Blue-jeweled water, white beaches, lush forests, place with few tourists – yes, that’s the Cooks. The archipelago’s 15 islands lie flung between Samoa and French Polynesia. Instead of a french influence, the islands have strong ties to New Zealand.
Gorgeous Cook islands are definitely a castaway’s dream.
Global Traveler has named the Cook Islands the “Best Pacific Rim Island”. That was readers’ choice, based on the fact that life on the Cooks is stress-free, not overly commercialized, and not too expensive — but still luxurious.
The main tourist magnets are definitely Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
These are the things you should know about the Cook Islands.
Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands and most populated at the same time. With a circumference of 32 km, you can walk across it in half a day. “Raro“, as they like to call it, is considered the big city to the other islands. There is plenty to do here, lots of family hotels, bars and restaurants and pristine beaches you will never forget.
Muri beach or Muri lagoon is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It is located on the southeast coast of Rarotonga. The shallow waters are ideal for snorkelers where many species of tropical fish can be seen.
On the other side of the coast there is Titikaveka beach. The water is so clear that you can easily spot colorful fish all around you. Also, it is great for kayaking. This is a perfect place to try out that underwater camera.
Aitutaki is the second most visited island. This is where you’ll find the world’s most beautiful lagoon. The chain of 21 small islands (motu) dotting Aitutaki’s lagoon are pristine and uninhabited. This picture-perfect lagoon is so gorgeous you will never get enough of its beauty.
The main island of Aitutaki is a very relaxed island. What makes it very popular with honeymooners are beautiful beaches and some gorgeous resorts.
#3 Don’t bother looking for your favorite chain hotel…
Most of the resorts are family owned and operated. Therefore the staff will do their best to provide you with the best accommodation and service ever. There is a rule in the Cooks that no building can be taller than a palm tree. So, wherever you decide to stay, nothing will block your view to the ocean. You can choose from a five star bungalows on the edge of the lagoon to the family apartments, it is all up to you.
#4 …or your fast food chain
There is no Big Mac or Fish Mac on the island. Traditional food is served exclusively. Nothing better than just-caught fish prepared by the locals. A lot of their dishes and seafood are cooked in the umu, also known as an earth oven.
Enjoy a cocktail or two over dinner at one of the many restaurants scattered around the islands and watch the sun set. We love Ika Mata, a traditional raw fish dish that’s been cured in lime and coconut milk. Grilled Mahi Mahi is another great choice. Or if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, try rori – a sea cucumber which can be eaten raw or cooked with butter and spices. (source)
#5 The weather is always perfect
Many of the tropical islands reach peak humidity during certain seasons. However, that is not the case with the Cook Islands. The average temperature is between 74°F and 84°F, with the warmest weather from November to March.
#6 The locals stick to their tradition
The people of the Cook Islands decided to stick to their Polynesia culture and tradition. They believe their authenticity can still attract tourists. A great example of this is the Te Vara Nui Over-Water Night Show. Rather than translating the show into English, the chants and dialogue are in Cook Islands Māori.