05 December 2013
This is my fourth trip to the Cook Islands and I feel very fortunate! Although I’ve been here before I am still learning new things about this little island group that lies deep in the South Pacific. The sun had recently risen shining its fresh morning light over the mountain, warming up the island instantly. The airport has not changed in all my visits to the Cooks either – There is no air bridge; this is very much ‘old school’.
The Air New Zealand 767 parks right in front of the arrivals area, just steps to the tarmac, a short stroll over to the terminal. This time I decided to pop in for some duty free at the little duty free store before passport control. Papa Jake was there again (I remember him from previous visits) in the arrivals area playing his Ukeleile to welcome all the international passengers into Rarotonga. He is there for every international arrival and departure. Apparently he has never missed a flight yet in over 18 years. I actually look forward to seeing him when I arrive into the Cooks now.
Leaving the secure area with luggage in toe, a friendly Cook Islander greets you and then points you into the right direction for your transfer company, who are equally friendly and welcoming, usually with a fresh frangipani lei. Now the sense of smell comes in to play. These fresh frangipanis have a sweet smell that will stay with you during your time in the Cooks and will continue to remind you of the Cooks forever after.
No matter where on the island you are staying, the transfer will be no more than 30 minutes. It is important to note, that even if you do stop in for the Duty Free purchase, your transfer will wait for you to exit the secure area. I ended up in a lineup to go through the customs; I had a very short wait for the transfer to get going. Feeling a little bad to make people wait for me, but quietly smug that I had my 2 litres of duty free to last me the next three weeks.
Within one hour of touch down, I had arrived at my resort, the simply stunning Muri Beach Club, checked into my hotel and had my beach starved toes in the sand with the warm Muri Beach Lagoon water gently splashing against my shins. I had arrived!
Written by Jason (Destination Specialist)