Why should I go to the Cook Islands?
5 REASONS THAT YOU MUST GO TO THE COOK ISLANDS
Most travellers to the Cooks visit Rarotonga and Aitutaki on their first trip. Rarotonga offers great beaches, lovely accommodations (mostly beachfront and a large portion with kitchens), some culture, a little nightlife, snorkelling, oh so friendly people, easy to get around, shopping in the main village of Avarua, some pretty darn good restaurants, hiking, and an overall tropical experience. Aitutaki is only a 40-minute plane ride from Rarotonga and the lagoon is legendary. It is second only to Bora Bora in my personal estimation. The azure blue waters and white sandy beaches are simply stunning. The big draw in Aitutaki are the lagoon tours, it’s quite a simple pace, a few nice accommodations (and some basic ones), again mostly beachfront, fantastic sunsets, diving, snorkelling in that awesome lagoon and just plain relaxing on the beach with a cocktail and a good book.
This is a very big place. There are distinct areas ie: the Coral Coast which is home to some big hotels, not the best beaches, buttons to see and do. The Mamanuca Islands are just offshore of the main island of Viti Levu, where there are lots of resorts that cater to a wide variety of clients. Further out are the Yasawa islands with their incredible beaches and snorkelling. The north of Fiji is where some of the best diving on this planet is. The Somo Somo Straight is world-famous. The main island of Vanua Levu and its surrounding areas host the Jean Michel Cousteau Resort and the Namale resort, both are top-notch. Even more exotic is the island of Taveuni (a quick plane ride from Savusavu/Vanua Levu) where there are more palm trees and unspoiled beaches than you could ever imagine, hiking, waterfalls, authentic villages and true Fijian culture. There are a few resorts in this area that are wonderful. The Qamea and Matangi Resorts are great for couples searching for romance and private island beauty. The Taveuni Island Resort is five-star elegance. Again, there are also budget accommodations in this area, most quite basic. Most travellers either stay in the Mamanucas/Yasawas and Coral Coast, and those more adventurous seek the north.
Lastly please know that Feb will be the rainy season in both destinations. This is not to say it will rain for sure, but the likelihood is higher and it will be quite hot and humid.
The largest island in French Polynesia, there’s a huge amount of things to do in Tahiti. It’s famous for its black-sand beaches and for inventing surfing. The most legendary wave, Teahupoo, is a reef break on the island’s southern tip, home to the Billabong Pro surf competition each year. The sand gets its dark hue from lava and the most spectacular time to see the sand is at sunset.
If you’re craving white-sand beaches, then Tahiti won’t disappoint. Head to La Plage de Maui on Tahiti’s southern shore. This stretch of dazzling shoreline is also good for swimmers and stand-up paddleboarding as there is a nearby shallow lagoon.
Drag yourself away from the beaches and snorkelling and you’ll find unique flora and fauna at the Botanical Gardens, local arts and crafts at Papeete Market and Huahine Natural Aquarium.
There’s also plenty to keep adventure-seekers occupied with hikes to Aorai Mountain – Tahiti’s second tallest peak – or treks to the Three Waterfalls on the north-eastern part of Tahiti Nui.
To soak up Tahiti’s culture, think about visiting in July when you’ll be able to enjoy the annual Heiva I Tahiti, a grand celebration of local dance and culture.
Snorkelling, swimming and kayaking are just some of the most popular things to do on a Cook Islands vacation.
Turquoise lagoons, volcanic peaks and palm-fringed white-sand beaches really do make the Cook Islands a dream destination.
On land, there are plenty of hikes through lush jungles to get your heart-rate pumping. Why not try the cross-island track which leads from the north coast up to the pinnacle rock Te Rua Manga (The Needle), one of Rarotonga’s most famous landmarks? It then leads via Wigmore’s Waterfall to the south coast.
Rarotonga – the largest of the Cook Islands – offers lively restaurants and bustling markets. The second most visited island – Aitutaki – is dotted with 21 tiny palm-fringed islets, or motu, with its beautiful lagoon being the star attraction. Other more remote islands attract adventurers, anglers and real-life Robinson Crusoes.