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5 Best Buys at the Punanga Nui Market

22nd November 2016

5 Best Buys at the Punanga Nui Market

By Emma Hardie

Photography by Craig Owen, Harvie Allison and Zhang Da Qiang

The Saturday Market on the island of Rarotonga is always in full swing from 7am til Midday with a range of local food, souvenirs, arts, crafts and entertainment. See our list of the best items available that you wouldn't want to miss out on.

1. Black Pearls – this is a highly sought after item while on holiday here in the Cook Islands. These pearls are harvested in the outer islands with many merchants selling all sorts of the jewelry at the Saturday markets (such as necklaces, earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets).

Black Pearl


2. Arts and Crafts (ukuleles pictured) – the Cook Islands are well known for their 8 stringed ukuleles and log drums. These are very popular items for visitors to take back home with them for themselves or as requested by other family members.

Ukuleles for sale at the Saturday Market


3. Brunch/Lunch dishes – the Punganga Nui market has a wide array of cooked food available, some include chicken kebabs, pork bun, wraps, fries, barbecued lamb, pancakes, waffles, and the famous chicken on rice with mushroom sauce.  There are also a few vendors selling pastries and baked goods which are also extremely popular with locals and visitors alike.

Local BBQ Chicken cooking at the Saturday Market


4. Fresh produce – with many types of fruit and vegetables grown locally on Rarotonga, there is plenty available at the market.  The most common available include bananas, starfruit, passionfruit (seasonal), tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, taro, watermelon (seasonal), and mangoes (seasonal).

Fresh Produce for Sale off the Back of a Truck at the Punanga Nui Market


5. Clothing – the Saturday market has clothing to suit all tastes.  From silk or tie-dyed pareo’s (commonly known elsewhere as sarongs), floral dresses (in many styles), and floral shirts; to singlets, t-shirts and jumpers bearing comedic text (e.g. 24/7 island time, I love Raro, Straight Outta the Cooks).

Dresses for Sale at the Punaga Nui Market



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