Some upmarket restaurants don't include the value-added tax in their menu prices. If in doubt, ask beforehand rather than get a 12.5 percent surprise on the bill.
Most of the budget eateries popular among local residents are in Avarua, but you'll find fancy tourist restaurants all around the island with a cluster near the Edgewater Resort.
Unless you don't mind waiting an hour or more for a table, it's best to reserve at the most popular places if you'll be arriving for dinner after 1900.
Every budget hostel or motel provides kitchen facilities, so Rarotonga is perfect for those who enjoy preparing their own food. At the supermarkets newcomers to the South Pacific will be surprised to find the milk and juice in boxes on the shelves and long loaves of unwrapped bread in barrels near the check-out.
CITC Supermarket (closed Sunday), behind the Liquor Center west of Avatiu Harbor, is generally cheaper than Foodland Supermarket (closed Sunday) in town. Meatco, just down from Budget Rent-a-Car in Avarua, usually has the least expensive vegetables and the best meat (except pork).
For beer or liquor, go to the CITC Liquor Center (closed Sunday) next to CITC Supermarket on the way to the airport.
On the south side of the island you can usually get everything you need at Wigmore's Super Store (open daily) between the Sheraton site and Palm Grove Lodges. The food bar next to Wigmore's opens irregularly but has free public toilets and an ATM.
The water on Rarotonga is safe to drink.
Continue to Food: Avarua »