Cook Islands - healthy travel

The Cook Islands are a tiny and remote group of islands surrounded by coral reefs in the middle if the Pacific Ocean. Rarotonga is the main island and is spectacularly beautiful with white sandy beaches, coral reefs, colourful tropical fish and mountainous jungle centre. The entire island is just 32k around and has modern resort facilities, excellent restaurants and great entertainment. Aitutaki is the most well known of the other islands with its reputation as the 'most beautiful island in the South Pacific'. Not many visitors would go beyond these Rarotonga or Aitutaki but there are many other equally beautiful islands including Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke and Mangaia.

The Cook Islands are located about 4 hours flight time from New Zealand. They are east of the International Date Line so you will lose a day travelling from Australia or New Zealand and gain it back on your return. The local people are very friendly and Rarotonga is probably one of the safest islands in the South Pacific.

Rarotonga is a similar distance south of the equator as Hawaii is north, so the climate is similar as well. The Cooks have an even temperature year round with a maximum of 29 degrees in summer (Dec-Feb) to a low of 25 degrees in the cooler months. The wettest months are usually December to March. Hurricane season is from November to March and while mild hurricanes pass a couple of times each decade severe hurricanes are rare.

Food & Drink
Tap water is reportedly safe to drink on Rarotonga and on most of the outer islands. However care should be taken during drought or after heavy rain. The water can sometimes look cloudy so if you are worried or suffer from mild diarrhoea then switch to bottled water. Food is generally safe to eat with little or no sanitary issues.

Health Issues
The Cook Islands are one of the safest of the South Pacific islands. There is no malaria and no vaccinations required. There are also no dangerous animals.

Crime and theft are very low on all of the islands.

Medical Help
Rarotonga has a modern hospital with overseas trained staff. There are several doctors and dentists in private practice and there are two pharmacies in Avarua.

Population: approx. 20,000; Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD); Time: UTC -10; Official Language: English, Cook Islands Maori; Capital: Avarua

For more information on healthy travel with your family check our healthy travel guide.


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