Dreaming of a tropical island getaway resemblant of a serene Condé Nast magazine cover? While hordes of tourists flock to Maldives and Tahiti, here’s why you should visit the Cook Islands.
Where are the Cook Islands?
Dotting the South Pacific, the Cook Islands are situated north of New Zealand. Although there are 15+ islands, essentially there are two main spots people visit: Northern and Southern Cook Islands.
I visited the main island and capital city, Rarotonga, and also ventured out to explore Aitutaki. While Rarotonga is a great hub, you can’t beat the beaches and snorkeling at Aitutaki.
Where to stay in the Cook Islands
In both Rarotonga and Aitutaki there is no shortage of accommodations. No matter your budget you can find affordable cabins to luxury resorts.
Where to stay – Rarotonga
There are several options for accommodations on Rarotonga. During my visit to Rarotonga I stayed at Little Polynesian, which is a tranquil boutique hotel offering tropical gardens and beachfront bungalows.
Where to stay – Aitutaki
In Aitutaki I stayed at Pacific Resort, a beautiful luxury resort with beachfront villas that really solidify the feeling that you’re vacationing in paradise.
Now, on to the fun part which is exploring the best of the Cook Islands!
What to do in the Cook Islands
On islands as pristine and gorgeous as these, you’ll definitely want to soak up the sun and splash in the aqua waters. Additionally, here’s a glance at the best things to do in the Cook Islands:
Snorkeling – Take a tour to the local reef for excellent snorkeling of schools of colorful fish and coral.
Island hopping – The Cook Islands are an archipelago, so hopping around to explore the nearby islands is a must!
Hiking – Explore the nearby hiking trails which connect to picturesque volcanoes, idyllic waterfalls, and the local flora and fauna.
Visit the Lagoons – A fun water activity is to rent a kayak and explore the Lagoons. When visiting Rarotonga, paddle out to explore Muri Lagoon, where you can grab lunch at a cafe and explore the sandy shoreline.
Nightlife – Rarotonga and Aitutaki both have lively nightlife. Head to any one of the resorts for dancing, drinks and dining.
Getting Around the Cook Islands
Many people don’t realize how easy it is to get to the Cook Islands from LAX. It’s a straight 8 hour and 45 minute flight from LAX to Rarotonga via Air New Zealand. I’d personally rather visit Cook Islands than Maldives because it’s closer and an easy flight from LAX. Not to mention it feels like utter paradise and is much less crowded than Maldives.
Once you get to Rarotonga, you can access other islands on a small plane which will take you to Aitutaki and nearby islands.
Why You Should Visit the Cook Islands
If island paradise is calling your name and you want a secluded getaway without the fuss and hype of popular island destinations, head to the Cook Islands! You won’t be disappointed.
I love island life; things move slower, the atmosphere is laid back and inviting, and you can’t beat the gorgeous South Pacific waters. What’s your favorite part about island life?
Craving salty air and turquoise waters? Check out St. Thomas, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands!