Things to know!
It gives us great pleasure to welcome you to our little piece of paradise- and your home away from home while you are here with us. Rarotonga is a special place, we are very fortunate to call it home and we are happy to have you stay and share our home with you. We welcome you to Rarotonga and to Sokala Villas.
Going on holiday for everyone (of all ages!) is a exciting time. From the minute you start your online research, confirming your flights, hotel and then realising that you are on the way to your island getaway! We try to answer all of your queries but just to give you a head start we have included a little bit of information to help you. If we have left anything out (and I am sure we have!) just visit us up in the office as we are always happy to help - or if you are too comfy on your couch or poolside just give us a ring!!
We wish you a memorable stay and hope this will be the first of many many visits. Our office is open Monday to Friday 9am (ish) to 2pm and we are closed on the weekend.Be sure to come up and say hi and there is anything we can do to help make your stay a enjoyable one we are more than happy to!
AKAMATAANGA - To start with!
A good way to start anything is by giving a brief introduction - Our beautiful island is one of the 15 islands that make up the amazing Cook Islands. We have a estimated population of 20,000 and we are scattered over some two million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. Our nearest neighbors are Tahiti and Samoa.
The capital of the Cook Islands is Rarotonga, it is the main hub of our beautiful islands. We are the first point of call for all our visitors and people before connecting on to our sister islands. You can reach Rarotonga by air plane or even cruise ship. Each of our sister islands are connected by our domestic airline Air Rarotonga or just like our ancestors did - we travel by sea! A regular ship takes our people from island to island ensuring that they reach their destination safely.
Rarotonga is really a holiday destination for everybody. Families, couples, the single person wanting to escape it all and just take a break from everything and go off the beaten track to enjoy island living. We have many activities on offer to all, lagoon tours, mountain tours, bicycle tours, walking tours, cross island trek, safari mountain tours even eating tours! Activities for everyone. You can also just kick back, relax and do absolutely..........nothing. Just sit on a beach, your verandah and dream the day away. Rarotonga is a great place to escape to, to get away from it all and just have some time out.
Our local people are Cook Island Maori. We are family orientated people, family is very very important to us. It is why you feel so comfortable here, you dont just visit us, you become a part of our family! We are naturally friendly and easy going people. Most generally conservative and religious people. Our lifestyle is laid back and informal. Island time is a very real thing here, so ditch your watches and kick back.
TOOU OTERA - Your hotel
Sokala Villas is a locally owned and run hotel. Lawrance who is the manager here is very friendly and always happy to chat with guests, answer any queries they have..........and always apologises for Susan who works up in the office for being late! He treats his staff like family and values their input. The staff have been working at Sokala for many many years and you will run into them while here on holiday. To introduce our Sokala family, there is Lawrance - always there to welcome all our guests and see them off when the time comes to go home. He is always happy to answer any queries you have and enjoys a chit chat with everyone. Sarina is our office manager and has been at Sokala since the beginning, she is always up in the office and if you need anything she is happy to help. Susan is our office girl and does reservations - so she is the one you will be emailing with and the one you can email to organise anything you need while on holiday! Suz as we all call her is always happy to answer emails, queries, make bookings for you or as lawrance always tells everyone...........suz knows where to eat and where to shop! She can point you in the right direction!!
Our main team is made up of wonderful people, Rolando or popcorn as he is affectionately known is our builder, maintenance and fixt it man. He not only fixes things but designs, builds it and make it beautiful! Lawrance has a idea, then he and popcorn work on it and make it happen. You will also meet during your stay Ariki, we call him Chief. He has been with Sokala for many years and is very special to all of us. Man of few words, and only too happy to you out. If you need something and he can do it he will! Ever reliable and hardworking you will see Ariki doing all sort of jobs, tending to pools, helping Lawrance and Popcorn do maintenance, tend to the grounds and more. Remember I said we are a family? Our room staff is a gem, her name is Eanga and she is Sarinas aunt! She is the one who lovingly prepares your villa for your arrival and ensure that you have everything you need to get you started. She is in charge of our laundry so whatever you need she can hook you up! If you feel like relaxing a bit and want room service you only just need to let us know and we can have Eanga come and do your villa up for you.
