Made up of 15 islands in the heart of the South Pacific, the Cook Islands are relatively unspoiled by tourism and offer a unique and relaxed paradise yet to be discovered by the masses.
With a pleasant year round climate, the Cook Islands are a great destination to visit at anytime of year. Picture yourself lying back in a hammock under swaying palm trees, the warm breeze blowing through your hair, the soft white sand tickling your toes and the sound of the South Pacific Ocean gently lapping on the shore, lulling you into a state of utter bliss – the Cook Islands offer the deserted island experience of your dreams.
The main and largest island is Rarotonga. At only 32 kilometres in circumference, it is easily explored by scooter. Made up of dense jungle with iridescent green, craggy mountain peaks running through its centre, powdery white sand beaches and encircled by a reef; Rarotonga’s highlights are in its waters. Its shallow lagoon is perfectly suited to snorkelling, with a vast array of colourful marine life while the deeper waters offer diver’s canyons, caves, tunnels and plenty of vibrant coral. Try your hand at deep sea diving or skim across the top of the water on a kayak or paddleboard, in search of turtles and secret islands. Swim in the warm waters or relax on the beach.
On land you can hike through jungle, cycle around the islands or join the locals on the bus that loops the island from morning until late evening. Head to the Punanga Nui Markets for some local culture and craft, experience the harmonious chorus of singing in church on a Sunday, enjoy a progressive dinner tour where you’ll dine in the villages and homes of local families and meet the generations all living under the one roof or pop into an open-air bar and mix with the friendly locals for a night of drinking and dancing.
The second most visited island is the spectacular Aitutaki, sitting on top of one of the world’s largest coral lagoons. Brimming with marine life including giant clams, Aitutaki is the definition of tropical paradise and the perfect spot for a secluded and romantic escape. A 45 minute flight from Rarotonga will have you touching down on this heavenly island where there is little more to do than relax on the stunning beaches, explore the warm surrounding waters, discover the 15 uninhabited islets or motus which fringe the lagoon, and dine on delectable seafood and locally grown fruit and vegetables.
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