What you need to know before travelling to the Cook Islands

WHAT YOU MUST DO TO TRAVEL TO THE COOK ISLANDS

Who can travel to the Cook Islands?

Anyone who has been in New Zealand for 14 consecutive days prior to departure.  If you are not a NZ Citizen or NZ Permanent Resident, you must ensure that if you leave NZ that you are legally able to return to NZ.  Refer to the Cook Islands Government Travel Advisory as at 13 May 2021.

All queries regarding this travel advisory can be directed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki) on email: [email protected]

Will I need to submit my information prior to travel?

YES. You MUST complete this contact form no more than 72 hours prior to your departure from New Zealand.

Please note that there is a dedicated help line available should you have difficulties completing the form. It will be available from Mon-Sun 8am to 9pm. All queries after this time will be attended to the following day. Please contact +682 56180 or email: [email protected]

Will I need to submit my information prior to travel back to New Zealand?

YES. You MUST complete this contact form prior to travelling back to New Zealand. This is a condition of your Quarantine-Free Travel. We recommend you complete this prior to departure from New Zealand so you don't have to worry about this on your holiday.

Do I need to use the CookSafe+ bluetooth tracing app?

You MUST download the CookSafe+ app. We recommend doing this before you depart New Zealand. The CookSafe+ app can be downloaded from the Google PlayStore, or the Apple Appstore, on most smartphones.

What other contact tracing will I need to use?

You MUST carry a CookSafe QR code card while in the Cook Islands, enabling you to scan in to businesses visited on holiday. You will be given a personal QR code card on the plane prior to arriving in Rarotonga.

THE BORDER BETWEEN NZ AND THE COOK ISLANDS IS OPEN

When can I travel?

Now. The Cook Islands border is now open to visitors from New Zealand.

Who can travel to the Cook Islands?

Anyone who has been in New Zealand for 14 consecutive days prior to departure.  If you are not a NZ Citizen or NZ Permanent Resident, you must ensure that if you leave NZ that you are legally able to return to NZ.  Refer to the Cook Islands Government Travel Advisory for more information.

Will I need to submit my information prior to travel?

YES. You MUST complete this contact form no more than 72 hours prior to your departure from New Zealand.

Will I need to submit my information prior to travel back to New Zealand?

YES. You MUST complete this contact form prior to travelling back to New Zealand. This is a condition of your Quarantine-Free Travel. We recommend you complete this prior to departure from New Zealand so you don't have to worry about this on your holiday.

Do I need a visa for the Cook Islands when coming from NZ?

When you come to the Cook Islands, a valid passport and a return ticket will allow you a stay of up to 31 days. New Zealand citizens are eligible for a 90-day stay on arrival.

Are visitors from other countries able to enter the Cook Islands?

YES.  The border is only between New Zealand and the Cook Islands.  Any eligible visitors from outside of New Zealand must spend 14 consecutive days in New Zealand prior to departing to the Cook Islands. It is the traveller's responsibility to be aware of and meet all immigration entry and departure requirements for New Zealand and Cook Islands under the current Quarantine Free Travel Arrangement.

Are yachts and cruise ships able to enter the Cook Islands?

NO.  The Cook Islands  maritime  border is  closed.

NO QUARANTINE IN EITHER COUNTRY

Do I have to do any quarantine or self-isolate in either the Cook Islands on arrival or New Zealand upon my return?

NO. You will not be required to quarantine or self-isolate in the Cook Islands OR New Zealand.

Will I have to go into quarantine in NZ upon my return if NZ has community transmission?

This will be determined by the New Zealand Government’s border setting at that particular time.

THE COOK ISLANDS HAS BEEN VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE REMAINED COVID FREE TO DATE

How many Covid-19 cases have there been in the Cook Islands?

NONE. We pleased to advise that the Cook Islands has been very fortunate to have remained Covid-19  free to date. 

Where can I find more information about Covid-19?

Visit the Cook Islands Ministry of Health COVID-19 Resources for more information.

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

Will I be required to take a medical test or provide a medical certificate before flying?

NO. However you  may be asked to take a temperature check  and/or answer health related questions when checking in  at the airport. 

Will I need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before I travel to the Cook Islands?

