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Buying food in Rarotonga

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Auckland Region...
posts: 7
reviews: 32
Buying food in Rarotonga

Our family are going to Rarotonga from Australia and New Zealand in November for a wedding, and are busy saving so everyone can all attend. We've heard the food prices are pretty high compared to New Zealand. Can someone please tell us what food we can and cannot take with us? We will also support the locals by buying at the markets. When and where are the best markets, Saturday mornings?

16 replies to this topic
Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
posts: 7,487
reviews: 101
1. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

Kia Orana champ1410, welcome to the forum.

Food prices are more expensive in the Cook Islands, due to the isolation and logistics of importing foodstuffs onto our small nation with its low population. Also because there is not the same retail competition here as evidenced in NZ.

Passengers cannot bring in fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables in their personal luggage. But fresh meats and seafoods from NZ are allowed, along with groceries and you dont need an export permit from NZ for these items. If there are a number of people travelling in your same party you will likely find it more convenient to pack all your foods into a chilly bin with ice-bricks to retain keeping quality. Hopefully your island accommodation has a suitable fridge-freezer?

Itemise all your contents for Raro customs/ag inspection upon arrival. The major Saturday market is held at Punanga Nui which is situated close to Avatiu wharf (main harbour). There are small stalls dotted opposite CITC supermarket in Panama (near the harbour). More small owner-operated stalls in the outlying villages. Wigmore's Superstore sells what they grow. Most of the smaller village grocery stores stock a small range of fruit and veg too. You won't go short of supplies, including on Sundays.

Happy planning - kia manuia.

Auckland Region...
posts: 7
reviews: 32
2. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

Kia orana, he mihi matakuikui, he mihi manahou, he mihi nunui

thank you very much for your advice and information, we are all looking forward to coming to your beautiful islands,

nga mihi ano

Christchurch
posts: 52
reviews: 48
3. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

Thanks for that information as well. I was looking for exactly that info...it is very helpful

Rarotonga, Cook...
posts: 32
reviews: 1
4. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

Noneed to bring meat with you - Buy your meat from Prime Foods in town - it is much better quality than NZ meat and around the same price, if not cheaper. Fresh mince and sausages are both around $10 a kilo, And rump steak $14.90 a kilo.

For groceries go to the CITC large supermarket up towards the airport end of town, as the small stores dotted around the island are just like a dairy in NZ and more expensive - however they are great for veges and fruit etc.

Wanneroo, Australia
posts: 2
reviews: 51
5. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

Thank you all for the info on food for Raro - very helpful.

Wanneroo, Australia
posts: 2
reviews: 51
6. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

Thank you fo the helpfull hints on food cost. I think we will buy local fort 9 days - help the local economy

Christchurch, New...
posts: 3
reviews: 1
7. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

where is prime foods intown please

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
posts: 7,487
reviews: 101
8. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

Prime Foods is located immediately behind Polynesian Rentals - opposite the Catholic church.

Prime sausages are around $10.99 to $14.99 kilo, depending on weekly specials, but also on the quality of product. I don't buy chicken from Prime, preferring Tegel chicken cuts from NZ sold at other outlets. Sometimes the cuts at Prime don't look as appealing as CITC supermarket and Foodland. Pays to shop around for sure.

CITC supermarket in Panama, like its sister store Foodland in Avarua has moved towards self-service for the meat section, making for better consumer selection. Wigmore's in Vaimaanga from time to time sell very fresh cuts of steak, and of good quality. If buying a carton of lamb-chops, there are good prices on offer for 10 Kg packs. Same too with frozen steak, and chicken, both sold as bulk buys.

Auckland Region...
posts: 7
reviews: 32
9. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

I would also like to buy a ukelele while in Rarotonga, can someone please advise of the best place to buy, where the best prices and quality are. Thank you very much

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga
posts: 825
reviews: 15
10. Re: Buying food in Rarotonga

The Saturday morning markets are a great place to pick up a good ukelele, lots to choose from and a great selection. Also the shop at the Rarotonga prison in Aroroangi sells ukelele's that are hand made by some of the prisoners. Across from the markets is a shop specifically for ukelele's.

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