Not to be missed, shopping on Rarotonga
is quite an experience. Offering many great bargains and deals,
most of the large shops and vendors on the island sell an array
of goods from handicrafts to electronics at fairly competitive prices.
There is no real need to bargain or haggle here, just keep in mind
that on Sundays most shops are closed as it is a religious holiday.
Avarua is the main shopping area on the
island, and here you will
find everything from cafes, banks and supermarkets to pharmacies,
department stores and souvenir shops. Most stores are open from
9 am to 4 pm, while on Saturdays shops are open till just twelve
noon. A great place to get shop and mingle with the locals is at
the open air Punanga Nui Market that sits next to the Avatiu Wharf.
Held on a daily basis, here you can find everything from fresh fish
and vegetables to local arts and crafts. This market also offers
some delicious takeaway and local cuisine. Wednesday is arts and
crafts day at the market, while on Friday is feast night. Saturday
is the biggest market day here with everyone bringing in their local
produce to sell.
If you are interested in shopping for some traditional handicrafts and art works, Punanga Nui Market is the place to go. However, if modern art is what interests you, then visit the Beachcomber or Kenwall galleries in Avarua. Books and music are also great buys on Rarotonga as are stamps and coins. Clothing is pretty cheap out here as well with plenty of stores all across the island selling colorful pareu or sarongs, t-shirts and other vibrant outfits. Locally made perfumes, soaps and oils are also popular purchases on Rarotonga.
If all this is not enough, perhaps the best souvenirs to be bought
on the island have to the cultured pearls found on sale. Imported
from the various other Cook
Islands’ you can find pearls of different colors on Rarotonga
from black pearls to white and gold. Several shops in Avarua sell
pearls and pearl jewelry; however, look for a reputable seller to
make sure that what you buy is the genuine article. A single pearl
can cost anywhere from NZ$ 5 to NZ$ 1000, depend on the size and shape
of the pearl.