Located in the heart of the South Pacific, Rarotonga is celebrated not only for its pristine beaches and lush landscapes but also for its vibrant retail and artisan culture.

Shopping enthusiasts will find themselves in a paradise where traditional craftsmanship meets modern markets, offering a diverse range of unique treasures.

The island embraces its rich heritage and creativity, and this is beautifully reflected in its shopping experiences. Between shopping sprees, embark on an Ultimate Rarotonga Adventure Guide to see what else the island offers.

Whether you’re in search of authentic handcrafted souvenirs, stunning works of art, or modern retail therapy, Rarotonga caters to all tastes. So, let’s embark on a shopping journey through this Pacific gem.

guide to shopping in Rarotonga

Unveiling Rarotonga’s Artistic Heart: Craft Villages and Workshops


Rarotonga’s soul is intricately woven with artistry and creativity, and this is perhaps most evident in its craft villages and workshops. These are the places where you can witness the island’s cultural heritage and craftsmanship firsthand. Here are five exceptional destinations that celebrate the artistic heart of Rarotonga:

1. Tivaevae Workshops

Tivaevae is a traditional Cook Islands art form, creating intricately stitched quilts that tell stories of love, family, and culture. To delve into this craft, visit one of the many Tivaevae workshops scattered across the island.

Here, skilled artisans offer hands-on experiences, guiding you through the delicate process of quilting. You’ll learn about the significance of each stitch and color, creating your unique piece of Cook Islands art.

2. Koka Lagoon Cruise Craft Market

Located on the scenic Muri Beach, this vibrant craft market offers an array of locally crafted goods. From exquisite black pearl jewelry to carved wooden artifacts, you’ll find treasures that showcase the island’s artistic diversity.

What sets this market apart is its stunning backdrop – the crystal-clear waters of the lagoon and the lush mountains in the distance.

3. Punanga Nui Market

This bustling market in Avarua is a vibrant hub of activity on Saturday mornings. Here, you can immerse yourself in Cook Islands culture, as locals gather to sell their wares.

From fresh produce to handwoven baskets, the market offers an authentic glimpse into daily life on Rarotonga. Don’t miss the chance to try traditional foods like “ika mata” (marinated raw fish) and “poke” (a Polynesian salad).

3. Art Studio Galleries

Rarotonga boasts a burgeoning art scene, and you can explore it through numerous art studio galleries. These galleries feature the works of talented local artists who draw inspiration from the island’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Wander through these spaces, admiring paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media creations. Some studios even offer workshops, allowing you to try your hand at creating your piece of Rarotonga art.

Located in the heart of Avarua, this gallery is a testament to Cook Island’s artistry. It showcases a diverse collection of art, from traditional to contemporary.

You can explore exquisite Maori carvings, stunning paintings, and intricately designed jewelry. The gallery often hosts exhibitions and events, providing a dynamic platform for local artists to shine.

These craft villages and workshops are more than just shopping destinations; they are windows into Rarotonga’s artistic heritage. Immerse yourself in the culture, learn from talented artisans, and take home a piece of this tropical paradise.

Modern Shopping Venues in Rarotonga


In addition to the traditional markets and craft villages, Rarotonga offers a taste of contemporary shopping experiences that cater to modern trends and preferences. Here, you can find a mix of local and international brands, making it a paradise for shopaholics.

1. Tav Pacific

Tav Pacific is a boutique shopping complex located in Avarua, the capital of Rarotonga. This shopping hub is a treasure trove of high-quality fashion, accessories, and jewelry made by local designers.

If you’re on the lookout for unique garments and accessories that reflect the Cook Islands’ style, this is the place to visit. You can find everything from pareus (sarongs) to elegant jewelry inspired by the island’s natural beauty.

2. Citimart

Citimart is the island’s answer to convenience stores, and it’s the go-to place for both locals and tourists to pick up daily essentials. This supermarket offers a variety of products, including groceries, toiletries, and electronics.

