Welcome to Rarotonga, a paradise in the heart of the South Pacific. As you plan your journey to this breathtaking island, one aspect you’ll want to consider is how to get around.

Rarotonga may be small, but it offers an array of transportation options that make exploring its natural beauty and cultural treasures a breeze.

Efficient transport makes it easier to enjoy Exploring Rarotonga’s Beauty in all its facets

Rarotonga International Airport

Local Transport Options in Rarotonga

Transportation ModeLocationFeaturesDescription
Rarotonga International AirportNorth CoastEntry Point, Transport ServicesA circular route around the island with hourly buses. Stops at beaches, markets, and cultural sites. Great for interacting with locals and travelers.
The Circle Island BusAra Tapu RoadAffordable, ConvenientOffers a range of vehicles for rent. Requires a Cook Islands driver’s license. The leisurely speed limit of 50 km/h for a relaxed experience.
Car and Scooter RentalsIsland-wideIndependent TravelTaxis are available at the airport, town, or via call. Ride-sharing apps like “Kia Orana Taxis” offer an Uber-like service for easy booking and tracking.
CyclingIsland-widePhysical Activity, ScenicTaxis are available at the airport, in town, or via call. Ride-sharing apps like “Kia Orana Taxis” offer an Uber-like service for easy booking and tracking.
Taxis and Ride-Sharing AppsIsland-wideConvenient, ReliableIdeal for exploring at your own pace. Bike rentals and guided cycling tours are available. Perfect for adventurous travelers.

This table provides a concise overview of each transportation mode in Rarotonga, highlighting their location, key features, and a brief description of what they offer.

Safety Precautions

1. Beach Safety

Rarotonga boasts stunning beaches with crystal-clear waters, making them a prime attraction for visitors.

However, it’s important to exercise caution when swimming or snorkeling. Some beaches have strong currents and can be deceptively powerful, so always swim in designated areas.

Additionally, it’s a good practice to check the weather conditions and tide charts before heading out for water activities.

2. Road Safety

While driving in Rarotonga is relatively relaxed compared to many other places, it’s essential to adhere to local road rules and regulations.

The speed limit is 50 km/h (31 mph), but it’s not uncommon for drivers to go slower, especially on narrow roads. Be mindful of pedestrians, cyclists, and the free-roaming island chickens. Always wear your seatbelt, and if you’re renting a scooter, make sure you have a valid license and helmet.

3. Personal Belongings

Rarotonga is known for its friendly and safe environment, but petty theft can occur in tourist-heavy areas.

It’s advisable not to leave valuables unattended on the beach or in rental cars. Consider using hotel safes or lockers for passports, cash, and other important items. When you’re out exploring, carry only what you need and keep an eye on your belongings.

4. Health Precautions

Rarotonga generally has a low crime rate and is free from major health concerns. However, it’s always wise to take standard health precautions.

Use sunscreen to protect against the strong Pacific sun, stay hydrated, and be mindful of food and water hygiene. Mosquito repellent is recommended for protection against mosquito-borne illnesses, although the risk in Rarotonga is low.

Cultural Etiquette

1. Greetings and Respect

The people of Rarotonga are known for their warm hospitality. When meeting locals, it’s customary to greet them with a friendly “Kia Orana,” which means “May you live long.” This simple greeting goes a long way in establishing a positive connection.

Respect for elders is deeply ingrained in Cook Islands culture, so it’s polite to address them with titles such as “Mama” (mother) and “Papa” (father).

2. Modesty in Dress

Rarotonga has a relaxed atmosphere, but it’s essential to dress modestly when visiting villages or attending church services.

Avoid wearing swimwear, short shorts, or revealing clothing in these settings. Instead, opt for clothing that covers the shoulders and knees as a sign of respect for local customs.

3. Conservation and Nature

The people of Rarotonga have a strong connection to their natural surroundings. When exploring the island’s lush landscapes, show respect for the environment by not disturbing wildlife or littering.

Many areas are considered sacred, so always seek permission before entering private lands or participating in activities like fishing or gathering.

By adhering to these safety precautions and cultural etiquette, you’ll not only ensure your well-being but also contribute to a positive and respectful experience during your stay in Rarotonga. It’s all part of the island’s charm and the warmth of its people.


In conclusion, exploring Rarotonga offers a unique blend of adventure and cultural richness. By understanding and respecting the local customs and prioritizing safety, you’ll enhance your travel experience in this Pacific paradise.

Remember to greet with “Kia Orana,” dress modestly when required, and engage with the island’s natural beauty responsibly.

Rarotonga welcomes travelers with open arms, and in return, treating the island and its people with care and respect ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy its wonders.

Safe and respectful exploration not only safeguards your journey but also contributes to the preservation of Rarotonga’s unique charm and culture. So, as you embark on your adventure, remember to tread lightly and leave only footprints of appreciation and goodwill.


Is Rarotonga a safe destination for travelers?

Yes, Rarotonga is generally considered a safe and welcoming destination. While petty theft can occur in tourist areas, overall crime rates are low. Exercise standard precautions, such as securing your valuables, and you’ll have a safe visit.

What’s the best way to get around Rarotonga?

Rarotonga offers several transportation options, including rental cars, scooters, bicycles, and buses. Choose the one that suits your comfort level and explore the island at your own pace.

Are there any cultural customs I should be aware of in Rarotonga?

Yes, it’s respectful to greet locals with a friendly “Kia Orana” and address elders with titles like “Mama” and “Papa.” Modesty in dress is appreciated when visiting villages or attending church services. Always ask for permission when entering private lands or engaging in activities like fishing.

What are the best safety practices for beachgoers in Rarotonga?

Be cautious when swimming or snorkeling, as some beaches can have strong currents. Swim in designated areas, check weather conditions and tide charts, and prioritize your safety in the water.

Can I rent a vehicle in Rarotonga with my standard driver’s license?

Yes, you can rent a car or scooter with your standard driver’s license. However, ensure you have the necessary endorsements if you plan to drive a motorcycle.

Are there any health precautions I should take in Rarotonga?

Use sunscreen, stay hydrated, and practice food and water hygiene. While the risk is low, consider using mosquito repellent for protection against mosquito-borne illnesses.

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