Most visitors staying at hotels and rental houses will have pre-arranged an airport pickup to reach their respective accommodation. The convenience of having a main ring road encircling Rarotonga, where most of the accommodation is located, makes for a straightforward process when guests are being delivered to each destination; one accommodation property after another.
The furtherest distance from the airport is half an hour away. However, guests should expect that this timeframe will lengthen according to the number of stops to be made, as well as the number of guests destinated for each stop. There are several transfer operators on Rarotonga who provide transfers according to the individual accommodation property. Upon arrival into Rarotonga, airport hostesses greet every arriving passenger and enquire where visitors are staying on the island. The hostesses will then direct visitors towards the transfer desks, all of which are located within the arrivals hall. Transfers are handled in an orderly manner, and it doesn't take long before the loaded vehicles are on their way to the scheduled resorts & rental villas.
Should visitors not have pre-arranged transfers, the best option is to seek an available taxi at the stand located immediately beyond the transfer desks, towards the departures terminal. Many of the taxi services will be waiting to collect passengers who have already booked with them. However, the taxi drivers are very approachable and are happy to arrange among their colleagues for an alternative taxi or a backup vehicle to call by.
Alternatively, Avis/Budget maintains a hire vehicle booth at the airport during all flights. Rental cars are likely to be available for hire from the airport, where extra vehicles are parked anyway. Avis/Budget can supply the hirer with a temporary Cook Islands drivers licence until the next available date when the driver licencing counter is open at the Police building situated in Avarua, the main township of Rarotonga. Rental car hire rates are most reasonable in the Cook Islands. Hiring a vehicle to transport a family group makes for affordable transfers by comparison with the cost of a professional transfer service. However, since most arrivals into Rarotonga are during the night, it is arguably easier to purchase an organised service in an unknown environment, especially at nighttime after a flight(s).
Passengers on a tight budget who have chosen not to stay at pre-arranged accommodation ahead of a domestic flight to Aitutaki may find that the hours spent in an open terminal environment is not a comfortable option. The Aquarius Hotel situated directly across from the airport contains flashpacker dorm rooms in addition to ensuite guest-rooms. The Aquarius is open for all day meals, serving breakfast from 7:00am.