Best time to visit Rarotonga & Cook Islands

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Rarotonga & Cook Islands
11 days
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
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  • Jan
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Best time of year to visit Rarotonga & Cook Islands

Best time to visit Rarotonga and Cook Islands is winter and early spring, from May to October, which also coincides with dry season. The unbeatable combination of warmth and sunshine will drive you crazy with a variety of endless water activities. Relax on the beach, dive into crystal clear water, practice kitesurfing, and hike across the Cook Islands! In August, Manureva Aquafest with its five-day non-stop parties will spin you in the whirlwind of excitement. Late November welcomes one of the biggest paddling competitions in the world—Vaka Eiva—which will cheer you up before the rainy season hits the islands. December to March is the rainy season with short, heavy cloudbursts followed by hours of sunshine.

6 THINGS TO DO IN RAROTONGA & COOK ISLANDS (AUGUST 04 - AUGUST 13)

Te Maeva Nui Cultural Festival

Te Maeva Nui Cultural Festival

July 31–August 08, 2020 • event

The biggest celebration on the Cook Islands invites everybody to feel the spirit and passion of local life

Snorkelling and Diving

Snorkelling and Diving

May–October • activity

The rich underwater world of the Cook Islands opens its beauty for everyone. Warm and clear waters welcome visitors to enjoy the colours of the ocean floor

Beach Season

Beach Season

June–October • activity

Clear waters, shallow lagoons, white sand beaches, and hidden places offer the best beach holidays for all kinds of vacation. Whether you are travelling with your family, enjoying a honeymoon, or looking for some adventures the Cook Islands have something for everyone!

Rarotonga Cross Island Walk

Rarotonga Cross Island Walk

May–October • activity

Discover natural beauty of this island during the dry period

Kitesurfing & Bodyboarding

Kitesurfing & Bodyboarding

May–October • activity

Being a renowned kitesurfing spot, the Cook Islands have something to offer for advanced bodyboarders and those who like stand-up paddleboarding. Though unfortunately there's not too much for surfers

Whale Watching

Whale Watching

July–October • nature

These amazing ocean giants come really close to the shore to play near the reefs. That's the Cook Islands' whale watching magic!

5 THINGS TO DO OUT OF SELECTED DATE RANGE

Vaka Eiva

Vaka Eiva

November 22–29, 2019 • event

Check out the main sporting event on Rarotonga and one of the biggest paddling events in the world

Manureva Aquafest

Manureva Aquafest

August 2020 • event

This five-day watersports festival full of fun and energetic competitions annually draws crowds to the honeymoon island

Flamboyant or Flame Tree

Flamboyant or Flame Tree

November–February • nature

These magnificent trees create fantastic landscapes

Round Rarotonga Road Race

Round Rarotonga Road Race

September 19–25, 2019 • event

The most important running event is waiting for you in Rarotonga. Take part in the competitions or just enjoy supporting the runners

Birdwatching during Breeding Season

Birdwatching during Breeding Season

June | December • nature

Lonely uninhibited islands, sand cays, reef-islets, and bushlands hide a rich diversity of seabirds, endemic land birds, and migratory species. Get ready for an inspiring birdwatching trip!

