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Cook Islands

Video courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism

The Cook Islands

A visit to the Cook Islands is a visit to paradise. This collection of South Sea islands has its own very special magic. The scent of frangipani lingers in the air, clear turquoise waters gently stroke bleached shores, the wind whispers and rustles through the waving fronds of the coconut palms and the Cook Islanders themselves are friendliness itself, greeting all visitors with a warm “Kia Orana”. The pace of life here is easy, a magical atmosphere that invites relaxation.

The best kept secret in the South Pacific is the Cook Islands. Located directly south of the Hawaiian Islands and approximately 1 hour’s flight from Tahiti. Its in the same time zone as Hawaii.
The Cook Islands are made up of 15 islands scattered over 2.5 million square miles of ocean. The two main islands visited are Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Another beautiful outer island to explore is Aitu. All but two islands in the group, are accessible by air, and are frequented by visitors.

Sports activities are numerous on Rarotonga. Try fishing, golf, tennis, hiking, jogging, horseback riding, lawn bowls, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming and windsurfing. You can explore on your own or take a guided bicycle or Buggy tour. Be sure to pay a visit to Avarua. There, you’ll discover colorful shops, historic buildings and casual but excellent restaurants.

Nightlife is lively in Rarotonga, with clubs and pubs offering dancing, drinking and fun ’till 2am some nights. The Cook Islanders are among the South Pacific’s most lively practitioners of native dance..not to be missed.

Around Rarotonga, Certified divers can do one or two morning dive excursions. Boat dives include all equipment, dive computers and light refreshments between dives. With over 30 dive sites there is a variety of terrain and marine life at different parts of the reef. For safety, the maximum depths of 5 to 30 meters, visibility is 20 to 60m and dive time around 45 minutes. Aitutaki Diving is a more intimate experience as the island is less visited than Rarotonga and one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world. It is very small as well, so you can stay in any location with easy access to the Dive Center departure. It consists of a main island, a turquoise lagoon and a surrounding barrier reef.
The lagoon’s waters teem with marine life, including rays, bonefish and turtles. Boats run to small uninhabited islands called motu, including tiny Tapuaetai, known for its white sand beaches.
Dining: Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook islands, is 20 km around. There are over 20 restaurants and bars on the island and most accommodation facilities are within walking distance. Dining ranges from International Cuisine – Chinese, Italian, Indian and Continental – to mouthwatering local delicacies. Ingredients used in most restaurants are imported from New Zealand. Dining in the Cooks’ is exceptionally good & of exceptional value – What’s on the menu is what diners pay. There is no tax to add on and tipping is not customary in the Cook Islands, so it’s great value.
Accommodations: There is a broad range of accommodation choices, from Hotels & Resorts of international standard; Self Catering establishments (with cooking facilities)and Budget properties and Guest Houses (with shared bathroom facilities). And new is an Eco Retreat offering Tropical Ares and luxury Safari Tents.

Depending on how many people are traveling with you and if you seek a beachfront villa to house everyone, or stand-alone boutique hotel, we can make recommendations.

Our favorite properties in Rarotonga are: Nautilus Resort, Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa, Crown Beach Resort, Little Polynesian, Pacific Resort, TeVakaroa Villas and Muri Beachcomber.
On Aitutaki – Aitutaki Lagoon Resort, Tamanu and The Pacific Resort where you witness the best sunsets.

It is generally hot throughout the year, although the trade winds provide some moderating influence. Rainfall is heaviest in Rarotonga, while the northern atolls tend to be drier.
Rain clouds usually hang around Rarotonga’s mountain peaks, even during the dry and coolest months -June to August, while November to March marks the warmer, more humid season, and also has the highest rainfall with occasional tropical showers expected. This is also the cyclone season.
The dryer months from April to November.
In short, there is no bad time weather-wise to visit the Cook Islands, although the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October usually provide the best combination of sunshine and warmth.
Air New Zealand is the only carrier with direct service from LAX to Rarotonga. The flight takes about 9 hours. (Late evening departures from the West Coast and by sunrise the next morning you can be settled into your bungalow just steps from a cotton-white beach and a crystal clear lagoon teeming with colorful fish)

Schedule – (subject to change)
• Los Angeles to Rarotonga on NZ19, departing at 11:30pm Saturday, Arrive at 6:30am Sunday
• Rarotonga to Los Angeles on NZ18, departing at 11:50pm Friday, Arrive at 12:35pm Saturday

We recommend a Southbound stop in the Cook’s enroute to Auckland, New Zealand or to Sydney, Australia.

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