No. The Cook Islands is currently operating under a 4-level alert response system. Under alert level 1, travellers do not need to provide a negative test. Travel restrictions are imposed under each alert level. Visit the Cook Islands COVID-19 website to learn more about the Cook Islands COVID-19 alert level response system >> www.covid19.gov.ck

Will my temperature be taken before flying to or upon arrival in the Cook Islands?  

MAYBE.  You may be required to have your temperature taken at the airport before boarding your flight in New Zealand and/or upon arrival into Rarotonga. 

Will I need to submit my information prior to travel?

YES. You MUST complete this contact form no more than 72 hours prior to your departure from New Zealand.

Will I need to submit my information prior to travel back to New Zealand?

YES. You MUST complete this contact form prior to travelling back to New Zealand. This is a condition of your Quarantine-Free Travel. We recommend you complete this prior to departure from New Zealand so you don't have to worry about this on your holiday.

What do I do if I am sick right now?

Do not travel without first seeking medical attention and testing for COVID-19. Your assistance in minimizing risk to other passengers and country of arrival is required to enable us to effectively manage the spread of COVID-19. If you have fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, let a Health or Biosecurity Officer know immediately.

Other travelers with signs and symptoms of illness (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) may require additional health assessment.

BOOKING YOUR TRIP

When can I start booking my  quarantine free  trip to the Cook Islands?

NOW.  You can start planning and booking your trip now.

Who is flying to the Cook Islands?

AIR NEW ZEALAND. Currently Air New Zealand is the only airline servicing this route. Flights can be booked directly with Air New Zealand, through your local travel agent or online travel agent. 

Can I travel to Aitutaki and Atiu?  

YES.  Aitutaki and Atiu are the two most popular sister islands in the Cook Islands.  They, and our other sister islands, are accepting visitors from New Zealand.  Please visit our national carrier Air Rarotonga  for information on flight schedules to these islands. 

How do I book?

FLIGHTS: Can be booked directly with  Air New Zealand, or through your local travel professional or online travel agent.

ACCOMMODATION: You can book accommodation directly with all accommodation providers in the Cook Islands or by contacting your local travel professional, on our deals page, and online portals for flight and accommodation packages.

I had a holiday booked to the Cook Islands that was postponed due to COVID-19. How can I arrange a new date to travel?

If you have already booked your travel to the Cook Islands, it is recommended that you contact your travel agent/ airline and/or insurance company to advise them of the unforeseen changes to your travel. We recommend contacting your accommodation/tour operators to advise of any changes to your confirmed travel. Refunds/ reimbursements are at the discretion of the operators.

Can I use my travel credits with Air New Zealand?

YES. Go to Air New Zealand  and access your credits or contact your travel professional.

Will Air New Zealand be offering their full inflight services?

YES. Air New Zealand will be offering full inflight services, including food, beverages, and entertainment on flights between New Zealand and Rarotonga. You can choose between seat, seat + bag, the works  and  works deluxe. On some flights premium economy and business class are also available.

Can I buy travel insurance that covers Covid-19?

YES.  There are several insurance providers such as  Covermore, Allianz and Southern Cross offering travel insurance policies, but you need to check exactly what they will cover.

What happens to my flight and accommodation booking if travel is suddenly banned between the Cook Islands and New Zealand?

We recommend upon booking your trip to Rarotonga you also purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for Covid-19 related cancellations. However,  be aware that most insurance policies  will  not provide cover if a Government closes their border.  

IN THE COOK ISLANDS

Will there be any physical distancing measures in place in the Cook Islands?

NO. However  we recommend physical distancing where possible. Refer to the Cook Islands Promise .

What can I do to protect myself from others?

  • Practicing good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
  • Upon arrival, register for a CookSafe QR card to tag in at various locations;
  • Download and activate the CookSafe+ App;
  • Wash your hands regularly with water and soap or hand sanitiser;
  • Use good cough etiquette – cover your coughs and sneezes with tissue and discard immediately in the rubbish bin or cough and sneeze in your flexed elbow; and
  • Avoid close contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging)

Does the Cook Islands have contact tracing? 

YES.  CookSafe and CookSafe+ are the two official contact tracing systems in the Cook Islands. CookSafe is a unique QR Card that is used to tag in at CookSafe stations, and CookSafe+ is a contact tracing app which uses smartphone Bluetooth technology to register other CookSafe+ App users and NZ Covid Tracer App users in your vicinity. Everyone will be asked to download the  CookSafe+ Bluetooth app . Your participation means you are part of the national effort to keep everyone  Covid-19 free.  We encourage you to also register at SafeTravel to get the latest travel advice for New Zealand. Registering means the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, embassies and consulates can contact you in an emergency situation, provide consular assistance if needed, check on your wellbeing, or send you important information.

