The Guide to Bars, Clubs, Nightlife Tours and Island Nights on Rarotonga
Rarotonga might be a small island but it has a big party scene! There’s so much on offer when it comes to bars and clubs that there are two party buses booming around the coastal road on Wednesday and Friday nights. It’s not all dancing until the early hours, however, as the island’s casual beach bars and resort’s cocktail bars offer a more laidback environment to enjoy your sundowners. A real Rarotongan nightlife experience, however, is their “island nights”, a cultural extravaganza of Cook Islander feasts and captivating dance performances.
So, rule the night and make the most of the island’s bar scene with this ultimate guide to Rarotonga nightlife.
Happy Hour on Rarotonga
Before we dive into the best bars and clubs on Rarotonga, here’s a quick list of the only times you need on Raro: the Rarotonga happy hour! Of course, happy hour is different for each bar, so we’ve made it easy to hit the best spots for cheap drinks.
- Wilson’s Beach Bar, Castaway Resort (Arorangi) – 3pm to 6pm
- Trio’s Garden Bar (Avarua) – 5pm to 7pm
- RSC (Muri) – 4pm to 6pm
- Sunset Bar, OTB (Aroragi) – 3pm to 6pm
- Oceans Bar, Crown Beach Resort (Arorangi) – 4pm to 6pm
- Rumba, Club Raro Resort (Tupapa) – 4pm to 6pm
- Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro (Nikao) – 4pm to 7pm
- Captain Andy’s Beach Bar & Grill, The Rarotongan (Aroa Beach) – 5pm to 6pm
- Charlie’s (Titikaveka) – 4pm to 6pm
- Mal’s Bar, Edgewater Resort – 5pm to 6pm
- Barefoot Bar, Pacific Resort – 4pm to 5pm and 8.30pm to 9pm
- Hula Bar, The Islander Hotel – All day!
Check out some of our favourite bars in the 10 Best Bars on Rarotonga.
Drinking and Nightlife on Rarotonga
Rarotonga is where it is at when it comes to nightlife in the South Pacific. The island is buzzing with beach bars, relaxed resort bars and nightclubs in its capital. We’ll guide you through the different areas of the island and their bar scene. Or, you know, visit them all on a cocktail happy hour tour or party bus (more on that in the next section).
Nightlife in Avarua (and Nikao and Tupapa)
The island’s capital, Avarua offers the largest abundance of bars and nightclubs on Rarotonga. At the western end of town past the airport, the town merges with Nikao, while the eastern end of town merges with Tupapa – both providing a couple of more drinking options.
OTR (On the Rocks)
Start, continue and/or end your night out at OTR, otherwise known as On The Rocks. The waterfront Avarua bar near Rehab (see below) is the place to go for cheap drinks, DJs and live music. Opening hours are Wednesday to Saturday til late. Find them on the waterfront past Trader Jacks and Rehab.
Trio’s Garden Bar
Most flock to Trio’s Garden Bar for karaoke Thursday and Saturday nights and live bands on Monday and Friday. They have pool tables and all of the expected drinks. They are open from Monday to Saturday 11am until late. Find them in town at the Banana Court (on the roadside).
The party is at the bus station from Wednesday to Saturday, from 8pm until late! Luna is the home of affordable drinks, local DJs and live bands on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s another must-hit party place in Avarua.
Rehab is the place to end a night out on Rarotonga. Dance the rest of the night away with “DJHab” and drinks that admittedly get a little expensive, so make sure you do all the drinking you want before you get here. The club is also the last stop on the “Rehab Party Bus” (see the section below). Rehab is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night.
Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro
Cheap drinks and cheap eats can be enjoyed at Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro. A beach bar on Nikao beach that’s also popular with the locals, Vaiana’s offers a casual family-friendly atmosphere. They are open from 11am Monday to Saturday.
Rumba (Club Raro Resort)
Out of town along the shores of Tupapa, Rumba is the Club Raro Resort‘s poolside hangout with a very decent happy hour: NZ$5 beer and wine, NZ$4 spirits and NZ$10 cocktails.
Nightlife in Arorangi and Aroa Beach
Bars take advantage of Rarotonga’s sunset coast with venues on the beach! Enjoy a laidback atmosphere at these bars in Arorangi all the way down to Aroa Beach.
Shipwreck Hut (Aro’a Beachside Inn)
With a prominent nautical theme and seating on the soft sands of Aroa Beach, Shipwreck Hut is Rarotonga’s feel-good beach bar. Enjoy the sunset as you sip on jam-jar cocktails and refreshing beer. The bar is open daily from 5pm with live music on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Wilson’s Beach Bar (Castaway Resort)
The only beach bar in the Cook Islands where the bar itself is literally on the sand, Wilson’s Beach Bar mixes vibrant cocktails and serves Japanese barbecue skewers and other bar snacks. They also have a Cuban cigar menu should you feel compelled! Opening hours are daily from 12pm.
Sunset Bar (OTB)
Watch the sunset and feel your toes in the sand at this elegant beach bar on Arorangi Beach. With one of the largest wine lists on the island, as well as creative cocktails, local beer and international favourites, there’s not much the Sunset Bar doesn’t do. Find the bar at the On The Beach Restaurant at Manuia Beach Resort.
Oceans Bar (Crown Resort)
For a more relaxed vacation atmosphere, unwind with a cocktail or two at the Oceans Bar of the Crown Beach Resort. The adults-only resort sets the tone right for a relaxed yet refined afternoon and evening. Their daily happy hour treats you to NZ$2 off all drinks.
The Waterline Beach Bar
Enjoy live music on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at this laidback bar elevated over the beach of Arorangi. Otherwise, The Waterline Beach Bar pours a wide range of wines, beers and cocktails – simple!