jan
6.8
feb
6.7
mar
6.6
apr
6.7
may
7.8
jun
8.2
jul
8.7
aug
9
sep
8.7
oct
8.5
nov
8
dec
7.2
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in January
6.8/10 score
Good
26° average
average temperatures
18 mm
precipitation
13h 15m
daylight duration
The height of the warmer and rainier season in the tropical Cook Islands, warm and wet throughout the year. Northern islands receive a bit more rainfall than southern ones. January is the acme of rains with the markedly higher precipitation. The north-west is rainier than north-east, which is closer to the arid zone of Kiribati archipelago. The sunshine is plentiful anyway, as the downpours don't last long. The southern part experiences the rise of air and sea temperatures and is still slightly cooler than the north that is equally hot year-round. This is the season of tropical cyclones that form in the north and are more likely to affect the southern areas of the country. Summer visitors need to pack light clothing of natural fibers, a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a light scarf for the breezes, an umbrella, or a light rain jacket, and possibly some long sleeves for the evening.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in February
6.7/10 score
Good
26° average
average temperatures
18 mm
precipitation
12h 48m
daylight duration
The peak of hot and rainy weather continues in February. Precipitation in the northern islands is lower than in January, and rainfall is equally abundant throughout the country. Just the north-east tends to receive less rainfall than the north-west—this is the influence of the arid Kiribati archipelago. The downpours are short-lasting and don't shield the sun for a long while. In the southern part, the air and sea temperatures are higher than in the other half of the year, but still several degrees less than in the north, which is always equally hot. Finally, the north is where tropical cyclones usually form, and they mostly affect the south of the country. To make your summer stay comfy, bring light and loose cotton or linen clothes, a sun hat, and other seasonal gear. A light summer jacket or an umbrella will keep you dry. A light sweatshirt may be useful for the evening, and a light scarf—for the breezes.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in March
6.6/10 score
Good
26° average
average temperatures
18 mm
precipitation
12h 13m
daylight duration
The hotter and rainier season goes on in March. Although the rainfalls are slightly less intense than in December to February, they still occur frequently in the form of afternoon storms. The amount of sunshine is uniform throughout the year, as the sun comes out soon after the rain is over. The humidity is great, and the temperatures remain high in the south, yet a few degrees below the value of the north. The areas that are closer to the Equator are equally hot all year round. Tropical cyclones that form around the northern islands of the country are likely to hit the southern areas. If you visit the Cook Islands in the warmer half of the year, pack light summer clothing and all you need for a beach vacation. Bring an umbrella or a light raincoat, a long-sleeved shirt for the evening, and a light scarf for the breeze.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in April
6.7/10 score
Good
26° average
average temperatures
18 mm
precipitation
11h 37m
daylight duration
The super hot and rainy period is coming to an end in April. The precipitation is slightly lower than the three previous months, and rainstorms get a bit less intense and less frequent by the end of the month. The average highs and lows in the southern areas lose a degree or two, while the north remains hot throughout the year. The tropical cyclones of the South Pacific are less likely to hit the islands, but if they occur, southern areas are more prone to be affected. The sunshine is plentiful in the islands all year round. If you go in April, pack as usual: light summer clothing with some rain-resistant outer layer or an umbrella, a light sweatshirt for the evening, and a light scarf for the breeze.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in May
7.8/10 score
Very good
24° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
11h 07m
daylight duration
The month of May, especially its second half, is usually marked as the beginning of the cooler and drier period of the year. Still, the differences in the weather are minimal. The precipitation and rainfall decrease throughout the islands. Afternoon showers occur, but they become rarer and less intense. Tropical cyclones don't pose a threat to the Cook Islands any longer. The temperatures of air or sea don't change in the northern islands. But the heat is mitigated by trade winds. In the south, however, the lows drop to just above 20°C (68°F), and trade winds might feel cooler for those who are sensitive to the cold. The sea is also slightly cooler, but warm enough for enjoyable swimming. If you travel in May, bring light clothes for the day, a sweatshirt for the night, and a light jacket for the south. A light scarf for the breezes will come in handy too.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in June
8.2/10 score
Excellent
23° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
10h 51m
daylight duration
It is a relatively drier period of the year in the Cook Islands with no real dry season. Also, this is one of the coolest months, especially in the southern islands where the average lows hover just above 20°C (68°F). Occasionally, the night temperature in Rarotonga and Mangaia can plunge to 15 °C (59 °F). Also, the trade winds can enhance the chill. The sea gets slightly cooler too but is always comfortable for swimming. At the same time, in the northern islands, the heat remains almost the same, and the sea is still warm as in January. The trade winds here are welcome as they bring relief from the heat. For a June visit, bring light garments for the day, a light scarf for the breezes, a sweatshirt for the night, and also a light jacket if you go to the south.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in July
