For stays of 31 days or less, all you need is a passport. You can stay longer, but you will need to extend your entry permit for each additional month, and that can go no longer than five months or a Visa will be required.
At 21 degrees 14 South, the Cook Islands are tropical, and are sunny and warm most of the year. They can get a bit chilly at night, however, and from December to March the heat and humidity increase. There will sometimes be heavy rain, though it tends to be warm rain.
Based on the weather, you should bring light clothing, but possibly include a light jacket for nights, or an umbrella, especially if you are going between December and March. If you will be attending church services, it is traditional for men to wear shirts and ties, and women to wear dresses, but otherwise the dress is very casual.
Some of the most popular souvenirs include black pearls, wood carvings, and carved abalone. The stamps and coins are distinctive, so collectors will appreciate receiving some samples, while those interested in natural healing will be thrilled with a bottle of Noni juice.
You may not bring fruits or plants into the country. You can bring food, but it must be frozen, canned, or vacuum-packed, and must be declared to customs upon arrival.
The Cook Islands use the New Zealand dollar, and our Kiwi friends say that prices are comparable to home. The exchange rate can vary quite a bit, so you should check current data, but it is generally favorable for US visitors.
What country is it?
The Cook Islands are an independent nation in free association with New Zealand. They share currency, and it would be the New Zealand army that would defend the Cook Islands if necessary, but the Cook Islands have full executive powers. Residents of the Cook Islands can maintain New Zealand citizenship.
Yes, if your service provider has a roaming arrangement with Telecom Cook Islands (TCI), or your phone is not locked to a provider, and your phone will work on a GSM 900 or 1700 network. In other words, probably not. Pay as you go phones will not work either, but you can rent a local mobile from the Rarotonga Telecom office. You should also know that Mama Ru’s provides free local calling, so you can arrange tours and transportation right from your room.
Rarotonga is the second furthest south of the Cook Islands group. Temperature ranges between 64ºF (18ºC) and 82ºF (28ºC) during the southern winter; May to October. During the Summer which is November to April ranges between 70ºF (21ºC) and 84ºF (29ºC). The rainy season is usually January to early May. Severe weather is rare. However, February is the most susceptible time for cyclones.