It is a wonder the Cook Islands have remained such an insider’s gem. With 15 islands to choose from, all renowned for hospitality, culture, and unspoiled natural beauty, being in the Cooks feels like taking a step back in time in the best way possible. The mesmerizing beauty of Polynesia seems to still be untouched on these islands. Whether you’re spending time on the main islands of Rarotonga or Aitutaki, or island hopping around the more remote islands, this picture perfect destination will leave you wanting to stay in this slice of paradise just another day…or week…longer.
Rarotonga is the hub of the islands and has a lot to explore. If you want exquisite beaches and crystal-clear water but don’t want to miss out on restaurants, shopping, and culture, your first stop should be here. A nice way to get your bearings and orient yourself to the island is with a scenic flight. See the inland valleys and plantations, the reef and the drop-off into the deep blue, the emerald green motus (small islets) and turquoise lagoon.
If you’re after some beach R&R, then make Aitutaki your primary destination. The flight to Aitutaki takes just 45 minutes and once you arrive, you’ll be in awe of its crystal clear, bright blue lagoon. Some even say the Aitutaki lagoon rivals Bora Bora’s, but without the crowds and hefty price tag. Spend your days relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing and immersing yourself in local culture and traditions.
Looking to stray even further off the beaten track? There are smaller, undeveloped sister islands whose unspoiled beauty appeal to the explorer in all of us.
While the Cooks make a great destination on their own, they are the perfect addition onto any New Zealand, Australia or Tahiti trip. Air New Zealand offers a weekly nonstop flight between Los Angeles and Rarotonga, making it a breeze to get to paradise!