Information & Facts
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.
The climate in the Cook Islands is fairly constant. The rainy
season is between November and March, but the rain usually falls in
the form of late afternoon storms, cooling the air temperature,
which averages around 82ºF (28ºC) this time of year. The cooler,
dry season, when temperatures range from 70ºF to 80ºF (20ºC to
26ºC), runs from April to October. Severe weather is seldom
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.
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'.
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.
Electrical current is 240 volts, 50Hz. The three-pin
flat blade plug with two slanted pins are used.
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. 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 a comprehensive medical
insurance is advised to include air evacuation for emergencies.
Cook Island Maori is widely spoken by locals, but English
is in common use.
The currency of the Cook Islands is the New Zealand Dollar
(NZD). Foreign currency exchange is available at the airport and
two banks in Avarua, ATMs are also available in Avarua and are
slowly becoming more widespread. American Express, Visa and
MasterCard are accepted at restaurants and hotels in the main
towns, and travellers cheques in small denominations as well as
major foreign currencies can be exchanged at larger shops and
hotels. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm. Australian
dollars are the preferred currency for travellers cheques.
A passport valid for length of stay, proof of onward passage,
adequate financial means to support the stay and proof of confirmed
accommodation are required on entry into the Cook Islands.
Visits to the Cook Islands are usually trouble-free. There is
relatively little crime, but it is advisable to protect your
Local time is GMT -10.
Tipping is not expected and is contrary to Cook Islands