Cook Islands - Formalities
For clearance, the captain must present the passports, clearance from the last port, crew list, as well as a general declaration and details of the yacht.
The boat usually has a quarantine and health inspection.
Yachts may not visit any other islands in the Cooks other than those mentioned as ports of entry without permission from Customs and Immigration.
At all these islands, the captain should check in with Customs and the Resident Administrator, if present.
Last updated March 2013.
If entering in Rarotonga a permit for up to 31 days will be given on arrival. Extensions are granted on a monthly basis - up to a total of three months only.
Fourteen days before the permit expires one should apply for the extension. Proof of adequate funds may be requested for extensions.
For those wanting to stay in the Cook Islands longer than 3 months must apply for a visa from their home territory, prior to their arrival in the Cook Islands. Applications must be made direct to the Principal Immigration Officer in Rarotonga.
In Aitutaki and other ports of entry, a 31 day permit will be given on arrival. Extensions have to be obtained in Rarotonga. If crew disembarks from the yacht, they must notify immigration and provide a baggage declaration.
Last checked March 2013.
A list of firearms must be produced on arrival and these will be impounded until departure.
Agriculture: Animals, plants and fruit will be inspected as the Cooks are free of serious diseases and pests, and their economy depends very much on agriculture. Fruit and meat will be confiscated, so it is advisable not to arrive with a lot of fresh supplies. Fortunately good local fruit is available.
All vessels entering the Cook Islands require a Bio Security Clearance which will be issued by the Quarantine Inspector when he boards your vessel.
You are permitted to bring frozen food, canned food and vacuum packed products. These must be declared to Customs on arrival.
Mosquito repellent is essential and it is advisable to wear reef shoes when in the water.
There is a well equipped hospital with New Zealand trained staff situated in Rarotonga, with a smaller hospital in Aitutaki.
Port dues are payable at the Ports Authority in Rarotonga prior to departure and are assessed on the length and type of vessel. The fees are:
Monohull Yacht NZD 2.20 per metre per day
Multihull Yacht NZD 3.00 per metre per day
Motor Yacht NZD 2.50 per metre per day or NZD 0.60 per Gross Tonne per day (whichever is greater).
There is also a mooring fee of NZD 5.00 per day at Aitutaki.
All persons departing the Cook Islands are required to pay departure tax of NZD 55.00 per person(NZD 15.00 for children under 12).
Visa extension fee amounts to NZD 70.00 for 3 months per person.
Overtime is charged before 08:00 and after 16:00 on weekdays, and all day at weekends and public holidays.
Last updated March 2013
Cruising yachts are not allowed to remain in the islands during the cyclone season, which is from November to March. Harbour masters in Rarotonga and Aitutaki may not even let transiting yachts stay overnight in port during the cyclone season.
To visit Suwarrow atoll national park, one should obtain permission from the resident park administrator.
At present only pets from rabies free countries can be admitted to the Cook Islands (Australia, New Zealand and Fiji).
There are no quarantine facilities on the Islands and no Veterinarian.
Import Permit can be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture and must include:
- a declaration of where the pet has been domiciled for the previous 3 months and has not been in contact with any animal suffering from infectious or contagious disease.
- dogs must be treasted wih praziquantel (Droncit) within 7 days of leaving Australia, New Zealand or Fiji and with pyrantel pamoate (Cannex)not more than 48 hours before the scheduled date of leaving Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
- a Health certificate must state that the pet has been examined within 48 hours of travel and found to be free from clinical signs of infectious and contagious disease and external parasites.
Animals, plants and fruit will be inspected as the Cooks are free of serious diseases and pests, and their economy depends very much on agriculture. Fruit and meat will be confiscated, so it is advisable not to arrive with a lot of fresh supplies. Fortunately good local fruit is available.