We always save the best for last, our go to lady for everything (espcially for suz as she forgets to do lots of things) is Mama Betty, she is not around as much as she use to be as she is now 87years old. Mama Betty is Lawrances mum and plays a HUGE role in the running of Sokala. She is semi retired and still does errands, help out when needed and all the flowers in your villa........well she does those too! She hand picks all the flowers prior to our guests arrival and puts the flower arrangements together and have them ready for your arrival. And there you have it, your Sokala family! We are small but we make it work.
Our guests are our priority, while we have lots of jobs to do our main job is firstly making sure you are all taken care off prior to your arrival and while you are here, we make sure we are there for you ..........but not seen! We let you enjoy your holiday and if you need us you know where we are!
TE MEA MUA - First things first!
Once you have confirmed your island getaway, time to get some info under your belt - here is Suz's list of things to know -pretty sure she has forgotten something, so if you have a question that is not answered in this blurb - just email in and the office girls can answer it for you! Not quite a A to Z list but still helpful!
ADULTS ONLY RETREAT:
As much as we love children or that we are parents/grandparents of little ones ourselves we are very sorry but Sokala is a adults only retreat. We do not accommodate anyone under the age of 18yrs. If you have young kids we are happy to recommend some family friendly places as there are many nearby but please note that Sokala is a adults only getaway.
Also if you are here on the island with families who have little ones themselves please note that children under the age of 18 are not allowed on the property so as to keep to our adults only retreat policy.
So you have booked your accommodation now how to get from airport home to Sokala?! We offer as a optional extra airport transfers. We arrange our transfers with Ivor and Ron of Doros Taxis. They can be at the airport to pick you up and take you back to the airport when the time comes. Transfers cost $40 each way (1-2 persons) and you can book either when you confirm your accommodation booking or at least 48hours prior to your arrival or departure. If you havent already paid your transfers prior to your arrival don't worry you can pay direct to the driver. Pick up times are usually about 2hours prior to departure but to confirm your pick up time just come up to the office to double check pick up times for your departing flight. Our friendly drivers pick you up from the airport on arrival and bring you home to Sokala where you will be met by Lawrance who will welcome you home to Sokala and show you to your villa. On your departure, our drivers will come at the arranged pick up time and ready to take you back to the airport to catch your flight back home.
There’s great snorkeling in the lagoon. We have complimentary snorkeling gear available up at the office, in case we are not in we keep our snorkel gear in the big green timber box (come up the stairs and the green box is on the deck outside the office to your right) you are more than welcome to help yourselves. If it is locked, to unlock the combination is “0000” The lagoon in front of Sokala Villas and about 500 metres on both sides is one of five protected marine areas on Rarotonga, where fishing is prohibited. When you have finished using them, please don’t leave the snorkeling gear in direct sunlight.
Another good place for snorkelling is directly off motu Taakoka on the seaward side of this small island at the right hand side of Muri lagoon, and also an area known as Coral Gardens. This is in the next village from us opposite the Fruits of Rarotonga. If the shop is open they will also look after your belongings if you have any. You can feed the fish there, so take some breadcrumbs.
Always wear protective footwear in the lagoon and on the reef. Feel free to walk along the beach, as it is public property up to the average high water mark.
Up on the main road at the entrance to Sokala Villas is Pacific Divers, which operates ocean dives daily at 9am and 2pm, as well as run a dive certification course
We have five one man sit on paddleboats and three two man kayaks that you may borrow anytime, the paddles are kept just across from the office stairs. We recommend that you paddle to the right keeping on this side of the little islands. Its very nice to take a picnic lunch and paddle across to the Motu Koromiri which is the islet right across from the Pacific Resort.
After using the canoes please ensure that you pull them right back up on the beach well away from the watermark and return the paddles to their home just across the bottom of our stairs.
We all love animals and our homes are not complete without a cat or dog. They find their way into your homes and hearts. For many of our guests, pets they meet on their walks find their way home to Sokala! You will meet while beach walking many dogs, all friendly, all cute and all wanting to be someone new friend. They will, if you allow them follow you home and never leave. We have had a few guests in the past adopt a dog and take them back home............as in home to their home country!
