This group of idyllic islands in the South Pacific Ocean was named in honor of the late Captain Cook, who located them in 1770, the islands turned into a British protectorate in 1888. But by 1900, administrative and territorial authority was granted to New Zealand.
In case you’re sitting at your work area having Robinson Crusoe adventure fantasies, better start packing your bags for the Cook Islands could be an incredible excursion place for you and your friends to explore. It doesn’t get considerably more remote or more delightful what with the ideal beaches, profound wilderness and coral tidal ponds. Visit each of the 15 islands that appear to be more stunning than the last.
Here are the top ten not to be missed places in Cook Islands.
is a corner of paradise that is still unspoiled and will leave you speechless and amused. It is a beautiful attraction that you need to see at least once in your life. The lagoon is wonderful to discover in every nook and can be enjoyed in all shades of turquoise, blue, and light blue that stand out even more under the rays of the sun. Here you can snorkel and see amazing fish, marine wildlife, giant clams, and wade in the shallow and fine white sand banks. An absolute must on the Aitutaki is to take a Lagoon Cruise for a day.
Even if you are traveling by kayak, these distances can travel only by boat. It puts on a colorful underwater world value where you get to see a whole lot more. Be enchanted by the colors of the lagoon and the numerous small islands that are more beautiful than any photo. The best part of the package tours is the lunch offering and milkshakes. To reach the resort, you have to arrange the tour with a local resort and you will be taken by the ferryman to the private island. The simpler alternative is a tropical drink at the beach bar as you enjoy the view of the ocean which is the best part the island has to offer.
One Foot Island
One Foot Island
is simply enormous and shaped like a foot. Tourists marvel at its crystal clear waters and fine white sand. A full day excursion on the water includes a chance to dive and snorkel the reef areas which are all accessible by renting a water taxi in the island. A package tour to this site offers a delicious barbeque on board and freshly caught grilled tuna. Along the way you will see giant turtles, rare red hermit crabs and huge clams. A number of interesting islets can also be visited.
Don’t forget to pass by the so called “smallest post office in the world” to have your passport stamped with the famous “one foot” trademark of the island, one of the cutest souvenir of a tour. This island is a favorite wedding venue for most romantic couples who want to have some privacy and a memorable wedding in Cook Islands. This place is ideal for those who want to spend an entire day in complete solitude. You can also access this remote island after crossing the beautiful lagoon of Aitutaki. It is a sea that looked like a huge aquarium with hundreds of colorful fish waiting to be discovered among its depth.
and especially the sea with the huge threshold of coral reefs is one of the best places to snorkel in this volcanic island. Either you rent a scooter or go by public bus and enjoy the day at the beautiful beach with great waves in the sea. Very important, do not forget your sun block and drinking water, swimsuits, snorkeling gears, and your strong desire for adventure as there are so many things to do around this very large beach in the southern side of Cook Islands. If you are in luck, you can find a blue starfish and other colorful tropical fishes hiding along its reef. There are a lot of beautiful tidal ponds that permit serene swimming or snorkeling, and moonlit walks around the East Side sands that look immaculate and perfect for long romantic moonlit walks at night for sweet couples.
is one of the most beautiful sites in Rarotonga. It consists of brilliant turquoise water and a great white beach with vivid green landscape. You can swim in the sea very well and even swim over to the other island over and look at scenic views. When snorkeling, unfortunately, there is not much to see but it is still worth checking out. Muri lagoon is like a dream in the South Seas.
It has tastefully decorated bungalows, the beach is wide and the sand is white. The lagoon is crystal clear, warm, and ideal for children. Restaurants are in the immediate environment, as is a small supermarket on foot that is also within easy reach. Saturday is the best time to visit to see the colorful sailing boats organize and compete for the weekend boat racing event.
The entrance to the
is located on the right side of an old hotel ruins. You drive about 5-10 minutes along a path and then take the pass to the waterfall. The steep path into the jungle is very slippery after rain showers, and should not be attempted. As an alternative, walk the trail going to the mountain, it really pays off as this path is not strenuous. It is about 1 – 1 1/2 hours and then the final ascent comes with a half hour trail leading to a steep uphill, and if you visit at the right season (winter months, when it’s not dry) you will see this fantastic waterfall in all its glory. For the hike, a mosquito repellant is necessary.
The road is not long, but can be cumbersome because of the attacking mosquitoes. During the dry season swimming in the lake under a waterfall is more difficult as the water is very cold. Your car can get here, but in the rainy season, the roads can be impassable that you have to rent a 4×4. The area is full of little houses and people, it is not crowded here during weekends and one of the best sites where you can truly relax and be in one with nature.
