One hears the words “Cook Islands” and immediately thinks of clear turquoise waters, volcanic peaks, palm-fringed beaches and a feeling of being cast away into another world. These 15 islands lay between the French Polynesia and Samoa, oozing warm and welcoming hospitality. It proves difficult to choose what the best things are to do here, as those looking for adventure will find it on the most remote of these islands while others will head straight towards the islands of Raratonga and Aitutaki, the two most popular islands. Whether you are looking to shop for local perfumes, snorkel in clear lagoons or hike in the luscious scenery, the Cook Islands offers it all. Here are our 7 favorite things to see and do in the Cook Islands.
Aitutaki’s most love attraction is its large picture perfect lagoon with perfectly clear water that shines a brilliant turquoise color. There are 21 islands that dot the outer edge of the lagoon, which can be visited on cruises or by taking a guided tour. Kayaking is really the way to enjoy these tiny islets though, allowing you to get up close and personal to them. Maina is the small island in the southwest corner of the lagoon that is home to a beautiful sandbar often referred to as “Honeymoon Island”. It is here where snorkel enthusiasts should head as the waters are teeming with colorful fish.
This is one of the best ways to explore Rarotonga’s lush scenery and although the hike does take about 4 hours, it is completely worth it. The hike starts off in the dense forest from the north coast and winds its way up to the base of “the Needle”, a steel bald rock which points straight up into the air. Climbing the needle is only for the serious rock climbers and other hikers can enjoy the beautiful views over the coast. The trail then continues past Wigmore Falls which are beautiful after a heavy rainfall with a pool at their base. The trail takes hikers all the way to the opposite end of the island providing incredible scenery throughout.
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