Rarotonga ( in the Cook Islands chain) is the largest and most populated island. Rarotonga ( sometimes referred to as Raro ) has the feel of being one big holiday island.
LOCATION: The Cook Islands are a group in the South Pacific Ocean approximately south west of Tahiti and due south of Hawaii.
The atmosphere of the entire island, in work and play, is relaxed and thing happen in 'Cook Islands time'. This island is only 32 kms (about 20 miles) in circumference and is easy to get around. The main road (the front road) is called the Ara Tapu with a speed limit of an average of 40 kph
Where-ever you go you are ever far from the blue lagoons and the swaying palm trees, a journey around the island is a pleasant experience that takes less than an hour by rental; scooter, car or public bus. Cyclists take around four hours at a leisurely pace with breaks.
With a population of around 9,000, it is the commercial, political and administration centre for the Cooks. The main township of Avarua is located on the north coast of the island, adjacent to the airport and main harbour. There you will find the banks, post office, police headquarters, government departments and bigger shops and stores.
Inland, the volcanic peaks rise to 653 meters (2142ft) providing a picturesque backdrop covered in lush tropical vegetation. Rarotonga's densely forested interior is mainly uninhabited and hilly with most of the population living near the coast. For hikers, there are exhilarating escorted cross-island treks, and also climbs to some of the island's peaks.
The many activities on Rarotonga include snorkeling in the pristine lagoons, scuba diving, kite surfing, paddle boarding, mountain bike riding, game fishing, quad tours, trekking, glass bottom boat tours, flight seeing, sailing, souvenir shopping, beach fitness and, at certain times of the year, whale watching.
Nightlife is abundant and varied; there are numerous restaurants, cafés and bars around the island in every township and village, in the hotels and resorts, and in other attractive locations.
Island Shows are on just about every night of the week. They are lots of fun, colorful and entertaining, and combined with a buffet-style feast, they are good value for money.
Due to the hilly interior, there is no road crossing the island, but Rarotonga has regular bus routes around the island. The buses are clearly marked: 'Clockwise' and 'Anti-Clockwise'. There are official bus stops, but the buses will pick up and set down just about anywhere.
TIME: Local time is 10 hours behind GMT,
LAW: The legal system is based on British common law and closely reflects that of New Zealand and other common law jurisdictions. The Cook Islands enjoys a highly developed infrastructure for business. There is a well-educated English speaking labor force. The country has sophisticated telecommunication links with the rest of the world and convenient air services to New Zealand and the US. There are no foreign exchange controls with complete freedom to repatriate capital and profits. It boasts the highest GDP per capita amongst the South Pacific small island nations.
LANGUAGE: The business and official language is English, with Cook Islands Maori as a second official language.