The Cost of Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Restaurant & Grocery Prices
The Cost of Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Restaurant & Grocery Prices

The Cost of Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Restaurant & Grocery Prices

© Derek Smith – Cook Islands Tourism

What are the Food Prices in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands?

Everyone’s got to eat! Whether you’re opting to self-cater or prefer to eat out, find out what to expect when it comes to the cost of food in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands with our food price list. We list the typical prices of food for restaurants, supermarkets and more.

Note that the food prices listed below are approximate and may change with the seasons, especially produce.

For more costs to consider for your trip to the Cooks, head to How Much Does a Trip to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Cost?

5 Ways to Save Money on Food

Before we jump into our Rarotonga and Cook Islands food price list, here are some quick tips on saving money on food when visiting:

  1. Shop for produce (and sometimes baked goods) at roadside fruit stands and local markets
  2. Pay with cash to avoid card fees
  3. For visiting the outer islands (other than Aitutaki), shop for food on Rarotonga
  4. Use a reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water (we recommend Lifestraw Bottles if you’re staying at accommodation without treated drinking water)
  5. Visit late in the summer season (February and March) for fruit to be at its lowest price – some locals try and give it away for free!

For elaboration on all these tips and more, check out the 15 Ways to Save Money on Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

The Cost of Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Restaurant & Grocery Prices© Derek Smith - Cook Islands Tourism

The Cost of Eating Out in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

Of course, you want to eat out at least a few times while you’re on holiday! Rarotonga and Aitutaki have a range of restaurants where both local and international cuisine is well-represented. We list some of the typical food prices at restaurants, cafes and takeaways around the islands.

Restaurant Prices in the Cook Islands

  • Main breakfast meal – NZ$10-$29
  • Main lunch meal – NZ$15-$35
  • Main dinner meal – NZ$14-$49
  • Small coffee – NZ$5-$6
  • Bottle of beer – NZ$6.50-$8
  • Glass of wine – NZ$12
  • Cocktail – NZ$11-$21
  • Mocktail/Smoothie – NZ$7-$16
  • Soft drink – NZ$5-$6
  • Island night buffet and show – NZ$60-$130

Not that meals on the cheaper end of the scale are from cafes, takeaways and markets listed in The Top Cheap Eats on Rarotonga and The Top Cheap Eats on Aitutaki. Food in the mid-range to fine dining price range can be found in The Best Places to Eat on Rarotonga and The Best Places to Eat on Aitutaki.

The Cost of Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Restaurant & Grocery Prices© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

The Cost of Food in Supermarkets in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

If you’re staying in self-catering accommodation, then you can save money on food by making your own meals. To give you an idea of the cost of your grocery shopping in the Cook Islands, here’s a quick rundown of common food items.

Supermarket/Grocery Prices in the Cook Islands

  • 1.5l (50 fluid ounces) box of milk – NZ$2.40-$2.90
  • 12 eggs – NZ$8.50-$9.50
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) rice – NZ$2.30-$3
  • 500g (1.1 pounds) pasta – NZ$3.50-$4.20
  • A loaf of bread – NZ$5-$5.80
  • 500g (1.1 pounds) cheese – NZ$12
  • 100g (3 ounces) dry freeze coffee – NZ$11-$13
  • Bag of chips – NZ$2.99-$3.80
  • Can of coke – NZ$2-$2.50
  • Box of cereal – NZ$8-$9
  • 6 muesli bars – NZ$3.50
  • 500g (1.1 pounds) jam – NZ$4-$7
  • 120g (4.4. ounces) baby food – NZ$2.95
  • 1.5l (50.7 fluid ounces) bottled water – NZ$4
  • 12 pack of Heineken – NZ$28

The Price of Fruit and Vegetables in Supermarkets in the Cook Islands

  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of apples – NZ$6
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of onions – NZ$2.60-$7
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of potatoes – NZ$2.60-$7
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of carrots – NZ$3.70
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of avocados – NZ$11.50
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of mangos – NZ$5-7

Note that you can usually find the cheapest produce at roadside stalls. See A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for more information.

The Price of Meat in the Supermarkets in the Cook Islands

  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of chicken thighs – NZ$13
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of beef mince – NZ$16.50
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of pork – NZ$20
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of lamb – NZ$13-$20
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of sausages – NZ$13
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) of rump steak – NZ$22

The Price of Toiletries at the Supermarkets in the Cook Islands

  • Deodorant – NZ$4.10
  • Shampoo – NZ$5-$15
  • Toothpaste – NZ$3-$7
  • Sunscreen (10ml/0.34oz) – NZ$8-$10
  • Insect repellent – NZ$7.25-$13
  • Sanitary towels/pads – NZ$5-$9
  • Tampons – NZ$4-$8.
The Cost of Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Restaurant & Grocery Prices© Taniera - Cook Islands Tourism

The Cost of Meals at Homestays and Guesthouses on the Outer Islands

Note that if you are staying on one of the Pa Enua (outer islands), such as Mangaia, Mitiaro, Mauke or the islands of the Northern Group, you are likely to be provided meals from your accommodation host.

Many accommodations on the outer islands, whether they are homestays or guesthouses, provide three meals a day included in the nightly accommodation rate. This rate ranges from NZ$100 to NZ$160 per night. A handful of accommodations, such as villas, charge an additional rate for meals, such as NZ$20-$35 per person for lunch and NZ$20-$65 per person for dinner.

Compare guesthouses and homestays in our 10 Best Guesthouses in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands and The Best Homestays in the Cook Islands.

The Cost of Food in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Restaurant & Grocery Prices© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cost of Food in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

What are the questions that most travellers have about the cost of food in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands? They might help answer yours!

Is Food Expensive in Rarotonga?

Food prices are on par or slightly more expensive in Rarotonga compared to New Zealand. The food in Rarotonga is more expensive than in Australia and more so than in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

What is the Cost of Alcohol in Rarotonga?

The cost of alcohol in Rarotonga restaurants and bars is approximately NZ$6.50-$8 for a bottle of beer, NZ$12 for a glass of wine and NZ$11-$21 for a cocktail. The cheapest alcohol in Rarotonga tends to be Heineken beer at around NZ$28 to $30 for a 12-pack.

More About the Cost of Food in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

Now that you know some of the common food, restaurant and grocery prices in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, here are more guides to help you balance your travel budget:

Finally, plan your whole trip on a budget using The Complete Backpacking Guide to the Cook Islands on a Budget.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as the Cook Islands. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Raro’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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