What is the Weather Like in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands in February?
Travellers are often surprised by Rarotonga and the Cook Islands in February. Despite unappealing labels like the “wet season”, February still experiences many sunny days. With that, it’s also the tourist low season where visitors can certainly experience a more tranquil South Seas experience on the usually busy Rarotonga. Nevertheless, February does have a higher rate of rainfall and a slight risk of tropical storms and cyclones, which can be a deterrent to those who prefer to “play it safe” with the weather. Additionally, February is one of the Cook Islands’ hottest and most humid months, making popular water activities all the more refreshing. Find out more about the Rarotonga and Cook Islands weather in February in the guide below.
Before we jump into this weather guide for February, be sure to bookmark Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather, Seasons & Climate, as well as The Best Time to Visit Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for more advice.
5 Tips for Visiting the Cook Islands in February
- Make sure you always wear high-factor (and reef-safe) sunscreen throughout the day
- Mosquitoes are more active during February, so pack insect repellent! Check out the 10 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in the Cook Islands for tips
- February is the Cook Islands’ low season, so look out for good deals on flights and accommodation
- Also with the low season in mind, note that some tours and accommodations do not operate during February
- Allow extra time to travel between islands, as flights can get cancelled for bad weather.
Typical Temperatures in February
Typically, February is the hottest and most humid month of the year in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. February falls in the middle of the South Pacific summer season, otherwise known as the “wet season”.
Temperatures in the Cook Islands reach 29°C / 84°F at a maximum on average during February, while the lowest temperatures are around 23°C / 73°F – mostly experienced at night.
Temperatures Across the Cook Islands
- Rarotonga – The average maximum temperature is 29°C / 84°F and the minimum average temperature is 23°C / 73°F
- Aitutaki – The average maximum temperature is 30°C / 86°F and the minimum average temperature is 24°C / 75°F
- Mangaia – The average maximum temperature is 29°C / 84°F and the minimum average temperature is 23°C / 74°F
- Mitiaro – The average maximum temperature is 30°C / 86°F and the minimum average temperature is 24°C / 75°F
- Manihiki (North) – The average maximum temperature is 31°C / 89°F and the minimum average temperature is 24°C / 75°F
- Penrhyn (North) – The average maximum temperature is 30°C / 86°F and the minimum average temperature is 24°C / 75°F.
Sea Temperature in February
The Cook Islands’ waters are warm all year round. February, however, is one of the months when sea temperatures are at their highest. Sea temperatures in the Cook Islands are at an average of 27°C / 81°F in February.
Hours of Sun in February
Long and mostly sunny days are experienced in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands during February. February has some of the longest days of the year, with 13 hours of daylight and an average of 6.6 hours of bright sunshine a day. So if you’re seeking the sun in the Cook Islands, you’re sure to find plenty at this time of the year.
UV Levels During February
With UV levels at 11+ UV index at midday, it’s absolutely essential to protect yourself with high-factor sunscreen in the Cook Islands during February. For advice on what sunscreen to wear, that’s safe for you and the reefs, see The Best Sunscreens for the Cook Islands + Sun Protection Tips.
Sunrise and Sunset During February
February has daylight hours lasting about 13 hours a day in the Cook Islands.
- Sunrise: 6.22 am at the beginning of February and 6.36 am at the end of February
- Sunset: 7.23 pm at the beginning of February and 7.07 pm at the end of February.
Rainfall in February
That’s right, February is one of the “wettest” times of the year in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. The average days of rainfall during this month is 17 days.
February is in the middle of the South Pacific “wet season”, where rainfall patterns tend to be short but heavy bursts of rain. Those travelling between islands will need to keep in mind that travel plans can often change due to the weather, which is more likely to be the case in February.
The Cook Islands receives an average of 237 mm / 9.3″ of rainfall in the month of February, with around 17 days out of February experiencing rain.
Average Rainfall Across the Cook Islands
- Rarotonga – The average rainfall in February is 237 mm / 9.3″
- Aitutaki – The average rainfall in February is 239 mm / 9.4″
- Mangaia – The average rainfall in February is 234 mm / 9.2″
- Mitiaro – The average rainfall in February is 211 mm / 8.3″
- Manihiki (North) – The average rainfall in February is 274 mm / 10.9″
- Penrhyn (North) – The average rainfall in February is 296 mm / 11.7″.
Tropical Storms in February
The South Pacific cyclone season starts in November and ends in April, making February a month with a higher risk of tropical storms. On average, less than 1 day in February in the Cook Islands (more specifically, Rarotonga) is affected by tropical storms. Tropical storms are more likely to affect the islands of the Northern Group.
Historically, the Cook Islands (including the Northern Group) was affected by a tropical cyclone in February 1839, 1840, 1877, 1882, 1889, 1897, 1906, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1941, 1942, 1947, 1950, 1958, 1962 and 1990.
In more recent history, in February 2005, the Cook Islands experienced gale-force winds from Cyclone Meena, Cyclone Nancy caused power cuts and house damage on Atiu, and Cyclone Olaf damaged homes and businesses on the western side of Rarotonga. Again in 2005, homes in the northern islands of Pukapuka and Nassau were seriously impacted by Cycle Percy.
In February 2010, Cyclone Pat damaged around 78% of homes on Aitutaki and destroyed around 72 buildings.
If you want to avoid the risk of cyclones in the Cook Islands, it’s best to travel in the dry season. For those planning to travel during February, see Cyclone Safety in the Cook Islands.
Best Places to Visit in the Cook Islands in February
February is one of the quietest months in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands in terms of tourist numbers, partly due to the unappealing wet season and partly due to it being summer where many tourists come from. Nevertheless, those who travel in February can expect much of the place to themselves or shared with locals – depending on where you stay. Here are a couple of February destination recommendations…
Rarotonga – Rarotonga is the most popular island to visit in the Cook Islands, so if you want to experience it during the less “buzzing” summer season, February is a good time to go. You’re also more likely to find irresistible airfares and discounts for Raro’s most sought-after accommodations in February. Find out more about what Rarotonga is all about in the 50 Best Things to Do on Rarotonga.
Mitiaro – The island in the Southern Group of the Cook Islands with the least rainfall, Mitiaro offers a drier climate in February than other destinations in the Cooks. If it’s too hot, you can always cool down in the refreshing cave pools of this raised coral atoll. Find out more in the 15 Best Things to Do in Mitiaro.
February Packing List for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Be prepared for the Cook Islands in February by packing these few seasonal essentials:
- High-factor reef-safe sunscreen
- Insect repellent
- Rain jacket
- Light cotton or linen layers
- Light long-sleeved tops (to cover from sun and mosquitoes)
- Light pants/trousers (to cover the knees when appropriate – church service or to protect from mosquitoes, for example)
- Closed walking shoes
- Sarong (pāreu – available in the Cook Islands if you don’t have your own).
Get more ideas on what to pack with our guide, What to Pack for Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Cook Islands Packing List.
More About the Weather in Rarotonga and Cook Islands in February
That’s it for our complete guide to the weather and climate in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands in February. Check out the following articles for more weather advice:
- Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather, Seasons & Climate + Cook Islands Weather by Month
- The Best Time to Visit Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: A Month by Month Guide
- Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather in January
- Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather in March
- Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather in April
Finally, enjoy a comprehensive guide to planning a trip to the Cook Islands in The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.