Surfing in Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a country in the South Pacific comprising 15 islands scattered over a vast area. The largest one is Rarotonga, a stunning volcanic island that is surrounded by an immaculate reef barrier. The terrain is diverse with rugged mountains green lush rainforest and postcard tropical beaches. The country is known for its many snorkeling and scuba-diving sites and also for having some good quality surf spots. With a vast array of consistent, hard-hitting reef-pass waves the surf conditions in the Cook Islands are generally reserved for surfers who are comfortable with powerful and shallow South Pacific reef breaks. Most of the reef breaks have easy access and don’t require a boat, all you need to do is paddle out one of the passages. This island nation has year round waves thanks to a variety of spots that face different swells directions. The best time to surf is from November to March when strong North Pacific storms send solid swells down to the south. The waves are usually uncrowded since there are only a handful of local surfers, mostly expats, that will probably greet any visitor with a smile. The archipelago bears the name of the ultimate surf discoverer, James Cook and should be visited for the simple reason that it is stunningly beautiful, exotic, affordable and uncrowded.
Climate in Cook Island
The climate in the Cook Islands is tropical with little temperature variation along the year. There are two distinct seasons. The wet season goes from December to March and the dry season from April to November. During the wet season the islands can be hit by tropical cyclones and hurricanes. The water temperature is warm throughout the whole year. The best surf usually happens from November to March, when strong North Pacific storms send solid swells down to the south. During this time of the year the trade winds are prevailing coming from the southeast, causing favorable offshore conditions on northern and western shores. From May to September the island is exposed to strong and consistent south swells, but the trade winds can be relentless.
Best surf spots in Cook Islands
The best surf spots in the Cook Islands are found in the main island of Rarotonga: Avaavaroa Passage, Avana, Club Raro, Golf Course (Socials), Matai Wreck, Norrie Park and Rutaki Passage.
Meal price range
Simple meals start at $10 USD. Mid-range meals start at $20 USD. Dining & drinking at high-end restaurants can cost anywhere from $50-70 USD
There are a few places where you can rent gear. Boards start at $13 USD a day.
Prepaid SIM cards
BlueSky is a good and only choice. SIM cards can be purchased from BlueSky shops and RAR international airport.
Prepaid packages start at $15 USD.
It is very easy to get around the island using public transport. There are two buses which circle the island of Rarotonga; Clockwise and Anti-clockwise.
Taxis are easy to book.
Bicycle rentals $10 USD a day.
Scooter rentals $17 USD a day.
$1.50 USD a liter.
Types of risks
Strong rips and waves. Coral and urchins.
How to prepare
Citizens from 60 countries, including the US, Spain and France can enter the Cook Islands without a visa for up to 30 days. Australian citizens are granted Resident Visas upon arrival, which expire when exiting.
Although it's not mandatory, it’s recommended that you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, Tdap, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella.
Things to know
Language & Currency
Maori (or Rarotongan) and English are the official languages.
The currency is the New Zealand dollar ($).
Best time to go
November to March.
Checking Surf forecast
Checking the forecast about a week before your trip is always a good idea. Understanding what the waves will be like and knowing what gear to pack is essential. You can check the forecast for the waves here.
Do I need pack a pharmacy kit
You should bring a basic kit. Including ear drops, eye drops, bandaids, ear plugs, gaze, alcohol, mosquito repellent and broad spectrum antibiotic ointment.
World Nomads has great travel insurance packages that are not super expensive and they cover surfing.
Check surf pictures of the Cook Islands at #surfcookislands.