5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands [2023]
5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands [2023]

5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands [2023]

© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

The Best Backpacker Accommodations in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands might have a reputation for lavish and expensive resort holidays but backpacking is absolutely possible, especially if you stay at one of the awesome albeit limited backpacker hostels in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. While there are a couple of official hostels in the Cook Islands, much of the Cooks’ other “backpacker” accommodations come in the form of guesthouses and homestays. We’ll give you some examples in the handy list below!

Oh, and by the way, don’t leave without opening up The Complete Backpacking Guide to the Cook Islands on a Budget. You’ll thank us later.

1. Rarotonga Backpackers

Rarotonga Backpackers might be one of only a couple of hostels on Rarotonga, but it’s actually pretty darn decent! Not only does their main beachfront complex in Arorangi have dorm rooms but they also have affordable self-contained units on the sand! Backpackers have a choice of single, double, triple and dorm rooms, where the communal kitchen and dining area is a friendly and functional place to meet fellow travellers. In short, you can get that on-the-beach holiday experience for a fraction of the price! See more stays like this in the 10 Best Budget Accommodations on Rarotonga.

5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands [2023]© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

2. Backpackers International Hostel

The cheapest accommodation in the Cook Islands, Backpackers International Hostel offers dorm beds for as little as NZ$18 per night! But is it worth staying at this hostel on Rarotonga? The budget accommodation with a large and small dorm and single and twin/double rooms is set among tropical gardens just a short walk from Aroa Beach, a grocery store and a cafe. Enjoy a sociable atmosphere in the communal lounge and kitchen and benefit from affordable laundry facilities and airport transfers.

Check Backpackers International Hostel out:

5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands [2023]© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

3. Aitutaki Budget Accommodation

One of the limited backpacker hostels in Aitutaki, Aitutaki Budget Accommodation is ideal for the solo traveller or couple looking to save some cents and/or get a more local experience (and a private room)! While it doesn’t win any style points, the affordable accommodation is welcoming, spacious and super functional. The location is also conveniently near small stores and on the main road heading toward town. Discover alternative cheap stays nearby in the 10 Best Budget Accommodations in Aitutaki.

Check Aitutaki Budget Accommodation out:

5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands [2023]© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

4. Aremango Guesthouse & Cottage

An alternative stay for backpackers is a guesthouse, of which Aremango Guesthouse & Cottage is a valid choice in Muri, Rarotonga. Stay in the homely guesthouse with simple yet well-kept private rooms and a shared kitchen, bathroom, lounge and a spacious backyard with loungers and hammocks to soak up the sun. There’s also a cottage and holiday home should you want your own space. Discover more cheap guesthouses like Aremango in the 10 Best Guesthouses in the Cook Islands.

Check Aremango Guesthouse & Cottage out:

5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands [2023]© Aremango Guesthouse

5. Nane’s Homestay

While not officially a “hostel”, Nane’s Homestay is an excellent example of the affordable stays on the less-visited outer islands. This one is on the island of Mitiaro, offering an irresistibly cheap rate with three meals a day included! The homestay is with Nane Pokoati, a local “mataiapo” (subtribe leader) whose infectious bubbly personality and local know-how will ensure a fun stay on the island. The homestay consists of just one shared bedroom in the large house with a communal bathroom, lounge and kitchen.

Learn more about all of the Cook Island’s homestays (hint: they’re mostly on Mitiaro) in The Best Homestays in the Cook Islands. Plus, check out alternative cheap outer island accommodation in The Best Mangaia Accommodations, The Best Mauke Accommodations and The 4 Best Mitiaro Accommodations.

5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands [2023]© Cook Islands Tourism

More Backpacker Hostels in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands

Now that you know about the limited selection of backpacker hostels in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, here are some alternative cheap accommodations to help save the cents:

Finally, pair your backpacker accommodation with free experiences, as listed in the 20 Free Things to Do in the Cook Islands.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, a local government body representing the tourism industry. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

Was this article useful?

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter