The Cost of Travelling to Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands + How to Plan a Budget for the Cook Islands
How much does a trip to the Cook Islands cost? Since everyone has their own style of travel, from how they eat to what activities they do, it would be pointless to just state a price… In this guide, we list as many typical expenses you’re likely to encounter as possible in Rarotonga, Aitutaki or any of the Cook Islands that you’re likely to visit, so you can pick and choose what prices would apply to your holiday and therefore plan your budget accordingly. Note that prices are approximate and are subject to change.
Rarotonga and Cook Islands Travel Budget Examples
We can’t stress enough how everyone’s budget will be different for a trip to the Cook Islands. That’s why we strongly encourage you to look at the prices in the below guide to determine what prices apply to your trip so that you can budget more accurately. Nevertheless, because we know that many of you like the average cost for a trip to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, we have put together three examples of a Cook Islands travel budget.
The Daily Cost of a Trip to the Cook Islands
Here are a few averages for a daily budget for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. This includes accommodation, food, ground transport and takes into account that you might do one paid activity most days. This does not include international or domestic flights nor anything else not previously mentioned. Each price is per person per day.
- Budget daily budget: NZ$225
- Mid-range daily budget: NZ$535
- Luxury daily budget: NZ$1,430
How much does it cost to go to Rarotonga for one week?
Budget trip – NZ$1,589, Mid-range trip – NZ$3,745, Luxury trip – NZ$10,010.
How much does it cost to go to Rarotonga for 10 days?
Budget trip – NZ$2,250, Mid-range trip – NZ$5,350, Luxury trip – NZ$14,300.
How much does it cost to go to Rarotonga for two weeks?
Budget trip – NZ$3,178, Mid-range trip – NZ$7,490, Luxury trip – NZ$20,020.
For more advice about your daily expenses in the Cook Islands, take a look at How Much Spending Money Do You Need for Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?
Typical Costs Before You Arrive in the Cook Islands
There are a few things to think about purchasing in preparation for your trip, from the essential flight ticket to the optional travel insurance.
The Cost of Flights to Rarotonga
Because travellers to Rarotonga are coming from New Zealand, Australia, North America, Europe and beyond, it would be inappropriate to give an average flight cost here. However, you can head over to How to Book a Cheap Flight to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for advice on reducing the cost of your airfare.
We talk about domestic flights, such as those to Aitutaki in the “The Cost of Transport in the Cook Islands” section below.
The Cost of Visas for the Cook Islands
You do not need to pay for a tourist visa to visit the Cook Islands. See How Much Does a Visa to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Cost? for more details.
The Cost of Items to Pack for the Cook Islands
You might want to consider making a few purchases for your Cook Islands wardrobe, as well as get essential gear like sunscreen or snorkelling gear. Check out What to Pack for Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Cook Islands Packing List for more advice.
The Cost of Accommodation in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Accommodation is available in the Cook Islands to suit a range of styles and budgets. You need to book your accommodation for the Cook Islands before you arrive, as it is one of the requirements for entering the country. Note that prices can vary widely depending on the season, check out The Best Time to Visit Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Best Months to Visit for more information on the high season and low season.
Here are your typical accommodation costs in the Cook Islands:
- Dorm bed/night – NZ$20-$35
- Guesthouse private room/night – NZ$60-$200
- Budget resort ensuite room/night – NZ$130-$220
- Mid-range resort ensuite room/night – NZ$230-$550
- Self-contained double room/night – NZ$160-$550
- Self-contained family room/night – NZ$230-$1,100
- Luxury villa/night – NZ$700-$2,000
- Family holiday home/night – NZ$230-$760
Take a look at The BEST Cook Islands Accommodations: Where to Stay to start finding a place to stay categorised by budget.
The Cost of Food in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Whether you decide to eat out at Rarotonga and/or Aitutaki’s vibrant range of restaurants or save a bit extra by making the most of your accommodation’s self-catering facilities, you’ll be able to plan your food budget for the Cook Islands with this list of typical food prices. See a quick rundown below or head over to The Cost of Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Restaurant & Grocery Prices for a full cost breakdown.
