Saturdays in Rarotonga

Rachel Smith

We all love the weekend and Saturday is a great day to be in the Cook Islands. Many people aren't at work and most shops close in the early afternoon.

Punanga Nui Market 

Saturday is the big market day at Punanga Nui in Avarua. The market will be filled with fresh produce, delicious local food, art work and crafts, music and people. Early Saturday morning is the best time to get fresh local produce so if you are on a food mission then make sure you get there early. Otherwise sleep in and wander down when you are ready as the market is open until midday. Entertainment with live music and dancing kicks off on the main stage around 10am.

Local Village Sports

Saturday is also sports day so if you are want to watch some local sports action this is the day to do it. Premier games in the afternoons are always a social occasion and great entertainment, and there is usually food available. Main codes such as rugby union, rugby league, netball and football all play on Saturdays but there seasons may not be what you are used to. The best bet is to check in the local newspaper on Saturday to see who is playing where.


If you need to go shopping on a Saturday it would be best to get it done before midday. Come late afternoon then most of the shops on the island are closed. If you aren’t quite organised enough don’t stress as something will be always open. We have a few 24 hour petrol stations around the Island that most people visit to buy their groceries.

Museum & Library

For a cultural hit, Cook Islands Library & Museum in Avarua is open on a Saturday morning and Te Ara – Cook Islands Museum of Cultural Enterprise in Muri is open until mid-afternoon.

Beach Day

A belly full of food and a mind full of cultural experiences? Then the beach is the perfect way to cool off after a busy Saturday morning. Head to the beach for a swim, snorkel or relax in the shade. Muri beach is one of the many popular beach locations around the rock.


When its late afternoon and the sun is going down that means its cocktail hour. Visit a resort or bar on the west side of the island for cocktails and nibbles and enjoy Rarotongas breathtaking sunset.

Night Life

Saturday night is party night in Rarotonga – be warned though everything closes at 12am unlike Friday nights which most of the bars and clubs close at 2am. For a late night out head into Avarua to some of the party hotspots.

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.