What Services are Available on Rarotonga?
Rarotonga is the largest and most populated island in the Cook Islands. With that, it’s well set up for shops and services, offering multiple options for grocery shopping, car rentals, pharmacies, etc. The choice is a little more limited when it comes to banks, internet and phone networks, however. Whatever you’re practicalities you’re looking for, we’ll go over it all in this guide to the information, shops and services on Rarotonga.
For help planning your getaway to the island, by the way, check out The Complete Travel Guide to Rarotonga.
Useful Services for Tourists
- Cook Islands Visitor Information Centre – Main Road (Ara Tapu), the centre of Avarua
- Car Rentals – See The Best Car Rentals on Rarotonga for listings
- Scooter Rentals – See Scooter Hire on Rarotonga for listings
- Taxi Services – See Taxis in the Cook Islands for listings
- Restaurants – See The Food Guide to Rarotonga for recommendations
- Police Station (for a scooter licence) – Main Road (Ara Tapu), the centre of Avarua
- Ports Authority – Avatiu Harbour, Avarua
- Rarotonga Airport – North of the island, Nikau, see Airports in the Cook Islands.
Food and Groceries
Rarotonga has several options for large supermarkets, as well as many smaller convenience stores. The majority of stores can be found along the main road (Ara Tapu).
Grocery stores are typically stocked with imported brands from New Zealand, as well as local fruit and vegetables. Produce can also be purchased from roadside market stalls and other weekly markets on the island. Find out more about what grocery stores stock and the shopping experience on the island in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Note that most shops close on a Sunday, with the exception of a small few that we make note of in the following lists.
Supermarkets on Rarotonga
The largest supermarkets on Rarotonga include:
- CITC Supermarket (Ara Tapu, Avarua)
- CITC Foodland (Ara Tapu, Avarua)
- Prime Foods (St Joseph’s Road, Avarua)
- Wigmore’s Superstore (Ara Tapu, Vaimaanga) – Open Sunday
Convenience Stores on Rarotonga
Some smaller convenience stores around Rarotonga include:
- Super Brown (Corner of Ara Tapu and Kiikii Road, Tupapa) – Open Sunday
- Super Brown (Corner of Ara Tapu and Tapatea Road, Nikao) – Open Sunday
- KAPS Matavera (Corner of Ara Tapu and Tamarua Road, Matavera)
- Matavera Village Traders (Ara Tapu, Matavera)
- Hartal Shop & Laundry (Ara Tapu, Tupapa)
- Woo Arorangi (Ara Tapu, Arorangi)
- Kavera Central (Ara Tapu, Kavera/Arorangi)
- TEMs Store (Ara Tapu, Muri)
You can also find small gift shops selling a few holiday conveniences and snacks at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium and Crown Beach Resort & Spa.
Liquor Stores on Rarotonga
Liquor, such as spirits and liqueurs, are sold at liquor stores on Rarotonga, rather than in supermarkets along with beer and wine. Such stores include:
- The Bond Liquor Store (Ara Tapu, Avarua)
- CITC Liquor Centre (Ara Tapu, Avarua)
Markets on Rarotonga
Markets are also a good way to stock up on local produce. You’ll see pop-up roadside stalls anywhere on the island but particularly outside of Avarua and Nikao. Other markets include:
- Punanga Nui Market (Avarua, Saturday mornings until noon)
- Opuanga Ra Roadside Market (Ara Tapu, between Arorangi and Kavera)
Learn more about the markets in the 5 Best Markets in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Finally, a European-style bakery can be found at Botanical Bakery (Ara Tapu, Avarua) next to Tuki’s Pareu.
Medication, Toiletries and Pharmaceuticals
While we always recommend having all the medication you need with you for your stay in the Cook Islands and Rarotonga (see What to Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for the Cook Islands for advice), if there is anything you end up needing, you have a few options for purchasing medication and health care products on Rarotonga.
Light medications (like painkillers), baby products and toiletries are sold in supermarkets on Rarotonga, as listed in the section above.
Pharmacies and Hospital
There are four pharmacies on Rarotonga, the Cook Islands Pharmacies are open 7 days a week, 10am-1pm Monday to Friday, 10am-12pm on Saturday and 10am-2pm on Sunday. The CITC Pharmacy is open 8.30am-4.30pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturday, closed Sundays.
