08 Jun 2017

What Gives the Cook Islands its Paradise Status?

 

It’s no secret that the islands within the South Pacific offer some of the most stunning beaches, aquatic life and lush gardens—they’re always referred to as ‘paradise.’  Here’s why I believe the Cook Islands offer a unique experience in this paradise!

 

1. The Islands’ beautiful terrain – Like Hawaii 50 years ago, there is lush green vegetation virtually everywhere.  The natural beauty of ‘The Cooks is its jungle-clad mountains (perfect for great storytelling hikes or cycle tours!), the flora and fauna and medicinal plants, as well as the island’s status of having no building taller than a coconut tree showing off this very traditional island-y look-and-feel.  Getting around the main island of Rarotonga is easy as there's just one road that covers the full circumference (we recommend renting a scooter to whip around the island!).

 

2.     Let’s not forget about the water! – The islands boast awe-inspiring white-sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters—often secluded beaches where you’ll find yourself on more than one occasion on your own beach!  More than just gorgeous beaches however, take a dip in the shallow waters (safe and protected lagoons, good for children to play in) or go snorkelling and see an abundance of aquatic life! There are water activities that suit everyone in ‘The Cooks; windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, paddleboarding and even cruises stop there (The Paul Gauguin cruise offers an itinerary that visits the Cook Islands).

 

3.     Visit a neighboring island – Looking for more paradise?  Hop on a 45 minute flight from Rarotonga to what many call ‘the most beautiful island in the world’, the super-secluded Aitutaki island!  There’s also the island of Atiu, with its population of only 400 residents and known for being a natural playground with its ancient and unspoilt land and surrounds, and some interesting bird life.

 

4.     Paradise begins before you arrive – sometimes the journey itself makes a difference in travelling.  The only airline from North America at this time that flies direct to the Cook Islands is the award-winning Air New Zealand.  En-route to paradise, you need to be as comfortable as possible:  the modern fleet of Air New Zealand offers more space, more choice, and more comfort along with friendly, warm, and welcoming Kiwi hospitality.  The currency in the Cook Islands is the New Zealand Dollar, currently at-par with the Canadian dollar, making purchase conversions mostly hassle-free.  Unique local coins/notes from the Cook Islands, as well as their stamps, are sought after by collectors worldwide.

 

5.     History, climate and welcoming smiles – Hospitality and smiles come naturally to locals.  The locals enjoy splendour and big ceremonies; music and dance and have a love for sharing their ancient Polynesian heritage with travellers.   The Islands are blessed with a pleasant warm and sunny climate all year round (average of 26C).  On the same timezone as Hawaii, you’ll jump right into island time quite easily.  Accompanying beautiful weather and a virtually jetlag-free holiday, is the fact that there are no venomous insects or snakes in the Cook Islands.  Don’t forget to visit the colour stalls of the Punanga Nui market, where you can purchase fresh produce, delicacies, art, jewellery, handicrafts, and souvenirs.

 

 

Written by: Ryan (Destination Specialist)  

No matter the destination, I think it is a definite must to experience the local history and culture. Whether it’s a guided tour or self-directed travels, experiencing local dishes, events and places of interest with the locals are ways in which we can travel authentically.