It’s not just a shopping venue; it’s a glimpse into the daily life of Rarotonga’s residents. You might even find some intriguing local products and snacks to take home.

3. Coconut Paradise

If you’re interested in coconut-based products and their myriad uses, Coconut Paradise is a must-visit spot. Located in Avarua, this store offers an extensive range of coconut-based items, from coconut oils and body lotions to soaps and candles.

It’s not only a shopping venue but also an educational experience where you can learn about the importance of coconuts in Cook Islands culture.

4. The Perfume Factory

Located in Avarua, the Perfume Factory is a delightful olfactory experience. Here, you can explore a collection of exquisite fragrances, including tropical-inspired scents that capture the essence of Rarotonga.

The shop offers various sizes and types of perfumes, ensuring you’ll find the perfect fragrance to take home as a reminder of your time on the island.

Bargain Hunt


Shopping in Rarotonga isn’t just about purchasing items; it’s also an opportunity to engage in the age-old practice of bargaining.

While not all shopping experiences in Rarotonga involve haggling, certain markets still retain this charming tradition. Here are a few markets where you can try your hand at bargaining:

1. Punanga Nui Market

This vibrant market in Avarua is a treasure trove of local crafts, fresh produce, and souvenirs. While some stalls have fixed prices, many are open to negotiation. Politeness and a friendly attitude go a long way when bargaining here.

Start with a smile and ask politely if there’s room for a better deal. You’ll often find vendors happy to oblige.

2. Muri Night Market

Muri Night Market, held on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday evenings, is a fantastic place to experience the local food scene. It’s also an excellent spot for bargains, especially when purchasing food items.

As you explore the various food stalls, don’t hesitate to negotiate for a better price or extra portions. Locals appreciate a good-natured haggle, and you might end up with a more satisfying meal.

3. Avarua Market

This bustling market is a great place to buy fresh produce, tropical fruits, and local snacks. While some vendors might have fixed prices for staples, you can still negotiate when purchasing larger quantities or unique items.

Remember to be respectful and cheerful while bargaining, and you’re likely to leave with a smile and some great deals.

So, whether you’re looking for modern shopping experiences or want to try your hand at bargaining in the local markets, Rarotonga has something for every shopper. Enjoy the blend of contemporary and traditional retail that makes this island a shopping paradise in the South Pacific.


In Rarotonga, shopping is not just about acquiring items; it’s a journey that immerses you in the island’s culture and traditions. From traditional crafts at local markets to modern shopping experiences in Avarua, Rarotonga caters to every shopper’s desires.

Whether you’re bargaining for a unique souvenir or indulging in the scents of tropical perfumes, shopping in Rarotonga offers an enchanting blend of old and new.

So, as you explore the island’s shopping scene, remember to savor the moments, interact with local artisans, and embrace the rich retail culture that makes Rarotonga a shopping paradise in the South Pacific.


What are the best items to buy in Rarotonga?

Rarotonga offers a wide range of items worth buying, including traditional crafts like pareus (sarongs), intricately woven baskets, black pearls, and coconut-based products

Do I need to haggle at Rarotonga’s markets?

While haggling is a part of the shopping culture at some markets, it’s not mandatory. Polite negotiation can sometimes get you a better deal, but not all vendors engage in bargaining.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Rarotonga’s shops?

Credit cards are generally accepted in larger stores and restaurants, but it’s advisable to carry cash for smaller establishments and markets.

What are the best markets to visit in Rarotonga?

Some of the best markets include Punanga Nui Market in Avarua, Muri Night Market, and Avarua Market. Each offers a unique shopping and cultural experience.

Can I find international brands and modern shopping in Rarotonga?

Yes, you can find some international brands and modern shopping experiences in Rarotonga, especially in the capital, Avarua. Tav Pacific is a great place to explore modern fashion and accessories

What is the best time to shop in Rarotonga?

Most markets are open in the mornings, so it’s best to visit them early to enjoy a wide selection of fresh produce and crafts. Modern shops and boutiques typically open in the afternoon and early evening.

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