Tips for Choosing the Best Holiday Home in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands© Alisha Street - Cook Islands Tourism
Tips for Choosing the Best Holiday Home in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands

Tips for Choosing the Best Holiday Home in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands

© Alisha Street – Cook Islands Tourism

Advice on Choosing a Holiday Home in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands

Enjoy your own piece of paradise in one of the holiday homes in the Cook Islands. If you prefer a more private and independent holiday experience, then holiday homes are often the best choice of accommodation. We’ll give you some advice on choosing a holiday home in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands, taking into account facilities and locations, in the guide below.

For examples of the Cook Islands’ holiday homes, head over to the 20 Best Holiday Homes in the Cook Islands and 25 Best Villas in the Cook Islands.

3 Things You Need to Know About Holiday Homes in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

  1. Entry requirements for the Cook Islands require you to have your accommodation booked before arrival, so make sure you know the address of your holiday home, as it’s unlikely that Customs will know it just from the name
  2. Holiday homes are the fastest to book up in the Cook Islands, so book as soon in advance as possible to avoid disappointment
  3. Consider hiring a car to get to nearby attractions and restaurants, especially in Aitutaki. Otherwise, on Rarotonga, you’re never too far from the main road where you can catch a bus.
Tips for Choosing the Best Holiday Home in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands©

How Many Does the Holiday Home Sleep and What is the Cost?

Holiday homes in the Cook Islands come in the form of villas with a private pool, beach houses and family-style homes. There are also holiday home complexes where there are multiple holiday homes on the same property, sometimes sharing facilities like a swimming pool.

The Cost of Holiday Homes and Villas in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

Generally, the larger and more lavish the holiday home is, the more expensive the nightly rate is, but not necessarily per person – bear that in mind!

You’ll find small holiday homes ranging in price from NZ$90 per night to multi-room holiday villas typically costing around NZ$300-$700 per night, so you’ll really find something to suit every style and budget in the Cook Islands.

How Many People to the Holiday Home Sleep?

One of the major aspects to consider is how many a holiday home sleeps, as there is rarely a need to go over budget for a home with more space than you need. Holiday homes in the Cook Islands typically range from one-bedroom houses to 14-bedroom villas, sleeping anywhere between two to 25 people!

It’s easy to find holiday homes for smaller groups – just check out the 20 Best Holiday Homes in the Cook Islands and 25 Best Villas in the Cook Islands.

The 5 Best Holiday Homes and Villas for Large Groups in Rarotonga

Accommodation for large groups is slightly more difficult to find (unless, you know, you’re here using Cook Islands Pocket Guide). Large group holiday homes and villas in Rarotonga include:

  1. Te Puka Estate (up to 20 people)
  2. Iro Luxury Retreat (up to 25 people)
  3. Paradise Holiday Homes (up to 32 people)
  4. Tuoro Holiday Villas (up to 32 people)
  5. Aremango Guesthouse (up to 22 people).

Note that large group accommodation is not available on the outer islands, but you may be able to hire a resort on Aitutaki instead.

Tips for Choosing the Best Holiday Home in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands©

Where is the Holiday Home Located and How to Get There?

Holiday homes are only found in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Of course, you will want to find a holiday home on the island that appeals the most to you, so compare islands in The Best Islands to Visit in the Cook Islands. Plus, there’s the consideration of budget, as there is an additional flight to get to Aitutaki from the international airport at Rarotonga.

Once you have decided which island you want to visit, you need to then consider the location of the holiday home, what’s nearby and how you are going to get there.

On Rarotonga, there’s not too much to consider when it comes to location, as everything is close and if you don’t have your own transport then the main road with the bus service is never too far away from Rarotonga’s holiday homes. You might just want to decide if you want to be on the beach or are happy to be within walking distance of the beach, which tends to be the case for most holiday homes. Compare holiday homes in the 20 Best Holiday Homes in Rarotonga and delve deeper into the subject of where to stay in A Guide to the Best Side of Rarotonga.

In Aitutaki, things are a little different as there is no public transport. You may want to stay near the towns of Amuri or Arutanga for the convenience of grocery stores and services, or choose an idyllic spot on the beach, in the hills with awesome views or elsewhere. Or, just hire a car or scooter and you’ll find that everything will feel closer.

Tips for Choosing the Best Holiday Home in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands©

What’s Included in Your Stay?

Some holiday homes in Rarotonga and Aitutaki offer more than just a roof over your head. From the type of self-catering facilities available to some holiday homes providing a rental car, there are many things that make holiday homes quite different from each other in the Cook Islands.

Self-Catering Facilities

Every holiday home in the Cook Islands has some sort of self-catering facilities. However, not all of them have a full kitchen with a dishwasher and an oven! With that in mind, be sure to check what the kitchen facilities include, especially if you intend to cook your own meals each night. For more self-catering advice, check out A Guide to Food Shopping in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

Typically Included Facilities

These are the facilities that are almost always included in your holiday home in Rarotonga and Aitutaki:

  • Parking 
  • Hot water
  • Fans
  • Insect screens on the windows or mosquito nets
  • Garden
  • Basic kitchen
  • Beds with linen provided
  • Towels
  • Bathroom with a shower, toilet and sink
  • Fully furnished lounge and dining area.

Additional Services and Facilities

Some, but not all, of the Cook Islands’ holiday homes include additional services. Take a look at the services and facilities below and pick the ones you require to keep in mind when comparing holiday homes:

  • Ocean views or a lookout
  • On the beach
  • Swimming pool – see 25 Best Villas with a Private Pool
  • WiFi (usually an additional fee)
  • Air conditioning
  • Outside deck or verandah
  • Tea and coffee
  • Kitchen condiments, such as oil, salt, pepper, etc.
  • Fresh seasonal fruit
  • Toiletries
  • Iron
  • Portacot
  • Washing machine
  • Kayaks and/or SUP boards
  • Snorkelling gear
  • Car rental (for a fee) – See 6 Accommodations with Car or Scooter Hire
  • Airport transfers.

More Tips for Choosing a Holiday Home or Villa in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

That’s it for our guide on how to choose a holiday home in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands, but by no means the end of our holiday advice! Check out the following guides for more tips:

Finally, if you haven’t yet found the perfect place to stay, start from square one with Where to Stay in the Cook Islands: The Best Cook Islands Accommodations.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, a local government body representing the tourism industry. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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