Alternative Ways to Travel Around Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands
Don’t be that guy that rents a car to get around the Cook Islands “just because it’s the easy option”. And don’t be that plonker that gets to Rarotonga with no plan for travelling around either! Be more mindful of the way to explore Rarotonga, Aitutaki or any of the outer islands of the Cook Islands by choosing one of the eco-friendly alternatives to renting a car. We have a few suggestions listed below!
1. Electric Bikes
Sure, you could rent a normal bicycle – and we’ll get to that later – but the relatively long distances combined with the tropical heat can be a little “too much” for most of us. Get some extra assistance with an e-bike! E-bikes are an easy alternative to renting a car on Rarotonga, requiring electricity rather than fuel to travel. E-bikes use peddle assistance to take the exertion out of cycling, which is ideal if you’re looking for an eco-friendly way to travel Rarotonga without too much effort.
Check out rental companies and accommodations that hire out e-bikes in Cycle Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Where to Rent Bikes & E-Bikes.
2. Electric Scooters and Cars
That’s right, Rarotonga and Aitutaki are coming into the 21st Century with a few electric scooter and car rentals becoming available on the islands. On Rarotonga, stay at Magic Reef Beachfront Bungalows and you’ll have exclusive rental of their late-model EVs that use solar power to charge, while those staying in Aitutaki with Etu Moana have complimentary access to their electric scooters. Alternatively, hybrid vehicles are now available on Rarotonga with Rarotonga Rentals – find out more in the 7 Best Car Rentals in Rarotonga.
3. Take the Bus
Taking a public bus has much lower carbon emissions per head compared to driving a rental car around Rarotonga. Rarotonga has a reliable and frequent bus service that travels clockwise and anticlockwise around the island. It’s also the cheapest way to travel around the island! Find out more about catching the bus in our guide, The Bus in Rarotonga: Bus Fares, Timetable & More.
No charging, no emissions; just putting power to the peddle! Bicycles/pushbikes are still worth considering for getting from A to B or taking a scenic ride in the Cook Islands. Cycling around the whole of Rarotonga takes approximately 2-3 hours including a few breaks and even less on the outer islands. With that in mind, cycling is good for riding into town or hitting some of the highlights on the back roads, which we cover in the 5 Best Bike Trails in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Learn more about renting a bike in Cycle Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Where to Rent Bikes & E-Bikes, as well as cycling times in The Cycling Times & Distances in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
The most popular way for locals to get around the Cook Islands is riding a scooter, and visitors can do it too thanks to the abundance of scooter rentals available! Scooters produce less carbon than cars because their small size means they use less fuel. They are definitely not the most eco-friendly on this list, but they are a slightly better alternative to renting a car all to oneself.
Check out the 10 Tips for Riding a Scooter in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for advice on scooter licenses and where to rent a scooter.
Hitchhiking is legal in the Cook Islands with the “ridesharing” aspect of travelling producing fewer carbon emissions per head compared to renting your own vehicle, it could be worth trying! However, hitchhiking is one of the least reliable forms of transport in the Cook Islands because you’re likely to be waiting a while for a ride and you don’t know how many times you’re going to have to catch a ride before you get to your destination.
Learn more about hitchhiking in the Cook Islands with A Travellers’ Guide to Hitchhiking in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
More Eco-Friendly Ways to Travel the Cook Islands
That’s it for our list of eco-friendly alternatives to renting a car in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. Want some more sustainability tips? Check out these:
- 30 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in the Cook Islands
- 8 Best Eco Resorts in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- 10 Best Eco Tours in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, check out all of the options for travelling around the Cook Islands, other than just renting a car, in our Cook Islands Transport Guide: 15 Best Ways to Get Around the Cook Islands.