We kindly ask that you do not feed any animals you may meet while out and about as these are not strays and are some families pets. By you feeding them makes them want to stay and not go home. Please do not feed and encourage dogs to stay or allow them in your villa. Leave them to happily roam the beach and go back to their home.
Lawrance has a three cats, the leader of the pack is Luna. She is getting on but will for sure be at your door to say hi, eat or just for a tummy rub - you are more than welcome to give the three cats cuddles but only outside on the deck. The same rule applies for our own pets - no pets in the house! We have guests who are allergic to our pets so for this reason no animals in the villa.
BANKING & ATM MACHINES
When on holiday - one needs money! While we dont have a ATM machine on site or cant exchange foreign currency for you, here are a few places that can help!
ANZ Bank : located in Avarua (town) and offers all general banking services. They have a few ATM machines around the island and these are located at their main branch, Cooks Corner bus stop in Avarua, Foodland supermarket, Matex Trading in Arorangi, Wigmores superstore , The Rarotongan beach resort and the closest to Sokala is at Te Ara Museum just down the road from us. ANZ offers foreign currency exchange should you require - check daily rates. Contact number for ANZ bank is 21750. Bank hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
Bank of the South Pacific (BSP) They have ATM machines located around the island, two at their main branch in Avarua, Rarotonga airport, Oasis 24/7 service station, Edgewater resort and spa, Wigmores superstore, Super brown store in Tupapa, there is also a portable ATM which is located at the Saturday morning markets and the closest to Sokala is located at TEM store- 5 minute easy stroll from us. BSP offers all bank services including foreign exchange. Contact numer is 22014. Bank hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
Bank of the Cook islands (BCI) called the peoples bank! This is a local bank and is located in Avarua also. BCI have just one ATM machine which is conveniently located right outside the bank. Contact number is 29341. Bank hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm
Western Union located in Avarua just couple doors over from BSP. They offer instant money transfer as well as foreign exchange. If you have foreign currency you need to exchange to New Zealand Dollars the friendly ladies at Western Union can help you out! Hours are Monday to Friday 830am to 430pm. Contact number is 29907.
Most restaurants and cafes accept credit card, however to be safe when you are purchasing from local markets be sure to have enough cash ready as not all vendors have eftpos machines. This is the same with small local stores, more and more small shops have eftpos machines but when you are out and about, make a quick stop just be sure to have a few dollars in cash just in case! Also being a small island you never know when the machines go down - so be prepared!
The main township on Rarotonga is Avarua, it is the main hub of the Cook islands and while there is lots packed into our little township - dont blink or you will miss it! It is usually bustling and has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Always bound to meet or run into someone familiar, great place to do some retail therapy or grab a bite to eat. You will find that Avarua is home to banks, shops, supermarkets (all 2 of them!), library and museum, pharmacies, and a great variety of bars, cafes, restaurants and clubs. There is lots to see, buy and eat in Avarua, if you going to town make a day of it and go exploring. The Saturday morning markets are just on the outskirts of Avarua, be sure to visit and buy from the local mamas and papas who sell beautiful locally made products as well as lots of tasty food, fruit and veg and the desserts..................oh the desserts! By buying local you are supporting the mamas and papas who make them.
BATH TOWELS & LINEN
Prior to your arrival we ensure that your villa has enough bath, face, hand, bath mat towels to last you a couple of days. When you need fresh linen and towels, just bring your dirties up to the villa or if you see Eanga out and about you can give them to her and she will swap your dirties for clean. We do encourage all our guests to assist with energy conservation and to be enviroment friendly and reuse towels but understand that this is not always possible. So when you need linen and towel exchange just let us know we are always happy to swap you for fresh ones any time. We ask that you do linen change in the morning so that we can catch the laundry truck for afternoon pick up.
We do not have beach or pool towels, you can bring your own with you or if your bags are already packed tight then you can use your bath towels. We ask that you dont leave them on the beach, if they are wet from beach or pool then just hang them outside to dry and reuse for day or two. When you need more, just like you do with your bath towels you can bring them up to the office or give to Eanga to swap over for you.
We have available for all our guests white sheets and towels. We ask that if you use sun screen, tan sprays or make up that you try not to get on our linen and towels. We provide for you tissues to remove make up and if you feel like taking a lie down on your bed to firstly wash down of sunscreen or tan sprays. Any damages to our linen and towels we will charge you the replacement cost.
