5-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 5 days! With only a few days, however, you have just enough time to explore the arrival island of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga, along with its vibrant markets, hands-on foodie tours and “island nights”. So, pack your bags and ready your knife and fork because this 5-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 the Cook Islands: Places to Eat, Food Tours & More, which is your complete foodie bible to the Cooks!
How to Get Around Rarotonga in 5 Days
This Rarotonga food itinerary for 5 days includes travel on the island’s roads, particularly the main road, Ara Tapu. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get around the Rarotonga in 5 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 the island, 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, not limited to the recommendations above, in the Rarotonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Rarotonga.
Day 1 – Arrive on Rarotonga
Welcome to Rarotonga! After the arrivals process of going through customs and biosecurity, you’ll step outside of the arrivals hall to flurries of “Kia Orana” and 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 Rarotonga, 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.
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 in the 10 Best Resorts for Foodies in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands and the 20 Best Resorts in Rarotonga.
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!
Day 2 – Explore Avarua
It’s time to explore Rarotonga! The capital, Avarua, is a good place to start when seeking foodie experiences…
Things to Do in Avarua
Take the bus or your rental vehicle and head to the Punanga Nui Market on Saturday morning – an event not to be missed whenever Saturday falls during your trip!
Further into 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.
Dining Recommendations – Muri Night Market
Tonight, explore more of 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 – Road Trip Around Rarotonga
Experience the flavours of Rarotonga as you hit the road for a self-guided trip around the island. Then, conclude your day by making your own umu kai with Tumutoa. More on that below!
Today, take a bit of a roadie around the island, either by renting your own vehicle or getting a day pass on the bus. Either way, you’ll be able to stop by an array of cafes and food trucks, such as Beluga Cafe in Arorangi, Charlie’s Cafe in Titikaveka with its watersports equipment hire, or The Kai Guy food truck just outside of Avarua.
In between the dining delights, stop by Rarotonga’s best snorkelling beaches like Tikioki Beach, check out historical marae like Arai-Te-Tonga and snap up natural wonders like Black Rock and the Papua Waterfall. For more places to visit on your road trip around the island, check out A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Rarotonga.
Dining Recommendations – Make Your Own Umukai/Progressive Dinner Tour
This evening, make an experience out of your dinner with Tumutoa Tours! Join a characterful island warrior who will teach you how to prepare your own umu kai, a traditional Polynesian style of cooking. While you gorge on the fruits of your labour, sit back with an amazing fire show.
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!
More details about each of the experiences can be found in the 11 Best Foodie Experiences on Rarotonga.
Day 4 – Foodie Hike on Rarotonga
It’s time to walk off some of that umu kai with a hike on Rarotonga also featuring food!
Food-Orientated Island Hikes
Join Ariimoana for one of the local family’s island walks where you’ll discover edible plants and fruit found along an inland hiking trail with incredible views at the end! 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 – Island Night
Tonight, head to one of Rarotonga’s acclaimed “island nights” complete with cultural dancing and, of course, a variety of Cook Islander dishes all in one eclectic buffet. Compare them across Rarotonga using the 7 Best Island Nights in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Day 5 – 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 and silky sands of Rarotonga as you depart for your next destination.
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 5-Day Itineraries
Is this 5-day food itinerary for Rarotonga not quite speaking to you? How about checking out our alternative itineraries for 5 days:
- Rarotonga Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 5 Days
- Aitutaki Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 5 Days
- Rarotonga Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 5 Days
- Aitutaki Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 5 Days
- Rarotonga Family Itinerary: 5 Days
- Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days
- Rarotonga Adults-Only Itinerary: 5 Days
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed from this Cook Islands food itinerary, you’re likely to find it in The Food Guide to the Cook Islands: Places to Eat, Food Tours & More.