On Rarotonga, Te Punanga Nui market on Saturday morning is a weekly highlight for locals as much as tourists, making it one of the biggest social and shopping events of the week.
You’ll find colorful local fruit, vegetables, flowers, music, souvenirs and crafts, alongside some of the traditional local food such as ika mata (marinated raw fish) and poke (made with local fruit and cassava/tapioca). There are also fresh-baked pastries, tropical fruit smoothies, divine coffee and fresh waffles – so there's something for everyone! Theres also a vibrant cultural performance on the main market stage. Each week, a different local or visiting cultural group puts on a performance showcasing the Cooks uplifting drumming, singing and dancing.
On Saturday the markets shut around midday, however several of the stalls and shops selling crafts and fresh produce are open during the week as well.
The main town in Rarotonga, Avarua, is where most of the shops on the island are located. You can find everything you need here from clothing to groceries, and art to black pearls. The main street is an easy walk from one end to the other, and there are plenty of cafes along the way for a bite to eat or coffee.
For souvenirs and gifts, Avarua has an array of boutique jewelry, fashion, art and craft shops - we even have a fudge factory!
If you want to buy your own groceries, Food Land is located in the middle of town and provides all the general items you would expect to find in a super market. Need some medication, sunscreen or insect repellent? CITC in town has a New Zealand qualified Pharmacist who can help you out.
Around Rarotonga and Aitutaki you will often see colorful stalls on the side of the road selling local arts, crafts, Nu (young drinking coconut) and fresh fruit and vegetables. These stalls are generally set up outside people's homes and are a great way to pick up unique one of a kind hand made gifts as well as a chance to chat with and get to know the locals!