3-Day Foodie Trip to Rarotonga!
Travel is an experience for the senses, so dive into the flavours of the Cook Islands, mouth-first, with this Rarotonga food itinerary for 3 days! In 3 days, however, you only have enough time to explore just a portion of the arrival island of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga along with its vibrant markets, guided food walks and progressive dinner. We definitely recommend coming to Rarotonga when you have a little more time to make the most of its gastronomical delights…
Nevertheless, if a long weekend is all you’ll ever have, pack your bags and ready your knife and fork because this 3-day food itinerary of Rarotonga will blow your mind and, most importantly, your palate!
While you’re here, don’t forget to open The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours, which is your complete foodie bible to Raro!
How to Get Around Rarotonga in 3 Days
This Rarotonga food itinerary for 3 days includes travel on the island’s roads, particularly its main road, Ara Tapu. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get around the Rarotonga in just 3 days.
Road Transport in Rarotonga
The first road transport you’ll encounter on Rarotonga is your airport transfer. This must be booked in advance with your resort or with one of the airport shuttle companies, as outlined in the 8 Best Airport Transfers.
For travelling around, car and scooter hire offer the most convenience. Get advice on car hire from What You Need to Hire a Car in the Cook Islands and for scooters, check out the 10 Tips for Riding a Scooter in the Cook Islands. Alternatively, you also have the option of taking the bus, which is compatible with this itinerary. Find out more about the bus in our guide, The Bus in Rarotonga: Bus Fares, Timetable & More.
Compare all of your transport options in the Rarotonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Rarotonga.
Day 1 – Arrive on Rarotonga + Progressive Dinner
Welcome to Rarotonga! After the arrivals process of going through customs and biosecurity, you’ll step outside of the arrivals hall to a shower of “Kia Oranas” and a floral ‘eis (neck garlands). It’s the customary Cook Islands greeting that most of the airport transfers supply with enthusiasm! If you want to get your trip off to a real “foodie” start, choose Raro Tours‘ private transfers with sparkling wine and/or juice provided for the journey to your accommodation.
Since it’s your first day in the Cook Islands, take it easy and get settled at your chosen accommodation. After check-in, relax by the pool, have a paddle with the kayaks provided at your resort, sip on cocktails and transition to “Raro time”. We’ll go over a few things you can do on Rarotonga tomorrow. For your first foodie fix, either dine at your accommodation or join the Progressive Dinner Tour (see below).
Rarotonga Resorts with Amazing Restaurants
- Little Polynesian Resort
- Pacific Resort Rarotonga
- Castaway Resort
- Manuia Beach Resort
- Nautilus Resort
- Crown Beach Resort & Spa
- Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach
- The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium
- Sunset Resort
Find out more about each resort and more in the 10 Best Resorts for Foodies in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands and the 20 Best Resorts in Rarotonga.
Dining Recommendations/Progressive Dinner Tour
For your first night, make things easy for yourself by eating at the restaurant of your chosen accommodation. All of the resorts recommended above have very reputable restaurants that many people travel across the island for!
Otherwise, jump on the Progressive Dinner Tour with Cook Islands Tours. You’ll be transported to three different local homes for entrees, mains then dessert. It’s a truly local and uplifting experience for the palate and the soul. Find out more about the tour in The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours.
Day 2 – Explore Avarua or Embark on a Foodie Hike
It’s time to explore Rarotonga! The capital, Avarua, is a good place to start when seeking foodie experiences. Alternatively, walk off some of last night’s dinner with a hike on Rarotonga also featuring food! Both of your options are outlined below.
Option 1: Things to Do in Avarua
Take the bus or your rental vehicle and head to the Punanga Nui Market on Saturday mornings – an event not to be missed whenever Saturday falls during your trip!
Further in town, explore some of the town’s historical buildings and sit down for a coffee or cocktails at one of its delightful cafes – The Lucky Rooster and The Cafe are two of our favourites. If you’re vegan/vegetarian, the contemporary cuisine of Kai & Co. is a highlight! Finally, pick up some naughty treats complete with tastings at Cook’s Fudge Factory.
For more things to do in town, check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Avarua.
Option 2: Food-Orientated Island Hikes
Join Ariimoana for one of the family’s island walks where you’ll discover edible plants and fruit found along an inland hiking trail with incredible views! Alternatively, Tumutoa Tours offers a similar experience with an option to do an easy walk through tropical gardens and plantations or a more demanding hike up the Raemaru Mountain.
Find out more about these experiences, again, in the 11 Best Foodie Experiences on Rarotonga and 8 Best Guided Walks in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Dining Recommendations – Muri Night Market
Tonight, explore the dining scene of Rarotonga. If it’s either Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday, don’t miss the Muri Night Market for its whirlwind of flavours and street food.
Alternatively, enjoy three-course fine dining at OTB of the Manuia Beach Resort or try the “Pacific Sizzler” at Sandals Restaurant & Barefoot Bar of the Pacific Resort. Sample superb South Pacific cuisine at Anchorage Restaurant & Bar, or Mediterranean fine dining at Antipodes. See The Best Places to Eat on Rarotonga: 10 Best Restaurants for more details on each.
Day 3 – Last Day on Rarotonga
Do anything you might have missed if you have time before your flight. Then, it’s time to say goodbye to the azure lagoon waters, silky sands and island flavours of Rarotonga as you depart for your next destination. We told you 3 days wasn’t enough!
Remember to arrive at Rarotonga International Airport a couple of hours before your scheduled departure so that you have enough time to check in, go through security and browse the duty-free. Airport transfers are a little cheaper for your departure flight, so check them out in the 8 Best Airport Transfers in Rarotonga.
If you want something to remember the Cook Islands by, have a browse of the Rarotonga International Airport’s duty-free stores with black pearls, rito earrings and fans, local perfumes, coconut oil and more. Check out the 12 Best Souvenirs from Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for more ideas.
And it’s “ka kite” from the Cook Islands!
Alternative Rarotonga 3-Day Itineraries
Is this 3-day food itinerary for Rarotonga not quite speaking to you? How about checking out our alternative itineraries for 3 days:
- Rarotonga Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 3 Days
- Rarotonga Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 3 Days
- Rarotonga Family Itinerary: 3 Days
- Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 3 Days
- Rarotonga Adults-Only Itinerary: 3 Days
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed from this Rarotonga food itinerary, you’re likely to find it in The Food Guide to the Cook Islands: Places to Eat, Food Tours & More.