The Cook Islands is an island nation in the South Pacific, with ties to New Zealand. It's comprised of 15 islands scattered over an extensive area in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Located between the United States and Australia, many visit these islands each year.
The largest of the islands is Rarotonga, with its rugged mountains, and stunning beaches. When traveling to "the Cooks", this is where all international flights arrive. If you’ve had the opportunity to visit the island of Mo’orea in French Polynesia, “Raro”, as the locals call it, has a similar landscape.
Slightly to the north is Aitutaki Island, known for its vast, and picturesque, lagoon surrounded by coral reefs and small, sandy islets. This island is similar to what you might find in the Islands of Tahiti, with small, intimate resorts, a lagoon displaying 50 shades of blue, and even the highly sought after, overwater bungalows.
Getting to the Cook Islands
Traveling to Rarotonga is easy from the United States. With weekly flights from Los Angeles and a flying time of 9.5 hours on Air New Zealand, you can arrive early in the morning and still have the full day to enjoy! The Cook Islands are the perfect place to escape and also try a new, tropical destination. Not quite as far as Fiji, Australia or New Zealand, travel time is a couple of hours more than Hawaii flying to Hawaii.
What makes this island nation so special? Quite a bit actually. From the friendly locals, and delightful dishes, to incredible snorkeling and scuba diving! It’s a beach, and water, lover’s paradise indeed. There are also many activities for land lovers as well. Guided mountain hikes, biking tours, buggies, quad, or 4-wheel drive trips to the interior. A visit to the local markets and the famous Raro Pub Crawl is also a fun time. Hop on the bus, circle around the island and see Rarotonga by night.
Who's It For?
There is really something for everyone in the Cook Islands, with the exception of one who doesn't like the beach, sand or sea at all. Young and old, are warmly accepted and entertained!
Whether you are traveling as a couple, young family, family with teenagers, group of friends or a multi-generational family vacation, all can be accommodated here. Depending on how many are traveling with you, a great option to choose is a villa with a private pool. From 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms, there are several on the island to select from. Or if traveling with a large group of family or a small group of friends, take over a complete hotel. It's easy to do with advance notice.
Style of Accommodations
With a variety of activities on land and sea, a great selection of local dining, and of course all the modern amenities that we love, a vacation to the Cooks may be exactly what you need.
With several resort options on each of these 2 islands, there is a variety of accommodations to choose from ranging from self-cater, more rustic, to luxury full-service. Due to the size (and laws) of the islands, you won't find any high rise hotels here. Most of the hotels and resorts are small in size, yet big in service. Coming from North America, traveling to Mexico and the Caribbean islands brings a plethora of mass-market, large-scale resorts and hotel chains. For those opting to escape those crowds, this is a great fit!
My family and I will be visiting in June to celebrate a milestone birthday. We’ve chosen to stay at a full-service resort (Nautilus Resort Rarotonga) to ensure proper pampering and indulging is effortless; however, we selected an onsite private villa with a plunge pool, oceanfront. The perfect way to ring in that milestone coming my way quickly. Having the resort restaurant, bar and infinity pool steps away, as well as the calm lagoon, we’ll have all that we need to disconnect and unwind, yet still within arm's reach of dining and activities. Something I am looking forward to more than I may realize.
The icing on the cake? Vacationing in the Cooks is very reasonable. It's not quite as pricey as the other in the South Pacific family, Islands of Tahiti and even parts of Fiji.
Ready to go? Be sure to contact me and let's plan your unique and relaxing escape to the Cook Islands today. Click here to schedule a call.
Traveler Tip: If visiting Aitutaki be sure to make a stop at One Foot Island (with your passport) and receive a special stamp to remember your trip. This is one thing that's on my bucket list. My passport has been yearning for it for quite some time.