BED & BEDDING
All our villas have a super king bed in each bedroom, from time to time we have guests who require a extra bed - this is normally a single bed and if available we can also provide a spare double bed. If you require a extra bed please let us know when making your booking so that we can have ready in your room for your arrival.
Should you require additional pillows or blankets just let us know we can drop to your villa for you.
Sometimes the smallest things can ....yes, bug you! The Cook Islands is a tropical place, everything is lush and grows very very quickly! All our villas have insect screening on all our windows and doors to keep mozzies and flying insects out. Being the tropics we also have Geckos (they actually have a very important job - they eat the bugs!) These gorgeous geckos are more scared of you than you are of them and they are completely harmless. They usually find their way around looking for sweets, so dont leave fruit juice out, fruit and crumbs. Put your uneaten food in the fridge, empty glasses out and turn them upside down as well as tidying up after yourselves and sweep up crumbs.
We do spray the room before your arrival and around the property but dont like to over do it. We use enviromental friendly bug spray and are very careful not to over do it. Under the sink in the kitchen you will find a can of bug spray, use as you need it. Usually a good time to spray is just before you head out. Close windows and doors, give good spray and whatever was in there before you left..........won't be there when you get back!
Everyone has a smart phone, it has just become a necessary part of our daily lives. While on holiday you will need your phone (firstly to refer to this long info sheet from time to time) and to be able to keep in touch with home. I mean who what family wouldn't want to be made jealous by checking out your pics on facebook or instagram while you here having the time of your life! To be able to do so as well as receive a few emails, make a few phone calls home to tell family and friends that you have safely arrived, and browse the Internet, one of the best option is Vodafone Cook Islands' Traveller SIM pack which costs NZ$49 and you can pick up your Traveller SIM from the Vodafone booth outside the arrival section. The Traveller SIM pack is for smart phones that are not locked in to your service provider back home, and includes a local SIM card which is preloaded with 3GB of data, 30 minutes calling (including international)and 300 text messages. Traveller sim is valid for 15 days, after this time it will expire and Vodafone deactivates the sim.
Inside all our villas we have a user pay Wi-Fi vodafone hotspot. To use the hotspot you will need to buy a vodafone Wi-Fi internet pass from Vodafone main store in Avarua during their work hours Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. To set up your gadget to be able to get online you can call Vodafone help line on phone number 123 and ask for assistance. The Wi-Fi modem in your villa is property of Vodafone Cook Islands. If you have any problems connecting or issues with your modem you can give Vodafone a call on help desk number 123 or phone number 29680 anytime during their office hours Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. They are closed during the weekends.
CHECK IN TIME
Check in time at Sokala is 2pm. When you confirm your booking please be sure to provide your arrival flight details, time and date (in Cook Island time please) Depending on room availability a early check in may be available.
Early check in is available from 6am or anytime between 6am and 2pm. Our office hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 2pm and Sokala is not a 24hr reception so we have no waiting facilities. If you should arrive early morning we recommend you waitlist for early check in from 6am. Early check in cost half the nightly rate and can only be confirmed a week prior to your arrival.
If you are on a flight that arrives during the small wee hours we strongly recommend you reserve your room from the previous day to ensure that your villa is booked and ready for your early arrival. Sokala does not have any waiting facilities and we only accept guests onto the property from their arranged check in times. If you would like help just be sure to include flight details when emailing the office.
For your arrival one of us (usually Lawrance) will be at the villas waiting for you to arrive to welcome you home and show you to your villa. If you know you are going to arrive a little late and not at the arranged check in time, or going to be delayed, make a stop on the way to the villas then we ask that you let us know before you arrive to Rarotonga or give us a call from the airport so that Lawrance is not waiting around all day. We wait up to 2hours after your flight arrival time, so if you going to be late get in touch so we can arrange time to meet up.
Finally but very important! if you are crossing the dateline (many are!) you will need to double check your arrival time to Sokala. Be sure to give Sokala your arrival time, day and date in Cook Island time. Your ticket should give you these details, if you like send your ticket through and we can sort this out for you!
CHECK OUT TIME
Check out time is 10am. We all hate it when the holiday comes to an end but we would appreciate your co operation in keeping to check out times so that we can prepare the room for our next guests. If you are leaving later that day or night then just come up to the office to let us know. If you would like to book a late check out after 10am then you can do so and this is dependant on availability. Late check out cost $180 and can only be confirmed a week prior to your departure. In some cases if we are not able to, we might be able to offer a late check out but it may mean a room change so that we are able to have your room for our next guests but we help make the move a smooth and quick one.
If you wish to keep to a 10am check out but dont leave till much later, we are happy to hold your bags at Sokala until 2pm when our office closes. After office hours you can make your way to the airport or nearby restaurant where you can enjoy a last meal before departure.
As mentioned above you will be crossing the international date line, meaning you will gain one day when you arrive and lose one day when you return. To arrange a late check out, or if you need help with booking these things just let us know when you are making your accommodation booking as we are happy to help!
Please ensure that your room key is either left on the dinner table or handed in to Lawrance who will be there to see you off. Any outstanding payments must be made to the office girls during office hours day before you leave.
It is said that God made the world in six days and on the seventh day he rested. We are a Christian nation and our Sabbath is very important to many. Sundays for us too is a day of rest, or for many spent at church then home for time with the family. It is our day of rest, a day to relax, unwind, catch up with much avoided house chores and more importantly to give thanks and count the blessings we have.
While here we do encourage you to visit one of the many churches here on the island. Every Sunday, churches around the island are filled with songs of worship and praise. Just down the road from Sokala (up the drive and turn right) is the Ngatangiia Cook Islands Christian Church. You will love listening to the Cook Island hymns, sung by the congregation and some Sundays the children of the churches Sunday school sing making it a moving and uplifting church service. Every first Sunday of the month, the church minister invites all the visitors to the meeting house for tea and scones on the verandah. Its a lovely way to meet locals, children and make new friends!
Visitors are most welcome to attend church services at any church of their choice. The attire is modest, shirts and trousers for the men and knee length skirt or dresses for the women. Tops with sleeves preferred, no singlet tops. Some women often wear a hat but this is optional. Like most churches they have offering (tithe), where those attending give cash donations, you will see a basket or plate being passed around. A few coins given through kindness is always appreciated.
We don't have guest laundry services here at Sokala, however being in the tropics you can hand wash at home and hang outside in the sun(everything dries quickly here!) Please note that if you hand washing outside your villa to be sure to peg it so that it doesn't blow away or under the villa. DO NOT hang your washing over the standing fans or lamp shades in your room for drying, this damages the fans and lamp shades and most importantly is a fire hazard.
If you don't feel like washing then this is fine as there is also Snowbird Laundry just at the top of our driveway. They can wash and dry your laundry for you and just check in for costs. Snowbird laundry is open Monday to Friday 8am to 3pm and Saturdays 8am to 12pm. If you take your laundry up in the morning it will be ready to pick up in the afternoon. If you have items that you have specific wash instructions for be sure to let the ladies at Snowbird know.
COFFEE & TEA
We have provided for you coffee and tea making facilities. All our villas have a electric Kettle, tea pot and a coffee plunger. We have for your arrival tea,coffee and sugar sachets as well as a packet of milk in the fridge to help get you started. Should you require more tea and coffee supplies you can purchase this from the local dairy just a few minutes walk from Sokala. If you don't drink tea or coffee and would like hot chocolate then let us know we can exchange tea and coffee for you for hot chocolate!
COMPLAINTS & MAINTENANCE:
From time to time there may be something we have missed at Sokala and as a result of this we may not have fulfilled your expectations. Should this be the case during your stay we welcome you to come up to the office and let us know where we can help or what maintenance needs to be done to help make your stay enjoyable. If you let us know early we can quickly resolve or fix the issue allowing you to get back to enjoying your holiday and we also make sure we maintain our property. Our office is open from Monday to Friday 9am to 2pm and you are always welcome to come up and let us know any complaints or maintenance issues you may have, we are always available. If you have any urgent maintenance matters after hours you can call Lawrance on our after hours number.