Restaurant Prices in Rarotonga and Aitutaki
- Main breakfast meal – NZ$10-$29
- Main lunch meal – NZ$15-$35
- Main dinner meal – NZ$14-$49
- Island night buffet and show – NZ$60-$130
- Small coffee – NZ$5-$6
- Bottle of beer – NZ$6.50-$8
- Glass of wine – NZ$12
- Cocktail – NZ$11-$21
- Mocktail/Smoothie – NZ$7-$16
- Soft drink – NZ$5-$6
Supermarket Food Prices in the Cook Islands
- 1.5l (50 fluid ounces) box of milk – NZ$2.40-$2.90
- 12 eggs – NZ$8.50-$9.50
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) rice – NZ$2.30-$3
- 500g (1.1 pounds) pasta – NZ$3.50-$4.20
- A loaf of bread – NZ$5-$5.80
- 500g (1.1 pounds) cheese – NZ$12
- 100g (3 ounces) dry freeze coffee – NZ$11-$13
- Bag of chips – NZ$2.99-$3.80
- Can of coke – NZ$2-$2.50
- Box of cereal – NZ$8-$9
- 6 muesli bars – NZ$3.50
- 500g (1.1 pounds) jam – NZ$4-$7
- 120g (4.4. ounces) baby food – NZ$2.95
- 1.5l (50.7 fluid ounces) bottled water – NZ$4
- 12 pack of Heineken – NZ$28
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of apples – NZ$6
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of onions – NZ$2.60-$7
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of potatoes – NZ$2.60-$7
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of chicken thighs – NZ$13
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of beef mince – NZ$16.50
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of pork – NZ$20
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of lamb – NZ$13-$20
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of sausages – NZ$13
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) of rump steak – NZ$22
Find out more about shopping for food in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
The Cost of Activities in the Cook Islands
Of course, you’re going to want to do stuff while you’re exploring the atolls of the Cook Islands. The islands are full of amazing land and water experiences, from action-packed lagoon cruises to spa treatments. See if you can afford your bucket list activities with this list of Cook Islands’ activity prices (plus, check out what there is to do in the 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List).
Land Activity Prices
- Guided hike – NZ$25-$80
- Spa treatment/1hr massage – NZ$80-$150
- Buggy/quad bike tour – NZ$125-$150
- Guided island tour – NZ$60-$70
- Garden entry – NZ$5
- Museum entry – NZ$5-$15
- Outer islands cave tour – NZ$30-$70
Water Activity Prices
- Snorkel hire/day – NZ$0-$10
- SUP or kayak hire/1hr– NZ$15-$20
- Lagoon cruise – NZ$79-$160
- Swimming with turtles – NZ$80-$160
- Snorkel tour – NZ$60-$160
- Fishing charter/shared – NZ$200
- Fishing charter/private – NZ$600-$1,600
- Scuba dive/intro dive – NZ$200-$220
- Scuba dive/open water course – NZ$550
- Scuba dive/two-tank with gear – NZ$150
A trip to the Cook Islands also has plenty of attractions and activities to enjoy free of charge! For activities that you can enjoy for 100% free, check out 20 Free Things to Do in the Cook Islands!
The Cost of Transport in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
From road transport to flights, there are many ways to get around the Cook Islands. While Rarotonga has the most variety when it comes to transport, the outer islands offer more affordable ways to get around and additional budgeting bonuses like free airport transfers. Discover all of your transport options in the Cook Islands Transport Guide: 15 Ways to Get Around the Cook Islands.
Road Transport Prices
- Bicycle rental/day – NZ$10-$25
- Visitor’s Scooter Licence – NZ$40
- Scooter rental/day – NZ$24-$30
- Car rental/day – NZ$40-$80
- Rarotonga bus/one-way trip – NZ$5
- Taxi/kilometre – NZ$3+
- Airport transfers/person – NZ$0-$36
Water and Air Transport Prices
- Aitutaki water taxi – NZ$35-$80
- Flight/Rarotonga to Southern Group – NZ$250-$275
- Flight/Rarotonga to Northern Group – NZ$1,600
- Charter flight/Southern Group – NZ$4,500-$5,000
- Charter flight/Northern Group – NZ$11,000
The cost of transport is included in each of our guides to specific transportation methods, such as The Cost of Renting a Car in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Full Car Rental Cost Breakdown so have a look at the links above.
The Cost of WiFi, SIM Cards, Credit Card Fees, etc.
And for those miscellaneous costs, including phones, WiFi, credit card transaction fees and laundry services, here are a few approximate costs that may or may not apply to your holiday.
Phone and Internet Prices
- WiFi Voucher/2.5Gb – NZ$10
- Visitor’s SIM Card + Bundle – NZ$49
Overseas Bank Card Fee
- Overseas card transaction fee – 2.5-3%
- ATM overseas card withdrawal fee – NZ$5
Resort Laundry Service Fee
- Wash and tumble dry/bag – NZ$10-$30.
More About the Cost of Travelling in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
That’s it for the guide to the cost of a trip to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands but by no means the end of our Cook Islands budget advice. Check out the following guides for more tips:
- Is Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Expensive?
- How Much Spending Money Do You Need for Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?
- 20 Tips to Save Money in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, learn more about travelling the Cook Islands on a budget in The Complete Backpacking Guide to the Cook Islands on a Budget.