A variety of traditional handicrafts, like rito hats (similar to Panama hats), carvings, shell trinkets and musical instruments, may be purchased. Avarua is the largest shopping district. On Saturday mornings, Punanga, the popular local marketplace offers a selection of craft items and tropical delicacies. Quality souvenirs include ukuleles, island CD music, sarongs, local quilts and the infamous Cook Islands Black Pearl. Downtown, Mana Court has ample diving and snorkeling gear for those who need it.
Many Cook Islands restaurants offer international and local cuisine all over the islands. Cultural attractions at Te Vara Nui and the Highland Paradise also serve up sumptuous buffet fare, alongside traditional cultural dancing.
Ask the friendly locals for their recommendations of the best local diners for goods like eke (marinated octopus), ika mata (fish in coconut sauce) and grilled sweet potato, some of which can be found daily at the Avarua marketplace. Travellers who fancy the local equivalent of a farmers’ market where fresh produce and homemade products by the islanders are on sale should go there for a “Go Local” spread which happens every two weeks.