8.7/10 score
Excellent
23° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
10h 58m
daylight duration
The relatively driest and one of the coolest months in the Cook Islands. In July, precipitation drops to its minimum. Rainfall occurs only once in three or four days, being slightly rarer in the southern islands. The temperatures in the northern islands decrease just a little, being high throughout the year. Trade winds make the heat more pleasant. The south is several degrees cooler than the north, but still suitable for a beach vacation. The lows may plunge to just below 20°C (68°F). The nights in Rarotonga and Mangaia can sometimes cool down to 15°C (59°F). Also, trade winds here may feel cooler if you're sensitive to cold. But the sea is warm enough for swimming—in Avarua, Rarotonga, sea temperature is unlikely to drop below 24°C (75°F). Bring light clothing for the day, a sweatshirt for the night, and a light jacket for the south. Bring a light scarf for the breezes and also an umbrella.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in August
9/10 score
Ideal
22° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
11h 23m
daylight duration
The weather in August is pretty much the same as in July—cooler and drier, except it doesn't claim to be the driest any more. Precipitation is slightly higher, and rainfall occurs every third and fourth day in the north and south correspondingly. The average temperatures are a little cooler throughout the islands, which is hardly felt in the north, but more noticeable in the south with the average lows hovering just below 20°C (68°F). The coldest nights in Mangaia and Rarotonga hit 15°C (59°F). However, the sea stays warm enough for swimming with its 24°C (75°F). For a stay in August, bring light garments for the day, a light scarf for the breezes, a rain jacket or umbrella for rain, and a sweatshirt or light jacket for the evening, especially if you visit the southern islands.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in September
8.7/10 score
Excellent
23° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
11h 57m
daylight duration
Another month of cooler and drier weather throughout the Cook Islands, similar to August and July. Precipitation is growing slowly but progressively with the rainy days occurring every three to four days and is more frequent in the north. The northern islands remain cooler but hot anyways with pleasantly refreshing trade winds. In the southern islands, the lows still decrease to just below 20°C (68°F), and occasionally to 15°C (59°F) at night. The sea temperature in Avarua, Rarotonga, is comfortable for swimming, unlikely to go below 24°C (75°F). Bring summer clothing for the warm day, and a sweatshirt or a light jacket for the night, especially for the south. Also, pack a light scarf for breezes and a raincoat or an umbrella in case of rain.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in October
8.5/10 score
Excellent
23° average
average temperatures
16 mm
precipitation
12h 33m
daylight duration
It's the last month of the cooler and drier part of the year in the Cook Islands, especially its first half. Late October is progressively gaining on temperatures and rainfall. Precipitation gets equally high throughout the islands, and rainfall occurs nearly every other day. The air temperatures in the north are still lower, while the sea is already at its warmest—29°C (84°F) in Manihiki. In the southern Avarua, Rarotonga, the sea retains its 24°C (75°F), while the average air temperatures don't plunge below 20°C (68°F) any longer. Still, trade winds may feel chilly if you're sensitive to cold. In October, light summer clothing will suffice for the day, while a sweatshirt or a light jacket will fit the evening. Also, pack a light raincoat or umbrella, as well as a light scarf for the breeze.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in November
8/10 score
Excellent
25° average
average temperatures
17 mm
precipitation
13h 06m
daylight duration
It is the beginning of warmer and wetter half of the year, in the Cook Islands. Higher temperatures prevail in the always hot northern islands. The highs and lows gradually rise in the southern islands too. Besides, humidity is high. The rainfall gets more abundant, and afternoon storms become intense and frequent. It doesn't affect the amount of sunshine, which is quite uniform throughout the year. November is also the start of the tropical cyclones of the South Pacific. However, they are less likely to happen at the beginning of the season. For a trip in November, pack light clothing of natural fiber, a sun hat, and a light scarf for the breeze. Also, bring a light raincoat or an umbrella, and a light sweatshirt for the evenings.
Rarotonga & Cook Islands weather in December
7.2/10 score
Very good
25° average
average temperatures
19 mm
precipitation
13h 23m
daylight duration
The warmer and rainier weather scales up in December. The temperatures rise being still slightly higher in the north than in the south. Afternoon storms burst out very often. The rainfall is especially abundant in the northern islands, which experience an average of 18 rainy days this month. Moreover, the precipitation increases from east to west, as the easternmost areas are more affected by the arid zone of Kiribati archipelago. Luckily, the amount of sunshine doesn't suffer much because of that. The tropical cyclones of the South Pacific are likely to form around the northern islands. So they hit mostly the southern part of the country. Visit the islands with a plenty of light and loose summer clothing and a sun hat. Bring a light scarf for the breezes, a light rain jacket or umbrella for rain showers, and a light sweatshirt for the evenings.