While it used to be common for visitors coming to the Cook Islands to fill their bags with food, including meat and dairy, things have changed and you can find pretty much anything you need at the shops in Rarotonga.
So what few things do I recommend to visitors?
- Pack light when it comes to clothes. One long sleeved layer is all you need and you’ll probably leave your jacket in your bag so why even bother.
- A pareu (sarong) is a must have for covering up on and off the beach
- Jandals, and reef shoes or trainers if you plan to do some exploring
- Snorkel gear If your accommodation does not provide snorkelling gear it's BYO or you can purchase from one of our local shops Rarotonga.
- Sun protection – a sunhat or cap, and if you are bringing sunblock make sure it is free from oxybenzone and octinoxate to look after our coral reef. Or pop into CITC pharmacy when you get here and they can help you out.
- Food - We have great butchers here with bacon, prosciutto, salami, chicken, goat, lamb etc. And loads of vegetarian and organic food options too. If there is a food item that you must have at all times, like your super favourite cereal that you simply can’t start the day without, then bring that along. If by chance you can’t find the exact brand that you usually have, go local. Try something new and take advantage of the abundance of fresh and delicious produce and innovative products on the island.
- Mosquito repellant to keep those pesky mosquitoes away – again you can easily get this here though if needed.
- A good book or three
- Duty free alcohol so you can make piña coladas from freshly made coconut cream. Nothing beats it!
- A sense of adventure and a willingness to experience the island way of life.
Rachel Smith is a freelance writer who has lived in Rarotonga with her family on-and-off for the past seven years – she can testify that it is a very hard place to leave.