to Cook Islands custom.

Safety Information

Visits to the Cook Islands are usually trouble-free. There is relatively little crime, but it is always advisable to protect your valuables.

Local Customs

Inhabitants of the Cook Islands are very religious and frown upon inappropriate dress. Beachwear should not be worn in town, and topless sunbathing is a definite 'no-no'.

Business

The main business centre is Avarua on Rarotonga Island. Business in the Cook Islands is fairly casual, extending to dress (which should also be modest, particularly for women) and punctuality. Meetings will be conducted in English when foreigners are present, although islanders may speak to one another in Maori to clarify their understanding during proceedings, and is not meant as an offence. Meetings usually begin and end with a prayer. Business hours are generally 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

Communications

The country code for the Cook Islands is +682, and the outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City codes are not required. International Direct Dialling is available, but operator assistance may be required. In the main town of Avarua there is a telecommunications office (Telecom Cook Islands) offering international telephone, fax, email, Internet connections and other services. GSM 900 cellular mobile services are only available on Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

Duty Free

The following goods may accompany travellers over 18 years to the Cook Islands: 2 litres of spirits; 2 litres of wine or 4 and a half litres of beer, 200 cigarettes; 20 cigars or 250g of tobacco. Only travellers from New Zealand are permitted to import fruit, meat and livestock. No firearms, cartridges or cartridge cases, gunpowder, bullets, and other forms of ammunition are allowed without prior permission from the Minister of Police.

Become our Cook Islands Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Cook Islands travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Cook Islands or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.