Not a nice topic but from time to time we have a guest that requires some dental work - we have had a guest who chipped his tooth eating a caramel! it was a easy and very affordable fix. Suz rushed them to the dentist and they were having coffee hour later! Should you require dental attention or would like to take advantage of our affordable dental services then let us know so that we can help with arrangements. Alternatively, you can contact the dentists directly on the following numbers: Ministry of Health Dental Clinic Aroiva Akama, Tupapa Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am-12 noon + 1pm-4pm Ph: 29-312 for an appointment To visit their website right click on the following link and open in new tab https://www.health.gov.ck/oral-health/
If you are feeling ill or need medical attention please let us know straight away. We can help make a appointment for you and help arrange transport there and back should you require. If you seek URGENT medical attention and need a ambulance then please ring 999 and report your emergency, be sure to give them your hotel, location, contact number and name. Also be sure to let them know medical state of the person needing attention. As soon as you have reported emergency please contact us so we can be there for you.
There are a number of qualified private doctors’ resident on Rarotonga whom you can contact directly on the following numbers. For afterhours emergencies you may be best to head to the hospital. Please note that all visitors have to pay for ambulance and medical services at the hospital. Please take your health insurance details with you to the hospital. We highly recommend that all visitors to the Cook Islands arranged for travel insurance before they travel.
Dr. Teariki Noovao Ph: 20-835 (Nikao) or 55-814 Tupapa Community Clinic – Hours from 8am – 6pm Mon-Fri, 8am – 11am Sat Ph: 20-066
Dr Tereapii Uka - Monday to Friday 8am-6pm, Saturday 8am-11am Ph: 23-680
Dr Nini Wynn - Rarotonga Medical centre. Located Avarua behind Empire Theatre. Ph 23229 clinic hours Monday to Friday 830am to 430pm Saturday 830am to 1230pm
Rarotonga Hospital is open 24 hours, with a doctor on duty at all times in case of emergencies. There is a charge for consultations. Ph: 20066 To visit their website for more information right click on the following link and open in new tab: http://www.health.gov.ck
DRESSING UP .........OR DOWN!
We are very relaxed bunch of people..........most of us! When visiting the Cook Islands just a couple of suggestions when going out and about. Going out for dinner, dress code is casual. Neat and tidy as mum says!
For church a tidy or modest dress code is called for. Men you can wear long/short sleeve shirt, trousers or dress shorts is acceptable. Ladies short/long sleeve shirt, knee or long length skirt/dress. No singlet tops or dresses please.
When going out and about ie town/beach etc then informal, casual wear is good. Shorts, tees are probably going to be the daily wear. Brief attire such as two piece or swimsuit may get you a few glares from some people and cause offence - so just chuck a tshirt or grab yourself a sarong to wear over your swimsuits and you are good to go!
It seems to be more and more common that we cannot live without our gadgets - all which require lots of charging where we go! We all have kids and most times power plugs are hogged by our tablets, mobile phones, laptops and the rest so we understand. Just so you know voltage in the Cook Islands is 240Volt 50HzAC. Three-pin plugs are used, the same as for New Zealand and Australia. Your bathroom has been fitted with a dual voltage outlet for a 110-volt shaver. For any other 110-volt appliances (such as curling tongs or hairdryers - ladies) you will require a two-pin adapter (also called a converter) and a transformer, so if you think you need a adapter or transformer - then throw one in your bag.
On the note of curling tongs, hairdryer or straighteners......... ladies we live in a humid climate ie humidity = volume! There is only so much straightening or blow out you can do before humidity gets you. This is why island women mostly wear their naturally curly hair out or in a bun. Lastly if you going to use curling iron or straightener then this is fine just remember to switch them OFF and unplug them from the plug to avoid any accidents.
By emergency (yes we have had one or two get it wrong before) we mean a emergency where you require the assistance of the Police, Ambulance, Hospital or Fire Dept. Your internet connection dying on you is not a emergency!
If you do require Police, Hospital or Fire Dept then call 999 . Please give your name, what your emergency is, and where to send help. Let them know that you are staying at Sokala Villas, take the drive way down from snowbird laundry in Muri to the beach. Once you have reported your emergency please find us or call 29200 so that we can be there for you.
If the matter is less urgent, please contact the Cook Islands Police on 22499 or Rarotonga Hospital on 20066.
