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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 so 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 while a typhoid vaccination mayu also be required.

Locals consider the tap water safe, but boiled or bottled water is advised for visitors, particularly in 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 not acceptable behaviour.

Business

The main business centre is Avarua on Rarotonga Island. The business environment in the Cook Islands is fairly casual and relaxed. However, punctuality is important and dress should be modest, particularly for women. 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. It 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. As of 2015, the Moana Cable System has been under construction in order to cope with the region's increasing internet traffic. Hoping to connect homes and business, it is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

Duty Free

The following goods may accompany travellers over 18 years to the Cook Islands: 2 litres of alcoholic beverage or 4.5 litres of beer and 200 cigarettes or 20 cigars or 250g of tobacco. Fruit and vegetable imports are prohibited but meat from New Zealand will be considered if properly packaged. 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.