Planning your Backpacker Trip to the Cook Islands

picture of backpackers on beach

Backpacking Guide to Rarotonga Island

With limited options for exploring and only a trickle of young travellers making Rarotonga a stopover, backpacking in the Cook Islands evolves mostly around enjoying a relaxing beach break. Rarotonga is the main island and is a convenient stop-over between Los Angeles and Australia or New Zealand. The islands are relatively expensive to visit and few backpackers stay more than a week.

The main island of Rarotonga is a very laid back destination and it's easy to get around and very safe to travel on your own even as a single girl. There are a couple of excellent backpacker hostels on Rarotonga west coast aimed at backpackers. Apart from relaxing on the beach, backpackers on Rarotonga often hike the cross island track and almost all go into lively Avarua Town on weekends to experience island style nightlife and bars.

Rarotonga Backpackers

Dorm rooms in hills and on west coast

Backpackers International

Cheapest dorm rooms on Rarotonga located a minute walk to the beach

Backpacking Guide to Aitutaki

Backpackers with a more adventurous spirit tend to head out to Aitutaki Island where life is even more laid back than Rarotonga but again here the focus is relaxing on the beach and snorkelling in the beautiful lagoon. Nightlife here is virtually non-existent.

Matriki Beach Huts

Backpacker huts on beachfront in Aitutaki

Ranginui's Retreat

Budget huts on Aitutaki

To really get away from tourism and engage in local culture head to Atiu Island, where the focus is away from the coast and more on exploring village life, culture and caves.

Atiu Guesthouse, Atiu

Centrally located on Atiu Island with bungalows and restaurant.