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First time visitors from Canada

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
15 posts
22 reviews
First time visitors from Canada

Hello, I am reading as much as possible in the forum here but there is just so many different options for places to stay and I am the world's most indecisive person ever so looking for some tips. lol

We are visiting Raro in December from the 4th-10th and are not sure if we should rent a private accommodation or book with a resort. This is what we are looking for:

-Nice beach for swimming

-Oceanview from accommodation

-Nearby fast food and drinks

-Sunset views

So, I am also wondering what the best option for transport would be? Take the bus or rent a scooter? What's the average price of scooter rental? Peddle bikes are also fine with us to get around so are these usually provided by resorts and by some private rentals?

We are arriving on a sunday and I know that alcohol is not available for purchase on this day so would we buy some at the LAX airport to bring through with us for that night?

Edited: 20 September 2016, 00:58
Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
Level Contributor
17,965 posts
130 reviews
1. Re: First time visitors from Canada

Kia Orana Dala, welcome to the Cook Islands forum.

Your are right! There are so many options for visitor accommodation around Raro, I can readily understand how difficult it is to find the best option for you.

Given your wish-list, I suggest Arorangi or Vaimaanga. Although the latter won't provide the same sunset experiences that a stay on the western side will.

Arorangi has more restaurants and fast foods compared to Vaimaanga. But there is a takeaway in Vaimaanga, beside Wigmore's store. And you can buy takeaway pizzas at Vaima from late morning through to night-time. Palm Grove have lagoon-view studios, with unobstructed views. Other well-priced, beachfront properties in this locality are Vai Villas, Vaka beach, Mama Ru's, Mollie Dean's.

From Black Rock (north Arorangi) towards Manuia Beach in the mid-west, you will find a range of very nice ocean-view accommodation that are handy to small shops and takeaways. In the vicinity of the Edgewater, there is very clean lagoon water, suitable for swimming and snorkelling (marine reserve), but not so good for kayaking. Fabulous sunsets though.

Without knowing your budget, have a look at Aiai Manea beach bungalow. Or Tutevera Arms. Manuia Beach, would be fantastic if you seek an adult's only boutique stay. Beside the Waterline restaurant, and a short distance to Castaway Resort and Wilson's beach bar is Lukuleah which looks into the lagoon from its ocean-view deck. If you don't mind being located at the largest resort on the island, Edgewater have ocean-view rooms. They serve excellent hamburgers, but you can also go across the road to the Roadhouse for very cheap burgers and beers.

Scooters are priced around $12 - $15 per day at present. Prices fluctuate according to peak season or demand, with high season being now. You can buy a 10 trip concession ticket on Cook's passenger buses for $30. Pushbikes are hire out, by the car rental companies and also Adventure Cook Islands and Ride Rarotonga.

The 2 duty-free outlets at Raro airport open for all flights, selling alcohol, and some wines also in the case of CITC Duty-free.

All the best with your holiday plans. Kia manuia.

nz
Destination Expert
for Norfolk Island, Noosaville, Rarotonga
Level Contributor
6,495 posts
295 reviews
2. Re: First time visitors from Canada

Hi

Just a couple of things to add.

If you're a wine drinker there is only a small choice at the Raro CITC dutyfree and no real saving. But the variety of spirits etc is good and well priced. The downside as I see it is that the stores are very busy when a flight arrives and the service can be very slow. This can mean that you'll then be at the end of the queues for immigration. If you're impatient to leave the airport and start your holiday (as I always am) then it may pay to bring what you need for your first night from LAX.

I see you're thinking of hiring a motor scooter. Do you have a licence to drive one at home? If not, you have to sit a written and practical test to get a licence nowadays and from next month all tourists will have to wear safety helmets at all times. This is due to the number of accidents.

I think this is a good thing and honestly think that it's safer to hire a small car. You won't get wet if it rains, your belongings can be safely locked away if you stop somewhere for a swim, meal or whatever and, perhaps most importantly, as long as you have a licence to drive a car at home you can drive on this in the Cooks without having to sit a test.

Pacifica, CA
Level Contributor
50 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: First time visitors from Canada

If you're arriving from LAX you'll be getting in Monday morning, around 7am. Plenty of time to get a scooter and go to The Bond or CITC bottle shops.

nz
Destination Expert
for Norfolk Island, Noosaville, Rarotonga
Level Contributor
6,495 posts
295 reviews
4. Re: First time visitors from Canada

alyinsanfran

There's a schedule change to AirNZ flights from LAX so people will be arriving on Sunday morning rather than Monday morning. It's more inconvenient for US visitors as those staying for only 6 days will miss the Saturday morning markets.

Pacifica, CA
Level Contributor
50 posts
5 reviews
5. Re: First time visitors from Canada

Thanks nzlilibet, I knew they were updating the planes to 777s buy didn't realise the schedule was chasing too.

nz
Destination Expert
for Norfolk Island, Noosaville, Rarotonga
Level Contributor
6,495 posts
295 reviews
6. Re: First time visitors from Canada

panda

If you were referring to my post I said that wine prices (and choice) weren't good but that spirit prices were good.

alyinsanfran

Yes, a number of flights have been rescheduled as the 767s are taken out of service. A couple of Auckland/Raro flights have been rescheduled as well.

Edmonton, Alberta
Level Contributor
3 posts
43 reviews
7. Re: First time visitors from Canada

Our family, 2A 4K will also be travelling to the Cook Islands Dec 17-30, 2016 from Canada and we couldn't be more excited to visit! A few questions.......What can we expect with reference to the Christmas holidays? What days will most shops or services be closed? Can you offer a recommendation for a nice Christmas dinner?

And....we would love to go to Aitutaki, but it's fairly pricey for our family of 6 via Air Raro; are there any other options?

whakawhetai koe

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
Level Contributor
17,965 posts
130 reviews
8. Re: First time visitors from Canada

Kia Orana WannaTravel, welcome to the Cook Islands forum.

Christmas holidays here are the same as other countries with the Queen as its head. Christmas Day is very quiet, Boxing Day sees people on the beaches. Lots of workers and their families will be on holiday relaxing at home, out with friends an family, and visiting the beaches if it's fine. Christmas Day sees most things shut, apart from resorts. From memory Oasis will open that day still.

A number of the resorts offer Christmas lunch and/or dinner. The Edgewater and the Islander serve reasonably priced meals on Christmas Day. The Edgewater buffet is good value for a family group.

Air Raro remains our only domestic air service. Perhaps consider the day-trip only, when you get here. Saves having to uplift from accommodation on Raro. There are lots of holiday houses to choose from around Rarotonga providing good value compared to a resort stay.

Leading up to Christmas Day there are family-oriented events including Christmas in the Park which is always lots of fun, and is held at Punanga Nui in town. Alternative venue is the new Constitution park alongside PN market-place, in Avarua.

Perhaps you would like to start your own thread with any further questions?

Kia manuia.

Edmonton, Alberta
Level Contributor
3 posts
43 reviews
9. Re: First time visitors from Canada

Thank you very much, Frangipani08. We're excited about travelling to Raro and experiencing your wonderful culture and hospitality.

This is a bucket list trip for us (and, I suspect many other travelers). We're staying at the Edgewater, so Christmas dinner there sounds perfect.

We will keep doing our research and may start a new thread with some questions that might not have been asked in the other areas of this forum.

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
15 posts
22 reviews
10. Re: First time visitors from Canada

Thanks for the tips! :) We are now booked from Dec 4th to the 9th before heading to Perth to visit family. We are currently still looking at accommodations and curious about Air BnB's that don't list A/C as an option. Most I've seen just say fans. Is A/C a must in early December?