Breathe in the fresh pure air. Wade into the cool calm blue lagoons. Let the untouched charm of these beautiful islands capture your spirit and hold your heart. The 15 islands of the Cooks lie halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, scattered like fragrant frangipani petals floating across 2.2million square kilometres of a seductive sensual ocean. Boasting a rare beauty, an idyllic climate, warm welcoming people with the widest white smiles and a pace of life unsurpassed for peace: this Paradise.
Come explore and share with us the pleasures of the Pacific.
A mix of coral atolls and volcanic islands – a good few of the nine Southern islands of the Cooks could be listed as “must see before I die”. An idyllic climate, stunning scenery, warm-hearted people and a desirable way of life where “hurry” has not been coined, make them irresistible. Bush clad volcanic peaks descend to glistening white sands and the inevitable palm-fringed blue lagoons: The Cook Islands is an Island Paradise. Rarotonga - the main island - and Aitutaki – breathtakingly beautiful – dominate the call of the conch.
Six of these beautiful Cook Islands lie to the north. Described as “the stuff that dreams are made of”, their remote appeal pulls at the hearts of explorers, adventurers, authors and artists. Each island is unique. Discover the largest atoll, Penrhyn, the intriguing island of Suwarrow with a population of two, Pukapuka with its own language and Manihiki with its treasure trove of black pearls. The palm-fringed pearly white sands framing turquoise lagoons will prove irresistible.
The Cook Islands offers a wide range of activities and attractions to suit all interests.
Aitutaki Lagoon Cruise
For those who do not dive or snorkel, a lagoon cruise is the perfect way to explore the stunning underwater world of Rarotonga and Aitutaki. A must do! The breathtaking turquoise lagoon and small motus (islets) provide a stunning setting for swimming, snorkeling, and beachcombing. Day trips are available from Rarotonga for those with limited time. Aitutaki's very own Marine Research office allows you to learn more about all our underwater marine life. They cultivate black pearls and Cook Islands Paua.
Cultural experiences and Island Nights
For those interested in culture, there are local villages, historical buildings, churches, and ancient sites to visit. Travelers can learn about traditional culture at our Ministry of Culture and development which houses our Cook Islands museum and library.
Highland Paradise Cultural Centre in Arorangi is a great place to learn about the history and recently discovered historical sites of the settlement of the Tinomana Ariki Tribe. There are ancient marae (ceremonial meeting places) sites to visit, where tribal feasts and offerings were once held. These include Te Pou Toru Marae, the stone structures from the royal court of a reigning chief on Rarotonga, and the Te-Poaki-O-Rae on Aitutaki. The ancient marae on Motutapu is thought to be 100 years old.
A very special highlight and a "must do" is to experience an Island Night which blends together a traditional Cook Islands feast (umukai) and traditional dancing. Be thrilled by the hypnotic rhythm of the drums and excitement & sensuality of the dance.
Rarotonga and Aitutaki are one of the best-kept scuba diving secrets in the world, featuring whales, green and hawksbill turtles, game fish, and colorful tropical reef fish of every variety. Their outer reefs offer a wonderful variety of sub-aquatic experiences for the discerning scuba diver. With warm water and brilliant visibility year round (ranging from 25m on a bad day to 60-70m on a good day), an amazing underwater world awaits you.
Explore the Island
A motor scooter is a popular, fun way to see the sights and explore the islands at your own pace. Hop on the island bus, hire a bicycle or take a leisurely walk.
For the expert or novice, charter game fishing is very affordable and a fishing expedition can be tailor made to suit your needs, from saltwater fly and light-tackle sports fishing, to deep sea game fishing. Aitutaki offer a Bone fishing catch and release programme.
Rarotonga has many colourful bars and clubs offering a good selection of entertainment and local music with nightspots open until midnight (2am on Fridays). Friday is the big night out on Rarotonga with selected resorts offering a guided "pub crawl" to check out the local dance floor action.
Rejuvenate at a Day Spa
Many resorts offer in-house massage services to pamper and restore your soul. The Waterfall Day Spa is Rarotonga's newest Spa specialising in high quality treatments including Vichy Showers, Hydrotherapy Treatments, Body Scrubs, facials and massages.
Take a 4WD tour of Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu into their lush rainforest interior to hear the island's ancient stories and learn about traditional plants.
Sailing, Windsurfing & Kayaking
Windsurfers, sailboats, catamarans and kayaks are available for hire. On Rarotonga, the most popular place for sailing activities is at Muri Lagoon.
With stunning turquoise lagoons, it is possible to snorkel almost anywhere inside the reef. Snorkellers will be rewarded with a prolific abundance of tropical marine life, colourful fish and interesting corals.
Sunday Church Service
Take in the soaring harmonies which fill the historic white coral and limestone churches at a Sunday morning church service; a wonderful way to meet our local people. Church services for visitors are on Sunday at 10am.
Walking & Treks
There are plenty of walking trails for all levels to take you off the beaten track, the most popular being the Cross-Island Mountain Trek. It is recommended that all walks and treks are undertaken with a local guide.
Humpback whales migrate through the Cook Islands from July to the end of October, passing very close to shore.
Other activities include golf, tennis, squash, lawn bowls, horse riding, and glass-bottom boat tours.
For more information visit the our official website Cook Islands tourism website.