What is the Weather Like in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands in November?
November is the first month of the “wet season” in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, but it isn’t as morbid as it sounds. In fact, many regular visitors consider November to be the best time to visit the Cook Islands due to its idyllic weather. Not only that, but the tourist crowds have gone, providing the financial and tranquil benefits of the low season. Find out more about the temperatures, rainfall and more in this guide to the Rarotonga and Cook Islands weather in November.
Before we jump into this weather guide for November, 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 November
- November is considered the low season in terms of the number of tourists visiting the islands. For this reason, don’t worry about booking too far in advance. Just go with the flow and look out for some good deals on activities and accommodation. We recommend booking your trip at least one week in advance
- Pack insect repellent, as the mosquito activity starts to pick up in November and the wet season – see the 10 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in the Cook Islands for tips
- Look out for cheaper airfares and accommodation deals during this low tourist season
- The UV levels are high in November, so be sure to apply high-factor reef-safe sunscreen often
- As the days are getting hotter, so are the nights. Luckily, most accommodations are equipped with air-conditioning or ceiling fans to keep you cool when sleeping.
Typical Temperatures in November
With the official start of the summer season in the Cook Islands, there is a noticeable difference in rising temperatures in the Northern Group, while islands in the Southern Group remain balmy. Humidity tends to be at a moderate level during November, getting more intense toward the end of the month.
Maximum average temperatures are usually around 27°C / 81°F, while the minimum average is around 21°C / 70°F.
Temperatures Across the Cook Islands
- Rarotonga – The average maximum temperature is 27°C / 81°F and the minimum average temperature is 21°C / 70°F
- Aitutaki – The average maximum temperature is 29°C / 84°F and the minimum average temperature is 23°C / 73°F
- Mangaia – The average maximum temperature is 27°C / 81°F and the minimum average temperature is 21°C / 70°F
- Mitiaro – The average maximum temperature is 28°C / 82°F and the minimum average temperature is 22°C / 72°F
- Manihiki (North) – The average maximum temperature is 31°C / 88°F and the minimum average temperature is 24°C / 75°F
- Penrhyn (North) – The average maximum temperature is 31°C / 88°F and the minimum average temperature is 24°C / 75°F.
Sea Temperature in November
The Cook Islands’ sea temperatures are warm and comfortable for swimming in all year round. In November, the temperature of the sea is on the rise, usually at around 25°C / 77°F.
Hours of Sun in November
Regular visitors to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands often say that November has some of the most idyllic weather, with long days of around 13 daylight hours combined with substantial sunshine hours. Expect around 7 hours of bright sunshine each day.
UV Levels During November
The UV levels in November are the highest that the Cook Islands experience, making it essential to protect yourself from the sun. The UV level in November is typically 11+ UV index around midday. Be sure to wear high-factor sunscreen and follow our advice in The Best Sunscreens for the Cook Islands + Sun Protection Tips.
Sunrise and Sunset During November
November has daylight hours lasting about 13 hours a day in the Cook Islands.
- Sunrise: 5.56 am at the beginning of November and 5.48 am at the end of November
- Sunset: 6.50 pm at the beginning of November and 7.08 pm at the end of November.
Rainfall in November
Although the wet season might have begun, November experiences a minimal amount of rainfall days compared to the rest of the wet season. Only an average of 6 days experience rainfall in November. The amount of rainfall, however, starts to increase with heavier showers.
The Cook Islands receives an average of 174 mm / 6.9″ of rainfall in the month of November, with around 6 days out of November experiencing rain.
Average Rainfall Across the Cook Islands
- Rarotonga – The average rainfall in November is 174 mm / 6.9″
- Aitutaki – The average rainfall in November is 165 mm / 6.5″
- Mangaia – The average rainfall in November is 156 mm / 6.1″
- Mitiaro – The average rainfall in November is 162 mm / 6.4″
- Manihiki (North) – The average rainfall in November is 249 mm / 9.8″
- Penrhyn (North) – The average rainfall in November is 174 mm / 6.9″.
Tropical Storms in November
The South Pacific cyclone season starts in November and ends in April, making November a month with a slight risk of tropical storms but the risk is nowhere as likely as in later the months of December, January, February and March.
Historically, the Cook Islands was affected by a tropical cyclone in November 1890, 1927, 1941 and 1968. In more recent history, Cyclone Martin (1997) formed at the end of October and dissipated November 5 causing significant damage to the Northern Cook Islands and 19 deaths. It was considered one of the worst cyclones to affect the South Pacific in the 20th Century. No other cyclones have impacted the Cook Islands in November since then.
If you want to completely avoid the risk of cyclones in the Cook Islands, it’s best to travel in the dry season. For those planning to travel during November, it’s still a good idea to be aware of what to do in a cyclone by following our guide, Cyclone Safety in the Cook Islands.
Best Places to Visit in the Cook Islands in November
November is a good time to visit any of the Cook Islands thanks to the lower tourist numbers, generally better travel deals and idyllic weather. While we list all of the Cook Islands in What are the 15 Islands in the Cook Islands? for inspiration, a few recommendations for November include:
Rarotonga – Rarotonga is the most popular island to visit in the Cook Islands yet much quieter in November. Take advantage of its well-developed tourism scene, such as resorts and tours, often finding some good deals during this shoulder season. Showers are often short and sweet in November, so shouldn’t put too much of a damper on your travel plans. Find out more about what Rarotonga is all about in the 50 Best Things to Do on Rarotonga.
Aitutaki – For similar reasons as visiting Rarotonga, Aitutaki is worth visiting in November not only for its developed tourist scene but for the occasional good deal on flights and accommodation. Aitutaki is a little less rainy than Rarotonga if that’s a determining factor for you. Learn more about what to do in Aitutaki in the 20 Best Things to Do on Aitutaki.
November Packing List for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Be prepared for the Cook Islands in November by packing these few seasonal essentials:
- High-factor sunscreen (that’s reef-safe and water-resistant)
- Light rain jacket
- Light clothing layer (cotton or linen preferably so it is super light)
- 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)
- Insect repellent
- Closed walking shoes
- Sarong (pāreu).
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 November
That’s it for our complete guide to the weather and climate in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands in November. 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 October
- Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather in December
- Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather in January
Finally, enjoy a comprehensive guide to planning a trip to the Cook Islands in The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.