Airport Transport in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands
How are you going to get between the airport and your accommodation? On the tourist hotspot of Rarotonga, there’s a multitude of options that can’t help but befuddle first-time visitors. In this guide to the best airport transfers in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, we list all of your options so you find the best one for you. On the outer islands, airport transfers are a lot more straightforward, usually organised by your accommodation.
All in all, landing on a new island to the traditional Cook Islander custom of being greeted with a fresh floral ‘ei (neck garland) and an enthusiastic “Kia Orana” is a real Cook Islands experience!
1. Cook Islands Tours
Greeting arrivals at Rarotonga International Airport with a friendly smile, Cook Islands Tours offers economical shared transfers, as well as private “VIP” transfers. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be greeted at the airport with a floral ‘ei, a bottle of water and a refreshing towelette. If you choose Cook Islands Tours for your return transfers, you’ll not only get further discounted rates but a shell ‘ei gift. Note that they also offer cheaper transfers for domestic arrivals from the outer islands.
Book shared shuttle transfers from the airport to your accommodation here on Viator, shared transfers back to the airport here on Viator, VIP arrival transfers on Viator, and VIP departure transfers on Viator. Plus, check out Cook Island Tours’ guided tours and progressive dinner experience in the 10 Best Tours in the Cook Islands.
2. Raro Tours
Also offering shared and private airport transfers from Rarotonga International Airport, Raro Tours is worth considering. Their air-conditioned buses provide a comfortable shared ride straight to (or from) the doorstep of your accommodation with a chilled bottle of water and floral ‘ei included – or there are discounted rates to opt out of the water and ‘ei. Alternatively, treat yourself to a private transfer where you’ll be greeted with a bottle of water, a complimentary juice, a small bottle of sparkling wine and, of course, a floral ‘ei. Discounted fares are available for children and departure transfers, as well as for domestic flight transfers.
3. Kaimani Shuttles Rarotonga
No matter where you’re going on the island, Kaimani Shuttles Rarotonga offers the same set rate for everyone on their air-conditioned shared minibus. The small local family business has competitive rates and some of the best child rates available, making for a good go-to for families. On arrival, you’ll be greeted with a welcome sign and gifted a floral ‘ei, as well as a chilled bottle of water for the journey.
Another option for airport transfers from Rarotonga Airport is taxis. Taxis are available for all international arrivals to Rarotonga, typically offering flat rates per person to your chosen destination. There’s a taxi kiosk at the arrivals area after you’ve gone through customs and biosecurity. Learn more about using taxis for your airport transfer from our guide, How Much Does a Rarotonga Airport Taxi Cost?
5. Rarotonga’s Public Bus
If your flight is arriving or departing Rarotonga between 7am and 10pm, Monday to Saturday, the public bus service of Rarotonga offers a cheaper airport transfer. There are two buses circling Rarotonga’s main road every hour, one running clockwise while the other travels anticlockwise. All you need to do is walk across the airport car park to the side of the main road, opposite the RSA, and wave the bus down when you see it approaching. Learn more about catching the bus in The Bus in Rarotonga: Bus Fares, Timetable & More, as well as the airport bus stop locations in The Cheapest Airport Transfers in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
6. Rarotonga Accommodation Airport Transfers
Before you go book your airport transfer, just double-check that your accommodation doesn’t offer transfers for cheaper or even for free! Many accommodations offer airport transfers for guests, usually for around NZ$20-$30 per person each way, so be sure to inquire.
Accommodations with Free Airport Transfers
Accommodations offering free airport shuttles include:
7. Aitutaki and Outer Island Airport Transfers
On the outer islands of the Cook Islands, such as Aitutaki, Mangaia, Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke and even the Northern Group, it’s almost a given that your accommodation will provide a “meet-and-greet” at the airport complete with floral ‘eis! Usually, this is offered at no extra cost. Simple!
8. Vehicle Rental Airport Delivery
Finally, if you’re planning on hiring a vehicle for the duration of your stay in the Cook Islands, consider getting your vehicle delivered to the airport. It will be ready in the airport car park for you to pick up on arrival. On Rarotonga, there is a fee for picking up vehicles at the airport – usually around NZ$30-$40. Compare car rentals on Rarotonga (as well as see which rental company offers airport pick-ups for free) in the 7 Best Car Rentals in Rarotonga. On the outer islands like Aitutaki, for example, car rental companies can offer transfers to their rental depot or pick-ups at the airport for free! Get more details in The Best Car Rentals in Aitutaki.
9. Talk to the “Aunties”
A couple of icons of Cook Islands tourism, the “Aunties” aren’t just characters to promote the Cook Islands in ads but actually meet arriving visitors at Rarotonga International Airport to make sure everyone knows where they’re heading to! If in doubt, talk to them! There’s also a Tourism Cook Islands representative meeting visitors off the flights to Aitutaki and Atiu. How about that for hospitality?!
More About Airport Transfers in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
That’s it for our list of the best airport transfers in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands! For more airport transfer discussions, head to our other handy articles:
- The Cheapest Airport Transfers in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- How Much Does a Rarotonga Airport Taxi Cost?
- Cook Islands Transport Guide: 15 Best Ways to Get Around the Cook Islands
Finally, be even more prepared for arrival with our advice guides, Arriving at Rarotonga Airports: A Step-by-Step Guide and Arriving in Rarotonga: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & the Arrival Process.