Please provide all flight details to us in Cook Islands date and time. Flights travelling here from New Zealand and Australia will be crossing the International Date Line - New Zealand and Australia are one day ahead of the Cook Islands - so please advise us of flight numbers, flight arrival and departure times, and your dates of travel to ensure we have your booking details accurately noted. If any of your flights change, please ensure that we are advised of this. Sokala villas will not be held responsible should your flight be brought forward or changed to depart a later date and we are unable to accommodate you because you failed to advise Sokala of your flight change
We have available in our office a full first aid kit. If you require please come up to the office and we can help you out. If the injury is a bit more serious then we can take you to the hospital or doctor clinic just up the road from Sokala. We recommend you pack into your bags any medicines you are currently taking in case you run out and we don't have the same medicine on the island.
The Cook Islands has some of the yummiest and freshest food - fish, fruit, veges and the rest (the rest being all the things that we probably eat so much of like donuts, pies, coconut rolls etc )! However there is only so much eating some can do and to be able to stay fit and healthy you may want to go gym! The Cook Islands is like one big sauna during summer, so whatever you are eating you going to sweat off?! However for a bit more activity you can join any one of the gyms around the island or plan a day out doing something like a long walk, hike or cycle. Sokala doesn't have a gym onsite but we can point you in the direction to some great ones nearby. Don't ask for a scale either as Suz is adamant that our scale is a liar............
There a few gyms around the island and all who welcome visitors. You can pay for casual gym sessions some start from $10 per session or if you going to go gym regularly then ask what membership suits you best. For the more serious you can join cross fit. Some of the details are below:
FITNESS COOK ISLANDS Located in Nikao opposite the airport this fitness centre offers general gym equipment, weights facilities and classes.
Open: Monday to Sunday 4am-9pm Ph: 25-022
Located on the main road, Arorangi (out west). Just drop in and join a class!
Raro Muscle is one of the largest gyms on the island. They have more up-to-date gym equipment, as well as an outdoor training and deadlifting station, Located in Tupapa just on the outskirts of town, across the road from Club Raro . Its hard to miss as they feature murals of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Ronnie Coleman. Casual and three-day concession cards available.
For those looking for a more physical, spiritual and mental work out there is something for you too! Interest in Yoga is increasing all the time. More and more locals are finding that whilst the gym is not for them, Yoga is! The same with our guests, many come for Yoga retreats and some just find that bringing their yoga mat and starting their day with stretches and giving thanks is a great way to begin the day. So if you want to take yoga classes then get in touch with some of the below people- am sure you will enjoy it.
Brynn at Kitesup is a do everything lady! She not only teaches everyone to kite surf or paddle board but also runs Yoga classes. You can do SUP Yoga (Yoga on paddle board) or you can join Brynn for her Mat yoga classes.
Located next to Deli-licious Café and Koka Lagoon Cruises 056 Main Road, Muri, Rarotonga, 00000, COK
Join Michelle for her ever popular yoga classes. She is a yoga teacher and you can enroll for her Yoga retreats for holiday makers, ashram experiences for yogi devotees as well as casual classes.
Contact: ph 76124
Nearly all of our guests booking directly with us choose to self-service their villa and we also offer the option of daily servicing. With self service you are not required to do any major cleaning, and are not required to launder towels or linen. If you are on self service and looking after yourselves, to exchange your dirty sheets and towels for clean ones you can bring them up to the office during office hours Mon to Fri 9am to 12pm and we will happily exchange them for clean ones. Come to the office building and ask any one of us during office hours and we would be happy to exchange your linen for you. Guests are asked to keep the villa moderately tidy, and sweep or vacuum out any sand that accumulates from the beach. If you need anything, come and see us at our office or ask Eanga when you see her around. We are only too happy to help.
If you would like your room serviced during your stay, once or a few times then we can offer this service as a optional extra. Eanga our friendly room staff can service your room Monday to Friday anytime during 9am to 1pm. If you have a specific time then please just let us know at the office so we can arrange with Eanga to service at requested time.
We all like to have a day off, so for religious, community, cultural and family obligations, on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays we are not at work to swap dirty laundry or provide house keeping service if you have booked it, but we will give fresh linen or do your housekeeping before we leave for the weekend or public holiday. We hope you can understand.