Will I be required to wear a face mask  while  in the Cook Islands?

NO. You will not be required to wear a face mask during your time in the Cook Islands. Please be aware though that this may change depending on any new Covid-19 alert levels issued. Also note that on flights, Auckland International Airport and Cook Islands Airport requires all travellers to wear a face mask on all flights, exemptions for children under 12 years.

Are there measures in place to ensure that my accommodation is sanitized?

YES. Please refer to your accommodation provider for details of their cleaning processes.

Will activity  operators, restaurants, cafes , and bars be open as normal? 

YES. All operators will be open as normal and ready to welcome visitors back.  We recommend pre-booking your tour or activity a few days in advance or prior to travel if possible.  It is always a good idea to make restaurant bookings in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Will servers at restaurants, cafes, and bars  be required to wear  Personal Protective Equipment?

NO. All staff will be practicing good hygiene.

Will  snorkelling gear be offered by sightseeing operators and resorts? 

MAYBE. However, we recommend buying your snorkelling gear locally or  bring your own. Please also check with your accommodation  or activity provider as some may no longer provide these  for guest use.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A COVID-19 POSITIVE CASE IN THE COOK ISLANDS

The Cook Islands has adopted a similar alert level system to New Zealand, utilising the four-level alert system.

What are the Cook Islands COVID-19 Alert Level Responses?

The Cook Islands has a 4-level alert system that is led by the Cook Islands Ministry of Health-Te Marae Ora. The current system has been developed to align with New Zealand’s Alert Level system where each level describes the different levels required.

  • Alert Level 1: Prepare
  • Alert Level 2: Reduce
  • Alert Level 3: Restrict
  • Alert Level 4: Lockdown

For more information on the Cook Islands Alert Level Response please visit: www.covid19.gov.ck or www.health.gov.ck

Are Covid-19 tests readily available in the Cook Islands?  

YES.  Call Te Marae Ora – Ministry of Health Healthline on +0800 1800 to seek more information. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.

Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show after a person has been infected.

If I develop Covid-19 symptoms while in the Cook Islands, what should I do?

ADVISE AIRPORT PERSONNEL OR YOUR ACCOMMODATION PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY.  Wear a  mask and isolate yourself from other people.  Call the Te Marae Ora – Ministry of Health  Cook Islands Healthline on +0800 1800 for further advice about what to do.

If I  test  positive for Covid-19 while  in the Cook Islands, will I need to  go into  quarantine  in the Cook Islands?

YES.  In the unlikely event that you test positive in the Cook Islands,  the Cook Islands Ministry of Health will support and advise you what to do.  A  quarantine order may be issued by the Cook Islands Government under the COVID-19 Act.

If I need to go into quarantine whilst in the Cook Islands what happens to my accommodation that I  have already paid for?

That will be dependent on your accommodation provider,  their policies,  and what insurance policy you have. You should check these  at time of  booking.

Will I have  access  to medical facilities in case of an emergency?

YES.  Rarotonga has its own hospital  including isolation facilities.

Will my medical treatment be free of charge in the case of an emergency?

NO.  There are costs involved for all medical treatment in the Cook Islands . Please visit  www.health.gov.ck for more information.  We recommend you take out comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking and ideally a policy that will cover for you for anything related to Covid-19.

If New Zealand closes its border while I am in the Cook Islands, can I still return home on my original booked flight? 

This will depend on decisions made by the New Zealand and Cook Islands Governments at the time.

Will I have to go into self-isolation  or quarantine in the  Cook  Islands  if there  are any cases detected there? 

This will be determined by the Cook Islands Government’s Covid-19 alert level issued at the time of any cases detected. Refer to the  Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health Easing of Border Restrictions Plan  .

Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

Visit the official Cook Islands Government COVID-19 Response website www.covid19.gov.ck

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Cook Islands Travel Advisory

CookSafe

CookSafe+

Cook Islands Promise

Te Marae Ora Cook Islands Ministry of Health COVID Information

Contact Form to be Completed Within 72 Hours of Departure

New Zealand Contact Form to Complete for Travel