06 Sep 2018

Islands You Must Visit... in the Cook Islands


With a pristine beauty that rivals the more famous South Pacific islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora, the 15 islands that comprise the Cook Islands offer not only sparkling white-sand beaches to remote-beach seeking travellers, but the islands offer this untouched, unspolied old world charm. More accessible than you might think, award-winning Air New Zealand flies direct from North America to Cook Islands.


1. Mitiaro

This island is known for perhaps having some of the most beautiful of all the underground caves and pools to be found in the Cooks.  An underground water reserve, Vai Nauri , is believed to have healing powers and is a definite must-visit!  Te Pitakare is another underground freshwater chamber that is used even today for drinking water. While bathing is not allowed in either of these swimming holes, along the island’s sandy coastal track you’ll find tiny coves of pretty and secluded sandy beaches for a quick dip in the sea.


2. Aitutaki Lagoon

The island of Aitutaki is 45 minutes by air from Rarotonga and ranks as the second most-visited of the Cook Islands, but its atmosphere is more laid back and even less commercialized than the mainland. The Aitutaki Lagoon is idyllic and has often been considered one of the most magnificent lagoons in the world, with its luminous turquoise water, colourful marine life and enchanting 15 palm-covered motu that surround the island, some of which can be kayaked to or visited by boat tour.


3. Tapuaetai (One Foot) Island

Tapuaetai, or One Foot Island, is one of the most visited motu.  It is so small that a visitor can walk around the entire island in 20 minutes!  Fringed by coconut palm trees arched over crystal blue water and a perfect white-sand beach, it also provides some incredible views of the Aitutaki Lagoon from it’s south eastern position. Don’t forget to visit their tiny post office to get your passport stamped.


4. Atiu Island

Atiu Island is the third largest island of the Cook Islands group and yet it’s about half the size of the mainland of Rarotonga. Birdlovers will marvel at the many species of birds on this island—there are more birds here than on any of the other islands, including some of the rarest bird species in the world!  This secluded beach offers 28 small, virtually unvisited, coral sand beaches and the island is surrounded by a reef sprinkled with a variety of caves to explore.



Written by: Vanessa (Destination Specialist) 

I’ve lived in gorgeous Rarotonga, Cook Islands for a year in 1998 and it’s still such an untouched destination 20 years later.  I love to help travellers to ‘The Cooks as I know the islands like they’re my home—because at one point this destination was my home!