WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE PACIFIC ISLANDS?
Try to avoid the monsoon weather of the summer months - that is when the humidity is at its highest. The best times to holiday in the Pacific Islands are in the dryer winter months of May through to September.
Light casual clothing is suitable all year round, with a light sweater for cooler evenings. Keep in mind that when it comes to brief attire, the towns and villages are conservative. Nude or topless sunbathing is prohibited. A respectable standard of dress is required if attending a church service.
We strongly recommend travel insurance for your entire overseas trip. Your insurance policy should be able to cover emergency medical situations, baggage loss or damage and expenses incurred from disrupted travel plans.
MEDICAL AND EMERGENCY FACILITIES?
Medical facilities in the Pacific can be limited - hospitals are not as well-equipped as New Zealand or Australia. Hospital payment may be required up front, before any treatment is given. Outside the capital, there may be limited capacity to respond to emergency situations. Not all Pacific islands have diver decompression chambers and divers requiring emergency treatment may need medical evacuation.
VACCINATIONS NEEDED FOR THE ISLANDS?
Yes, some vaccines are recommended or required for the Cook Islands. The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for the Cook Islands: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.
Food and water standards in the Cook Islands are similar to those in New Zealand and Australia. Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions beyond what they normally do at home. Some visitors prefer to boil water before use, however, most hotels have water filter systems. Bottled water is readily available from local shops. However, travelers visiting rural or remote areas are advised not to drink unregulated water.
ARE THERE POISONOUS ANIMALS?
There are no poisonous animals or insects in the Islands although mosquito repellent is advisable.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS AND VISAS?
As a visitor, any person who enters the Islands solely for recreation or holiday, will need a valid passport and a return ticket. This will allow you to stay up to 31 days in the Cook Islands. Extensions may be granted on a monthly basis for up to five months. Check your individual visa requirements based on the passport you are travelling on.
ELECTRICITY IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS
Electricity is 240 volts via a slant pin outlet. Hotels often provide a 110-volt socket for electric shavers only. For all other equipment, an adapter and a converter will be necessary.
TIPPING IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS?
Tips are appreciated but not expected for normal service.
PACIFIC ISLAND BANKING & CURRENCIES
The unit of currency in the Cook Islands is the New Zealand dollar. On Fiji, it is the Fiji Dollar (though NZ Dollars are widely used as well). Tahiti's currency is the French Pacific Franc (XPF or CPF), which is tied to the Euro and fluctuates against the US Dollar. Both Westpac and the ANZ Bank operate in Avarua between 9am-3pm Monday to Friday. In addition, visitors can change travellers cheques and major currencies at larger stores, hotels and the airport. ATM facilities are conveniently located around Rarotonga and Aitutaki
CAN I USE MY CREDIT CARDS/ATM CARDS IN THE PACIFIC?
All major international credit cards can be used in the Pacific region and Travellers Cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores. If your credit card is encoded with a PIN number you will be able to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs) situated at banks and shopping centres throughout the country.