Visit the Cook Islands in the Off-Season!
With sunny tropical weather all year round, the Cook Islands is one of those idealistic island paradises that doesn’t necessarily have a bad time to visit. Nevertheless, there are times of the year when people choose to avoid Rarotonga and the Cooks after hearing utterances of “wet season” and “cyclone season”. Since those travellers don’t do their research, this leaves the country gloriously uncrowded during this time; creating the low season.
The low season or “off-season” in the Cook Islands is during the middle of the wet season, from January to March, while the shoulder seasons of April to June and September to November are often also considered a quiet time to travel. Learn more about the low and shoulder seasons in The Best Time to Visit the Cook Islands. We go through all of the benefits of travelling during these times in this list of reasons to travel in the low season to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands!
1. Cheap Accommodation Deals
The first of many money-saving reasons why we’ll tell you that travelling in the low season to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands is totally worth doing is that accommodation is significantly cheaper in the low season! Usually anywhere between November and March, not only will you see prices change across the months on platforms like Booking.com and Expedia, but many accommodations offer special low season deals on their websites. We’ve seen the difference between low and high season rates as much as NZ$500! Plus, low season deals such as “stay five nights, pay for four” are very common in the low season.
2. Less Tourists!
Admit it; no one likes tourists, not even tourists! We jest, of course, but if you’re less eager to spend your holidays on a jam-packed Muri Beach, in larger tour groups and struggling to get a seat at Antipodes, then the low season is your season!
3. More Sustainable!
Travelling in the low season puts less strain on infrastructure, making it a more sustainable time to travel to the Cook Islands. Since you’re on a roll, see the 30 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in the Cook Islands.
4. It’s Warmer!
If you prefer warmer weather, the low season is your time to soak in the tropical sun! The low season falls in the Cook Islands’ summer when the country experiences some of its highest temperatures but also its highest humidity. We like to think of it as comfortable humidity though; like a big tropical hug! Some people even complain that the high season is “too cold”, so don’t take any chances. Check out the Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather, Seasons & Climate + Weather by Month to compare temperatures throughout the year.
5. There are Plenty of Events Going On
Some of the biggest sporting events happen during the low season in the Cook Islands, including Motu2Motu in November/December, the Cook Islands Rugby League Season in February, the Aitutaki Marathon in March and the Rarotonga International Triathlon in April/May. You also have an awesome opportunity to experience some of the biggest culture festivals like the Te Mire Tiare Flower Festival in November/December and some of the rounds of the Te Mire Ura – Dancer of the Year through March and April.
Get planning the events you want to see in The Top Events & Festivals in the Cook Islands  and the 10 Biggest Festivals in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
6. Be More Spontaneous
In the high season, you pretty much need your whole itinerary planned out, from where you’re staying even to dining at some of the islands’ more popular restaurants! Forget about that in the low season. You can even book your trip last minute and still find a decent resort room and do tours and activities on the fly.
7. Experience Better Service
While Cook Islanders are all smiles all year round – it’s just part of their culture, they are perhaps a little too overwhelmed in the high season to give every guest or patron the same superb service. Travel in the low season and you’ll find a better staff-to-visitor ratio, where local staff will be able to spend more time with you and even take the time to tell you more about the hidden gems of the Cooks.
8. You’re Highly Unlikely to Be Taken Out by a Cyclone
A fear that many potential visitors to the Cook Islands have about visiting in the low season is that they’ll be taken out by a cyclone. This is highly unlikely, as cyclones affecting the Southern Group, where most visitors go, are usually pretty slim. There have only been a handful of cyclones that have seriously damaged the Cook Islands over the last 50 years, most of which – sorry, Northern Group – have affected the Northern Group.
Find out more about the cyclone risk in Cyclone Safety in the Cook Islands: How to Prepare for a Cyclone in the Cook Islands.
9. Flights are Cheaper (Sometimes)
Ok, so working out when to get the cheapest airfares is an art that no one seems to really understand with an ever-changing social, economical and environmental climate. But, when there aren’t pandemics or various other catastrophes, the general rule is that flights are cheaper to the Cook Islands in the low season. This tends to just apply to flights coming from New Zealand and Australia, however. See How to Book a Cheap Flight to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for more advice.
10. The Cook Islands are Beautiful All Year Round
Lush green interiors, white sands, turquoise lagoons and on-and-off blue skies: Rarotonga and the Cook Islands look the same all year round. In fact, we’d even say that it looks slightly better in the low season as the country’s only waterfall, the Papua Waterfall, puts on more of a show after heavy rainfalls during the wet season.
More About the Low Season in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
That’s it for our reasons to travel in the low season to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. For more advice on low season travel, take a look at the following guides:
- The Best Time to Visit Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Best Months to Visit
- Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather, Seasons & Climate + Weather by Month
- 25 Top Reasons to Visit Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, plan your entire trip to the Cook Islands from scratch using The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.