Deep in the heart of the South Pacific, you'll find the 15 islands that make up the Cook Islands. Technically, Cook Island residents are New Zealand citizens, but the islands are their own self-governing parliamentary democracy. With a mix of tropical sights, outdoor adventures, and year-round warm temperatures, the Cook Islands are paradise to visit! Resort hotels in the Cook Islands can be found sprawled along a number of idyllic white sand beaches, one of the main reasons that visitors make their way to this far corner of the globe. Many of these resorts offer individual beach bungalows with beautiful sea views. If you only speak English, you're in luck. English and the traditional Cook Island Maori language are both spoken here.
Top Things about the Cook Islands
Aside from the sense of peace and tranquillity that visitors can enjoy wherever they are in the Cook Islands, the tropical climate and beaches are the main reasons to holiday here. If you're looking for complete relaxation, head over to the island of Aitutaki. Only about 2,000 people call Aitutaki home - meaning that you will practically have the reef, lagoons, and palm-tree lined beaches all to yourself! Even the more popular, tourist oriented beaches on the islands are not crowded when compared to similar beaches in other parts of the world. Not surprisingly, no matter which island you're on, you can take part in some great fishing. In fact, the Cook Islands are home to great game fishing. Here, you can catch Marlin and Mahi Mahi year-round!
Seafood plays a big role in the menus here. Adding to the tropical ambiance, many of the traditional dishes here come with sauce that's made from fresh fruits. Many of the island's natives are fishermen, and their daily catch ends up on the menu at the various Cook Island hotels and local restaurants by evening; fabulous local seafood dishes can be found throughout the islands.
If you really want to get the "lay of the land" in the Cook Islands, take one of the popular lagoon cruises. Some of the most popular leave from Muri. Onboard, you'll get to see everything from both the deck and through a glass-bottom boat! If you want to get up close and personal with the sights, you're welcome to go snorkelling during most cruises, or you could try your hand at deep sea diving after a lesson or two from a local expert.
Best Cities to Visit in the Cook Islands
There are no real cities in the Cook Islands but the most developed area, Raratonga, is the largest island and the country's capital; and it's also the main hub of activity. It offers great swimming and diving along a huge coral reef. It's also home to jungles and mountains - so you can experience a little bit of everything! Visitors to the Cook Islands can learn more about Raratonga's history with a tour of some of the island's main historical sites, or a trip to the Te Vara Nui village, where guests can eat local delicacies while being entertained by traditional dancing and music. Highland Paradise is a mountain village that is open to tourists where visitors can learn about the history of the area as well as the local folklore, relax in the village's extensive gardens, and see local music and dance demonstrations.
Hotels in the Cook Islands
Most of the available accommodation in the Cook Islands is in the form of resort-style complexes located either directly on or near one of the many beaches. Some of these complexes offer beachfront bungalows which have been designed to fit in perfectly with the local environment. These Cook Island hotels range in price depending on their location and what amenities they offer. There are also some smaller, locally-run hotels and guesthouses which cater for travellers who prefer a cheap alternative.