What’s in the Cook Islands for me?
Are you looking for a laid back beach vibe, but are sick of your usual haunts in the Caribbean and Central America? The Mediterranean too busy for you? Look no further than the tiny cluster of Pacific Islands that make up the nation of the Cook Islands! Rarotonga, the main island, is where your flight will land, and where most travellers tend to spend most of their time in the Cooks.I spent 4 days here visiting several hotels to get a feel for the place, and believe there really is something here for everyone!! And no, the photo below is NOT photoshopped in any way!
Club Raro is perfect for a young couple, or a group of friends, or anyone looking for a well priced place to stay close to town. The beach in front is not perfect for swimming, but it is great for sunbathing, and watching the guys out on their kite surfing boards. Cool off in the swim up pool bar before hitting the nightclubs a short walk away.
On a family holiday and looking for more of a resort feel? Check into the 5 star Pacific Resort in Muri beach. The pool area is fantastic and plenty of watersports are included free of charge just of the gorgeous sandy beach off Muri .A kids club is on offer along with baby sitting services so everyone will be happy.
If your planning a honeymoon and looking for a resort with something special for you and your ‘Better Half’ , The Little Polynesian could tick those boxes. Make sure you book an overbeach bungalow as it overlooks the golden sands, and has a private spa bath outside in the courtyard. The balcony overlooking the beach is perfect for watching a sunset together with a bottle of champagne to celebrate your nuptials.
My favourite property, as it suits everyone, is the Muri Beach Club hotel. Situated on Muri beach this 4 star property is clean, comfortable and nicely renovated. It is perfect for couples, families and honeymooners. The on site restaurant serves up a wonderful feast and the hotel staff are fantastically friendly.
Of course these are only a handful of properties I visited this year. If your after a particular type of place to stay, email me, and I’ll recommend somewhere.
No trip to these laid back islands would be complete without a visit to Aitutaki, one of the most beautiful islands near Rarotonga. You can visit on a day trip for around $500aud per person including your flights and a snorkeling trip on the island. Or for maximum enjoyment, book flights so you have at least 2 nights on this gorgeous part of the planet. Aitutaki is so stunning that Air New Zealand recently shot this hilarious and sexy aircraft safety video there.
I was lucky enough to stay at the Aitutaki Lagoon resort and spa (where the video was shot!) and it was very much a place of relaxation and glamour. Honeymooners will love this resort, but please book in advance as it does book out in high season, especially if your interested in one of the over water bungalows!
There are a few slightly more budget places to stay on the island, at the time I was visiting Samade on the Beach looked like one of the best places to stay, but it was under renovation, so I have no pictures of the rooms only of the view- It is right on the lagoon, looking out to the Aitutaki Lagoon resort. A great place for an evening cocktail!
If you’re looking for some culture while you’re visiting the Cook Islands, you can find plenty at the Te Vara Nui culture centre, which provides an hour tour through a village with explanations on cooking, religion, medicines, exploration, cook island history and much more before you settle into an array of local dishes at the buffet. While you gorge yourself silly on Cassava and lamb, the cultural dances will perform on a floating platform in the lake. Amazing dancers, both female and male, will delight the crowds and afterwards, pose for photos with you. Don’t miss this one!
If exploration and adventure is more your thing, book a seat on the 4×4 expeditions run by Raro safari tours. You will drive up to the inner mountains of the island on the back of a truck, where you will watch a coconut husking demonstration before munching on the flesh. The roads are bumpy and muddy when there has been rain, so it all adds to the feeling. The staff will crack jokes and keep everyone entertained, boredom is not an option.
The cook islands is not just about laying on a tropical beach, you really can get out and explore what the islands have to offer too if you like. The locals are delightful and beyond friendly, don’t be surprised if you make many friends and get invited to their houses as soon as you meet. They like to laugh, and they love to have fun. The scenery in the Cooks is gorgeous, but the people really made it for me. I can’t wait to visit again soon!!
Check out Cook islands tourism for more info