Everyone wants to travel at some point in their lives to a tropical, South Pacific island. There’s a few famous ones, like Tahiti and Bora Bora… but many more. Tonga, Samoa, Fiji… and the Cook Islands. We know the islands well, but we’ve always had a close connection with the Cook Islands, and have come up with a couple of reasons why we absolutely love the place! Here’s 9 of them:
Rarotonga, the Cook Islands biggest island and hub of its business and political life has a circumference of 32km… basically a 2 hour bike ride! Here, travelers can literally see the whole island in a day, by renting a scooter or car, or commuting with the talkative locals on the bus. This isn’t a place to rush about, but to take your time to relax. When you feel like some action: set off to discover lagoons, beaches, waterfalls, quaint restaurants, and smiling Cook islanders. Click here for info on geography.
Think white sand beaches, tranquil lagoons and fantastic swimming, snorkeling or diving. The water is vividly clear, and you’ll witness a huge variety of sea life from land or sea, including sea turtles, colourful fish and vibrant coral formations. Aitutaki, the second largest island is arguably the most beautiful, known as a honeymooner hot-spot, while on the larger Rarotonga, specifically Muri beach is considered the best beach and nicest lagoon. That said… these are all pristine Pacific beaches, you can’t go wrong anywhere on the Cooks!
Known for its black pearls, which are all farmed here – these are the ultimate souvenirs (or gifts, gents). “Black” is slightly misleading, as that is the shade of the shell itself, as the pearls come in a dazzling multitude of silver, greens and blues. It’s a big business here, and you can purchase just the pearl, or opt for ones inlaid in bracelets, rings or necklaces. There are quality retailers in most hotels, or visit their shops in town for a slightly better price. Pearls take years to make, and are famously expensive, but we’ve been able to arrange for several hotels to offer our travelers ‘free’ $500 pearl pendants with stays 12 days or over.
The Cook Islands proudly call themselves the sea-borne descendants of their Polynesian kin, the Tahitians, but as a New Zealand protectorate, it lovingly blends New Zealand indigenous Maori culture and love of rugby with the flirtatious charm of Tahiti, and a dash of British colonial civility. There are almost nightly performances of their island culture exhibited at all of the hotels, along with slightly more genuine cultural village performances. Put on your best grass skirt and witness hip shaking, fire dancing and fantastic, tropical food.
Despite a long-forgotten history of cannibalism, the Cook Islands are one of the friendliest people on earth: ask anyone who’s been there! Constantly smiling, there’s hardly a reason not too, and after a few days there, you will actually have sore jaw muscles as you return the gesture. On the weekends, sit down for a cold beer with chatty locals, all across the island you will be constantly invited over to meet someone’s grandmother or kids, it’s so charming.
Religious or not, of any denomination, we recommend travelers checkout a few churches while in the Cooks, being a great snapshot of their real lives. Missionaries flocked to the island over a century ago, but the product has been dozens and dozens of different churches all competing to have the most fun. It’s lovely to witness hand-holding families wearing their Sunday best, singing on their way to or from church, or cycle past church doors flung open as arm-in-arm churchgoers sing and sway to music. For a treat, the first Sunday of every month see’s everyone wearing all white.
Seriously – it’s slow. Yes, you can get up to some adventure like 4wd adventures, deep-sea fishing or diving, but after a few days on the Cooks you’ll uncontrollably gear down. No one rushes about barking into cellphones or stresses in their daily-commute, here things move as pleasantly as the Pacific Ocean breeze.
Compare the Cooks to islands like Tahiti, Fiji, even Hawaii and you will find the best bang for your buck in all of the South Pacific. Here they’ve cultivated a lodging industry specializing in long-stays, often 28 days or more (months!). The hotels are small, and no one’s trying to squeeze an extra dollar out of their guests, as in the end they are the ones living in paradise!
It’s better than luxury, it’s unpretentiously exclusive!
There are no major hotel chains here, and most properties are locally owned, or owned by runaway New Zealanders, and here ‘personal’ service means you know your hotel staff’ children’s name. But make no mistake, here you have small hotels, pristine beaches, empty poolside sun-beds or the bartender all for yourself. No building is higher than the coconut trees, you will swear you’ve accidentally been the first to discover the Cook Islands.
For more travel ideas and Cook Islands information:
Here’s great deal on anyone looking to travel to the Cooks:
Limited time offer – for those in need of an Escape from winter right now:
For a limited time, Goway’s IslandEscapes is offering up to 50% savings on Cook Islands accommodation. Many hotels offer free nights, free meals, even free black pearls but probably the best deal available right now is with the luxury beachfront Crown Beach Resort and Spa. Stay 10 nights and pay only 5! This special can be doubled – stay 20 nights, pay only 10 or for the ultimate Snowbird vacation stay 30 nights, pay only 15! This deal is valid for select dates until 31 Mar ’14 (except Mar 5-10, or Mar 20-24, 2014) and then again from 01 Jan – 31 Mar ’15 but hurry as space is limited and this a genuine amazing deal. For more information visit our websites special page.