May 7th, 2021
It's finally here!! Our quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand will begin on May 17 and here in the Cook Islands we're ready to welcome back our Kiwi friends with open arms.
It's hard to believe it has been over a year since global tourist travel stopped. As an island nation dependent on tourism to drive our economy it's been a tough period and we are delighted to be one of the first travel bubbles. We know Kiwis and many others from around the world can't wait to get back here to enjoy our stunning tropical islands, warm weather, vibrant culture and lovely food.
Here are our top tips for planning your Cook Islands Travel Bubble Holiday:
1 Flights - do your research. At the moment flights only leave from Auckland but with luck future flights might be added from other major centres. Air New Zealand is currently the only carrier with three flights a week scheduled and fourth added in the first week in June. If a bubble is opened with Australia then Jetstar will be an option for flights from Sydney. Flight Centre is offering return flights from $665 NZD, and depending on demand there may be more flights and deals. Also check Air Raro for flights to Aitutaki and other islands. Flights have been reduced so you'll need to coordinate your timing, but it is well worth the effort to enjoy our tropical treasures.
2 Accommodation – book direct. We have a huge range of great accommodation in the Cook Islands from luxury resorts, to beach bungalows and more. There are heaps of options on our national Cook Islands tourism website. At the moment the NZ travel operators are only showing flight and accommodation packages from November onwards, so best to book direct with the locals here.
3 Insurance – check the fine print. Travel insurance can cover you if covid interrupts your travel plans but it really pays to be 100% clear with your policy provider. Many Kiwis use the insurance provided with their bank credit card and this can sometimes be more limited. The main things to check are whether you insurance would cover you if you got covid in Rarotonga and had to stay longer or fly back to NZ earlier or later.
4 Uncertainty – plan for change. NZ's Prime Minister Jacinda Adern has said that unlike the bubble with Australia, if there was an outbreak in the Cooks then Kiwis will be advised to come home instead of sheltering in place. Check when you book tickets what the implications would be with your flights if you had to change them to come home, or be quarantined on a flight.
5 Take Your Time – tune in to island life. Now more than ever, people need to relax and unwind as it's good for mental health and wellbeing. Tourists sometimes want to cram as much in as possible, but in the Cook Islands there is so much to enjoy if you pause and simply look around: spend time watching the colourful fish at your feet or the sun slowly sink into the horizon. We are a friendly people, so stop for a chat at the market and ask questions about life in Rarotonga, you'll always be greeted with a warm smile.
6 Getting Around - self drive is best. Whether you are riding a scooter, or driving a convertible or people-mover, having your own vehicle is the best way to enjoy Rarotonga. You have more freedom and more fun. Take a look at the best range of vehicles in the best condition in the Cooks.
We hope these tips have been helpful. We can't wait to get back to showing tourists our beautiful tropical paradise, so come and join us!