- Cook Islands Pharmacy (Taputapuatea Road, Avarua)
- Cook Islands Pharmacy (Ara Tapu, Muri)
- CITC Pharmacy (Ara Tapu, Avarua Shopping Centre)
- Hospital Pharmacy (Ara Tapu, Tupapa Clinic)
Rarotonga has one hospital, the Rarotonga Hospital (Sanatorium Road, Nikao), which caters to inpatients only. They have 80 beds and has had regular refurbishments through the years. The hospital phone number is 22 664. The hospital’s outpatient, emergency and dental services are at the Tupapa Clinic (Ara Tapu, eastern end of Avarua), open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm.
Fuel Stations, Banks and Communication
Rarotonga’s other essential services, such as banks, ATMs, fuel stations, phone stores, etc. are available throughout the island.
Fuel Stations on Rarotonga
There are several fuel stations on Rarotonga, which include:
- Triad Tutakimoa Petrol Station (Moss Road, Avarua)
- Pandanus Petrol (Avatiu Road, Avarua)
- Toa Petroleum Avarua (Ara Tapu, Nikao)
- Maraerenga Petrol (Ara Tapu, Avarua)
- CITC Oasis (Ara Tapu, Nikao)
- Blackrock Petrol (Ara Tapu, Nikao)
- Wigmore’s Superstore (Ara Tapu, Vaimaanga)
- Muri Gas Station (Ara Tapu, Muri)
- KAPS Matavera (Corner of Ara Tapu and Tamarua Road, Matavera)
- Super Brown (Corner of Ara Tapu and Kiikii Road, Tupapa)
The Phone Network on Rarotonga
There’s only one cellphone network provider in the Cook Islands, Vodafone, whose offices you can find in Parekura and next to the CITC Shopping Centre in Avarua (both open Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm).
They also have a store at Rarotonga Airport, typically open for international flights, as well as at the Punanga Nui Market (Avarua). Learn more about the network and prices in The Best SIM Card in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for Travellers.
Post Offices on Rarotonga
The Vodafone post office can be found near the Police Station in Avarua, offering all of the usual post office services from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. There are also the following courier services at the Rarotonga Airport, open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm:
- DHL Express (Rarotonga Airport)
- FedEx (Rarotonga Freight Services Ltd, Rarotonga Airport).
Internet and WiFi on Rarotonga
Free WiFi is practically unheard of on Rarotonga (and the Cook Islands) so be prepared to pay for each Mb you use. Accommodations typically offer Vodafone or Zenbu WiFi vouchers, while Vodafone WiFi hotspots can be found all around the island. Learn more about how to use Vodafone WiFi hotspot vouchers in How to Get Internet & WiFi in the Cook Islands.
Vodafone WiFi hotspot vouchers can be purchased from most convenience stores on Rarotonga, as well as some resorts. Check out the map of the wifi hotspots and resellers for locations.
Banks on Rarotonga
There are three banks found on Rarotonga, as well as a few ATMs. Banks are open from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, and include services like foreign exchange. Banks include:
- BCI Bank of the Cook Islands (Ara Tapu, Avarua)
- BSP Bank of the South Pacific (Ara Tapu, Avarua)
- ANZ Cook Islands (Ara Tapu, Avarua)
Rarotonga ATMs are available at:
- Rarotonga Airport (Nikao)
- Edgewater Resort & Spa (Arorangi)
- TEMs Store (Muri)
- CITC Oasis (Nikao)
- Super Brown (Tupapa)
- Aroa Nui Hall (Arorangi)
- Wigmore’s Superstore (Vaimaanga)
- KAPS Matavera (Matavera)
- Punanga Nui Market (Avarua)
- CITC Supermarket (Avarua)
Note that all of the above ATMs are BSP ATMs. ATMs for other banks are found on the main road of Avarua.
More About Information, Shops and Services on Rarotonga
Now that you know about the Rarotonga shops and services available, here’s more advice to help you plan a smooth trip to the island:
- The Complete Travel Guide to Rarotonga
- Rarotonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Rarotonga
- The Guide to Shopping in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands + The Best Places to Shop
Finally, plan your whole trip to the Cook Islands using The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide. Plus, find more helpful tips in the 30 Tips for Travelling in the Cook Islands.