The best time to visit the local market of Cook Islands, the
is during Saturdays when the fresh produce and crafts are freshly delivered from the nearby towns. It gets really busy as there are numerous stalls and sidewalk vendors, food kiosks that offer a wide selection of wares, food and souvenir crafts to choose from. It is also a fun way to learn and taste the local cuisine, from street food barbecued meats, waffles, fresh local fruits, and up to the sweet delicacies that this country is known for. Not to be missed is the tropical cheesecake and the pita bread filled with grilled meat. There is also a traditional dance show and live music on the stage, and shops to buy snacks if you get tired of shopping.
Make sure that if you buy a wooden craft, the seller will provide a permit for the item as the customs and immigration authorities might seize it during inspection. There are lots of items for women like; wide brimmed hats, colorful and long summer dresses, veils, sunglasses, scarves, perfumes, leis, gem necklaces, and beauty products. Watching the cultural shows, getting in touch with the friendly locals, and shopping is a good way to know the rich culture of this country and the best option to do on weekends aside from visiting the numerous beaches and scenic landscape attractions that line the island.
Te Vara Nui Village
If you are in Rarotonga, a visit to the cultural show of
Te Vara Nui Village
is the perfect complement. The food, the atmosphere, the show, the guide and entertainer, the infrastructure, attention, music, etc.., everything to make the guest have a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage of Cook Island is completely perfect. Enjoy it to the fullest, starting from riding the peculiar carriage they have here to make the tour easier to access other parts of the village. The show begins with dancers, performances with fire and captivating rhythms, all set in a small lagoon. In practice, they tell the story of their ancestors who lived on the island in the most gracious art form, dancing.
The guide provided by the village named George is the best, an excellent person, very funny, shares a lot of knowledge about Rarotonga and more. You can have the chance to join the dancers and have fun trying on the traditional clothes they wear when they perform.
They will gladly teach you how to dance too as their form of thanking guests who appreciate their show. The dancers are incredible as they move to the mix of the enchanting music and magical atmosphere, they are all very professional and it is one show that must not be missed when on this site. The tour through the town and the entire show lasts about 4 hours. It is advisable to do both features, because there is also the option to only attend the show or just to tour the villa. The food is good quality, they are dishes made by the best chefs of Cook Islands and at the buffet spread you can eat as much as want.
Black Rock Beach
Black Rock Beach
as told by locals is the acknowledged is verifiably accepted to be the take off point for human spirits. In past times, these dark rock basaltic characteristics secured a broad territory where the site is presently located. Unfortunately because of the need for pulverized metal to create the well paved highway a quarry was introduced to process the rocks for development purposes.
Even if the site has modernized, the urban legend continues to be attached to them. It is located on the south shore of a little less than about 1km along the main road from the west end of Rarotonga International Airport. You can walk the long coast and climb on the top of the iconic black rock and take awesome pictures while admiring the views of the sea. There is no such guide plate or road signs in particular to get to this remote place in the Southern part of Rarotonga.
The white sand and black rock, the contrast of the blue sky, and blue sea makes great subjects for that perfect landscape photograph. The water is clear and you can see fishes from where you stand over the water and even without the need to snorkel. It is also located very near to the airport of Cook Islands.
Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre
Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre
or more popularly known as the “whale museum” is located in the back road (about 15 minutes walk from Zenrum of Avarua. Admission is $ 12) of Rarotonga Beach. The museum is crammed full and no longer meets the requirements of a modern museum design. There are small tropical fish aquariums, coconut crabs, a small basin with a Stonefish, all very small and quite a chore. The exposed material is abundant, but there is a little space and time to see everything and wanting to have a lot of information. But it is instructive, simple, interesting, and well worth a detour from the coastal path in Rarotonga.
There is a room designed for kids where they can watch educational documentaries about marine life and the kinds of tropical fishes that are endemic to the waters of Cook Island. A part of the admission fee goes to the Whale Research Project, in a way you help save these wonderful animals if you care to drop by the centre.
Te Rua Manga (The Needle)
Mountain lovers are in for a thrilling ride once they set foot on the great hiking trails to assault the summit of the
Te Rua Manga (The Needle
). If you want to see the entire Cook Islands from the top, get ready for a difficult path in the middle of which you will find the best reward; a great view of the South Pacific Ocean and the nearby islands. Bring plenty of water – 2 liters per person as a minimum.
And do not try to climb on the rock itself – it is quite fragile and there is a danger of a landslide or collapse. It is visible from all points of Rarotonga and you can cross the island from north to the south in the middle of the jungle.