The capital city of the Cook Islands is Avarua which is also the largest urban center in the region. Meaning "Two Harbours" in native Cook Islands Māori, Avarua is located in the northern central portion of the island of Rarotonga. The town is set on a relatively flat stretch of coastline at the base of some rugged mountainous terrain. The town is subdivided into eighteen so called taperes. In part because it is a port city Avarua is a popular place for visiting tourists to experience the unique history and culture of the Cook Islands.

According to figures from 2006, Avarua’s total population was 5,445. The city serves as Rarotonga’s central business district and despite its rocky location set on the island’s coastline the town includes several beaches. As the commercial center of the island Avarua is home to numerous shops, bars, and outdoor markets. Local artisans come here to sell handicrafts and the area is particularly well known for its black pearls.

Among the most popular tourist attractions in the town of Avarua are the Cook Island Christian Church which dates back to 1853. Sunday services are held in the Maori language and everyone is welcome. The Cook Islands Library and Museum is also an interesting spot to spend an afternoon learning about the history, art, and traditions of the people of the Cook Islands.

Avarua’s climate is tropical. The town experiences its rainy season from December to March. The town is at risk of experiencing tropical cyclones during the period from December to March.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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