I always thought the Cook Islands were a busy beach destination, full of Aussies and Kiwis on vacation. To my surprise, I found the islands deserted, with quaint beaches as beautiful as the ones in Tahiti and Fiji!
The easy In my mind, I always thought the Cook Islands were a busy beach destination, full of Aussies and Kiwis on vacation.
To my surprise, I found them deserted, with quaint beaches as beautiful as the ones in Tahiti and Fiji!
While the destination sounds remote, the easy non-stop Air New Zealand flights from Los Angeles to Rarotonga makes the Cooks a top beach destination.
“Raro”, aka Rarotonga, as nicknamed by the locals, is the main Cook island. It’s very small! There are two buses that run about along the one road; one clockwise and the other counterclockwise. For a buck, one can take the bus and easily access all the attractions on the island. Renting a small car or a Vespa is a lot of fun, too! By 2020, the Cooks hope to become 100% eco-friendly, with all-electric vehicles, a nice plus to look forward to, especially for tours, like the Tik-e tours featured in my picture.
There are no large resorts or hotels to be found on the Cook Islands. Boutique properties, never taller than a coconut tree, surround the islands, each with its own ambiance and design. Luxury is best experienced in an ocean front, private villa-type of setting. You never have to worry about where and how to dine, as these villas are all set up to use the services of a private chef. Great restaurants are also very easy to find within walking distance.
How wonderful it was to witness, in the morning, couples and families stepping out of their ocean front room, to enjoy a walk along the beach before finding a small shack serving breakfast or lunch.
When one is short on time and wanting to take advantage of the non-stop flights from LA, Raro is the perfect destination for a 5-night stay. When a bit more time is available, the island of Aitutaki is the perfect spot for another 5 nights. Just a short 20-minute flight away, Aitutaki will take your breath away and, if it's possible, is even more beautiful and pristine than Raro.
Residents of the Cook Islands love their land and take a great care of it. These islands are a wonderful little piece of paradise to discover for those attracted by a simple, quaint island environment with beautiful beaches, blue-lagoons, great people and local food. For instance, if you love Kauai, you should love the Cooks. It is a very quiet destination. And with only one Internet provider for the entire archipelago, connecting can be sporadic. For some, the Cook Islands has all the elements of being a great escape.