Captain Andy’s Beach Bar & Grill (The Rarotongan)
A family-friendly bar at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium, Captain Andy’s Beach Bar & Grill provides a relaxed atmosphere gazing out across the Aroa Lagoon.
Nightlife in Muri
The tourist hotspot of Muri comes with no lack of bars to keep your whistle watered. Most bars come in the form of resort bars.
RSC Beachfront Bar & Brasserie
The RSC, a.k.a. the Rarotonga Sailing Club, serves up a refreshing array of beverages on the elevated deck overlooking the lagoon or on the sands. They usually have a live string band on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.
Barefoot Bar (Pacific Resort Rarotonga)
Whether you’re in the booths of the South Seas-themed Barefoot Bar, by the pool or dining alfresco in the courtyard, the friendly bar staff at the Pacific Resort Rarotonga are here to serve you colourful cocktails, wines, beers or whatever you choose. The sound of the conch shell indicates happy hour twice per evening!
Lagoon Lounge & Bar (Muri Beach Club Hotel)
Quench your thirst with a refreshing cocktail and laidback vibes at the adults-only Lagoon Lounge & Bar or the Muri Beach Club Hotel. They have a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available.
Enjoy a few alternative beverages by the lagoon pool of the Nautilus Resort. Nautilus Restaurant mixes up all of the usual cocktails and pours the usual beer and wine, but sangria, detox drinks and fishbowls also make an appearance!
We get it, that’s quite an extensive list of bars and nightclubs in Rarotonga. Check out just our top picks in the 10 Best Bars on Rarotonga or let someone else do the choosing with one of the nightlife tours listed below…
Nightlife Tours on Rarotonga
Don’t worry about one of your party having to be the “designated driver”; Rarotonga’s nightlife tours are here to show you all a good time. When the deed is done, you also have your transport back to your accommodation sorted.
Going Troppo Nightlife Tour
Gather in “the green bus” decorated with LED lights and with up to 22 other soon-to-be friends on the Going Troppo Nightlife Tour. Grab your souvenir LED “Going Troppo” wine glass or stubby-holder and hit the road to various bars and clubs around the island. The four to six-hour tour with pick-ups at 7/8pm includes a complimentary snack platter to keep you going throughout the night. Tours operate Wednesdays and Fridays. Book your nightlife tour on Viator or Tripadvisor.
Rehab Party Bus (Raro Pub Crawl)
Under the “thatched” island-style roof of the Rehab Party Bus, dance and play hilarious games with the crew as you travel around Raro! Picking you up and dropping you off at your accommodation at the end of the night, your transfers are taken care of. Just let your hair down with like-minded travellers and locals and hit some of the best bars around the island before concluding the tour at the Rehab nightclub.
Tik-e Tours’ Happy Hour Cocktail Tour
Hop on an environmentally-friendly electric tuk-tuk and let your guide transport you and your mates to the hottest cocktail spots and happy hour specials around Rarotonga! Designed for groups of a minimum of four, this is the ultimate tour for hen parties or adult groups looking for a unique way to spend an evening on the island. Your guide at Tik-e Tours can give you tips on what to order so you don’t miss the best cocktails on the island!
See more epic tours to do on an evening in the 10 Things to Do in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands at Night.
Rarotonga Island Nights
An unmissable form of nightlife entertainment on Rarotonga is its cultural shows, locally known as “island nights”. All island nights include a buffet with traditional Cook Islands food, as well as some crowd-pleasers. The highlight, however, is their cultural shows with energetic dancing from the island’s warriors and a mix of elegant dancing to vigorous hip-shaking from the island’s princesses.
Te Vara Nui Village
One of the most spectacular settings for an island night on Rarotonga, Te Vara Nui Village includes an island/Western dinner buffet combined with an elaborate overwater show at their water garden venue in Muri. Find out more about the show or book tickets on Viator or Tripadvisor.
On the inland hills of Arorangi‘s interior, Highland Paradise treats guests to a cultural tour of their archaeological site, a historic marae, complete with traditional welcoming ceremonies and storytelling before unwinding with a buffet feast. Their island night concludes with a powerful performance from their dance troupe and band.
Edgewater Resort & Spa
Tuesday and Saturday nights are “island nights” at the largest resort on Rarotonga, the Edgewater Resort & Spa. Try a selection of Rarotongan dishes at the buffet before the captivating show gets underway at their indoor venue spilling out to outside seating by the pool. Dinner starts at 7pm and the show starts at 8.30pm.
The Islander Hotel
One of the most affordable island nights (and with the cheapest drinks at their Hula Bar), The Islander Hotel‘s island nights are on Tuesdays. Be wowed by mesmerising costumes, fire dancing and technical skills from a dance troupe that has won Rarotonga’s annual “Dancer of the Year” competitions. Transfers are available for a NZ$10 fee.
And there are more island nights at the Crown Beach Resort, Muri Beach Club Hotel and more. Compare those in the 10 Best Island Nights in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
More About Rarotonga Nightlife (Plus, More Things to Do in Rarotonga at Night)
That’s it for our ultimate guide to Rarotonga nightlife, including the happy hours, best bars, nightclubs, nightlife tours and island nights. But partying and drinking is not the only thing to do on a night on Rarotonga. Night SUP, twilight scuba diving and dining at the island’s fabulous restaurants are more ways to make the most of the night. Find out more about these endeavours in the following guides:
- 10 Things to Do in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands at Night
- The Best Places to Eat on Rarotonga: 10 Best Restaurants
- 10 Adults-Only Activities on Rarotonga
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Ultimate Guide to the Cook Islands Nightlife.