IRON & IRONING BOARDS
If you have the need for a iron and ironing board we keep one in storage downstairs in the linen room. You only need to let us know and we can run it over to your villa. We ask that you take normal precautions when ironing - when you are finished ironing please unplug and let cool down before winding the cord up and returning it. Also make sure not to burn yourself too! If you are ironing delicate garments, we recommend you test on something else first to make sure it all good, clean and not sticky (everyone uses the iron) before placing on your garment. Check that you have it on appropriate settings and not too hot.
In this day and age there are so many ways to get hold of friends and family around the world - instantly even! But there is something really nice about still sending and receiving a letter or post card. So while on holiday why not send a post card home to friends and family to let them know that you are having a great time - but you are thinking of them! If you like you can pick up post cards from the Treasure chest gift shop up the road to the left from Sokala or from one of the many shops in town. If you have stamps then you can drop your mail off to us at the office and we can drop to the post office if you are unable to do it. So grab a pen and get writing!
KAYAKING & WATER SPORTS
You are coming to the islands, so of course you are going to be hitting the water and doing some snorkelling ,swimming and of course kayaking! The weather is generally beautiful most days of the year and perfect for such activities.
Please note that there are no life guards anywhere on Rarotonga. Therefore, we recommend the following water safety guidelines
-check the water and weather conditions - Always check!
-kayak or swim with a buddy or if you heading out alone then let us know so we know where you are. If at all possible don't be in the water alone. Besides swimming or kayaking with a buddy is always more fun!
-know your physical limits and experience. Don't be a action Jackson pretending you know how to snorkel, swim etc only to kayak out to the reef, get chucked on the reef and come home having lost your keys, kayak, paddle, camera............and your pants (before you ask - yes this actually happened!! all ended well his wife came up to fetch pants and handed them over after having a good laugh and telling us in fits of giggles what happened!)
- if in doubt, stay out of the water
- if you feel you need a life jacket ask us up at the office we do keep a couple handy.
- do not touch any marine life or walk on coral
- always wear reef shoes, when snorkelling or walking the beach
-if you need to stand up, kick your foot around to move along any marine life that might be chilling out on the lagoon bed.
- ALWAYS use eco-friendly sun screen and/or wear a T-Shirt or wet suit for protection from the island sun. You don't want to be sunburnt red in all your photos do you?
-do not be dumb and go swimming after drinking alcohol, just like no drink driving - the same for swimming. No drinking and swimming
- if you need help, keep calm, call out to anyone nearby and raise your hand in the air trying to signal someone .
-Muri Lagoon is a huge lagoon, there is no need to swim to close to the reef. Some parts of Muri Lagoon has a strong rip as you get closer to the reef. So please stick to the middle of the lagoon. Heaps to see, big spaces to paddle!
On arrival we provide you with one set of keys for your villa. This key is to open the front door and we ask that you look after it during your stay. We do have a spare but should you loose your key we will charge you replace cost for getting a new key cut.
We advise all our guests to check your passports and ensure you have a minimum of 6 months validity beyond your stay here in the Cook Islands. Should your passport be less than 6 months validity from arrival date into the Cook Islands then you may want to look at renewing passport to avoid missing out on your island getaway!
Sokala is NOT a location for parties and noisy gatherings as this will disrupt other guests who have come here for a quiet getaway. If you're looking for a party central location, sorry Sokala is not it. Should you have guests who are here with you staying elsewhere on the island, we dont mind if they visit but please advise them to be considerate of our other guests and keep the noise level to a minimum while here - Thank you!
For safety reasons and for the comfort of all our guests, smoking is NOT permitted inside the villas. Smoking is permitted outside on the deck of each villa. Thank you.
We are proud that many couples have chosen Sokala as the location of their beach wedding ceremony. To hold a wedding reception at Sokala after the service requires that all seven villas are booked by the wedding group, which happens here about once every year or two. Booking all villas ensures that there aren't any non-wedding guests in house who would be disrupted by the joyous occasion and celebrations. If you need a wedding planner to help organise a small beach ceremony right up to larger reception that requires a marquee, chairs, linen, chefs etc, we recommend Sarina Cummings from our office here whose weddings website can be seen at http://www.cookislandsweddings.com