How to Pick the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in the Cook Islands© Craig Owen - Cook Islands Tourism
How to Pick the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in the Cook Islands

How to Pick the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in the Cook Islands

© Craig Owen – Cook Islands Tourism

Advice on Choosing Family-Friendly Accommodation in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands

Family-friendly accommodation in the Cook Islands comes in many forms, from convenient holiday homes to dreamy resorts. But there’s much to consider when choosing the right family accommodation, especially in terms of location, accommodation type and budget. We go through it all in this guide to choosing the right family accommodation in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands for your tribe.

Before we begin, don’t miss our bible to all things family-in-the-Cook-Islands: The Complete Travel Guide to the Cook Islands for Families.

5 Things You Need to Know About Family Accommodation in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

  1. Look out for deals on resort rooms where children stay for free
  2. The high season is between June and August, as well as Easter and Christmas, so be sure to book early if visiting at these times to avoid disappointment – see the 10 Reasons to Travel in the Low Season in the Cook Islands for more advice
  3. Some of Rarotonga’s resorts offer kids’ clubs but make sure that you check their scheduling to see if they suit your plans
  4. If staying in a holiday home or villa, consider hiring a car to get to nearby attractions and restaurants. Otherwise, on Rarotonga, you’re never too far from the main road where you can catch a bus
  5. Amenities like portacots are often available, while stroller hire can even be arranged, so be sure to ask before bringing your own.

For more tips, head to the 30 Tips for Your Family Cook Islands Vacation with Kids.

How to Pick the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in the Cook Islands©

What Types of Family Accommodation are Available in the Cook Islands?

There’s accommodation in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands suitable for most families, whether it’s a beachfront resort or in the privacy of a holiday home. Choosing the right type of accommodation ensures that you have the space and facilities that your family needs, while also sticking to your budget.

Family-Friendly Resorts

Resorts are a popular choice for a Rarotonga family holiday, especially considering that they provide all of the food and entertainment, making things easier on mum and dad. Some resorts have babysitting services and kids’ clubs, as well as complimentary watersports rentals. Resorts offer a range of accommodation, from hotel-style rooms sleeping a whole family to spacious multi-bedroom bungalows.

Check out some examples in the 20 Best Family Resorts in the Cook Islands.

Self-Contained Villas and Apartments

Sometimes confused with resorts, villas and apartments are very similar in their services: often with a pool and/or watersports equipment, but rooms are typically multi-room villas with cooking facilities instead of a restaurant on-site. While most can be found on Rarotonga, villas and apartments can also be found in Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia and Mauke.

Many are also listed in the 20 Best Family Accommodations in the Cook Islands, but additional examples can be found in the 25 Best Villas in the Cook Islands and 10 Best Holiday Apartments in the Cook Islands.

Holiday Homes and Private Villas

Holiday homes and private villas present a more independent holiday for families. This type of accommodation has all your homely amenities, such as kitchen and laundry facilities, so you can keep the family routine going and stick to a budget. Some holiday homes and villas will have luxurious holiday extras, such as a private swimming pool and watersports equipment. Holiday homes can only be found in Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

Check out examples of holiday homes for families in the 20 Best Holiday Homes in the Cook Islands and 25 Best Villas with a Private Pool in the Cook Islands.

How to Pick the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in the Cook Islands© Craig Owen - Cook Islands Tourism

Location, How to Get There and What is Nearby?

Once you know what sort of accommodation you’re looking for, you’re going to have to pick a destination in the Cook Islands that strikes the right balance of satisfying your interests and your budget. There’s family accommodation in the tourist hotspots of Rarotonga and Aitutaki, as well as on the outer islands, such as Mangaia, Atiu, Mauke and Mitiaro. Compare the destinations in the following guides:

Note that all of the above guides have details on how to get to the various islands, which is another cost consideration when leaving Rarotonga.

Speaking of Rarotonga, when it comes to “where to stay” on the island, the most popular hubs are Avarua, Muri and Arorangi with restaurants and shops. Other considerations may be staying on the beachfront compared to staying inland, depending on if you want to swim/snorkel from your accommodation or not.

With the island being so small with everything so close, plus, there’s a number of transport methods to choose from, we argue not to get too hung up on location and go for the accommodation that feels right. For more information on the subject, check out A Guide to the Best Side of Rarotonga.

How to Pick the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in the Cook Islands©

Family-Friendly Facilities

Anything to help a family holiday go smoother is a welcome addition to any accommodation. Make sure that you always compare the inclusions, facilities and services of the Cook Islands’ accommodation to ensure they have everything you need.

Services and Facilities

Some, but not all, of the Cook Islands’ family accommodations have the following services:

If you need any of the above services, be sure to inquire about them with the accommodations you have decided to compare.

More on How to Choose the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

That’s it for our guide to choosing the best family-friendly accommodation in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. For more tips for planning the perfect family getaway, check out the following guides:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’ll find it in The Complete Travel Guide to the Cook Islands for Families, while more accommodation advice can be found in Where to Stay in the Cook Islands: The Best Cook Islands Accommodations.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as the Cook Islands. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Raro’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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