10-Day Honeymoon/Romantic Trip to the Cook Islands: Including Rarotonga and Aitutaki!
What better backdrop for romance than the turquoise lagoons, soft sands and lush rainforests of the Cook Islands? And with 10 whole days to enjoy it all, you’re in for a treat. Whether you’re seeking an idyllic start to the rest of your lives together or simply a couples’ getaway with elevated romance, this Cook Islands honeymoon and romance itinerary for 10 days is sure to inspire the perfect romantic retreat. You have two contrasting but exceptionally beautiful islands included in this itinerary: the cosmopolitan Polynesian paradise of Rarotonga and the serene lagoon of Aitutaki.
While you’re here, don’t forget to explore The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to the Cook Islands; the couples’ bible to the Cooks!
Overview: Cook Islands Honeymoon and Romance 10-Day Itinerary
How to Get Around the Cook Islands in 10 Days
This Cook Islands honeymoon and romance itinerary for 10 days includes travel on two islands, as well as between these islands. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get around Rarotonga and the Cook Islands in 10 days.
Road Transport in the Cook Islands
The first road transport you’ll encounter on each of the islands you visit is your airport transfer. On Rarotonga, book this in advance with one of the airport shuttle/private transfer companies or your chosen accommodation. All your options are outlined in the 8 Best Airport Transfers. On Aitutaki, airport transfers are provided by your accommodation.
For travelling on each of the islands, car and scooter hire offers the most flexibility and convenience. Get advice on car hire from What You Need to Hire a Car in the Cook Islands or for renting a scooter, check out the 10 Tips for Riding a Scooter in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands. Alternatively, there is a very frequent and affordable bus service around Rarotonga, while taxi services are available for everything in between on both Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
Interisland Transport in the Cook Islands
This itinerary has you travelling between Rarotonga and Aitutaki via domestic flight. Flights are approximately 50 minutes, while approximate airfares can be found in our guide, Domestic Flights in the Cook Islands.
For all of your transport options across the islands, including bicycle hire, charter flights and more, check out the Cook Islands Transport Guide: 15 Best Ways to Get Around the Cook Islands.
Day 1 – Arrival on Rarotonga
Welcome to Rarotonga and the start of your 10-day romantic escape! After the arrivals process of going through customs and biosecurity, you’ll step outside of the arrivals hall to the Cook Island’s traditional greeting with a floral ‘ei (neck garland) and perhaps a glass of bubbles if opting for a private airport transfer with Raro Tours. Why not make your arrival extra special for a special occasion?
Since it’s your first day in the Cook Islands, take it easy and get settled at your chosen honeymoon accommodation. After check-in, relax by the pool, have a paddle with the kayaks provided at your resort and transition to “Raro time”. We’ll go over a few things you can do on Rarotonga tomorrow.
Rarotonga Romantic Accommodations
- Sea Change Villas
- Little Polynesian
- Manuia Beach Resort
- Crown Beach Resort & Spa
- Te Vakaroa Villas
- Nautilus Resort
- Magic Reef Beachfront Bungalows
- Rumours Luxury Villas & Spa
- Muri Beach Hideaway
- Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach
Discover what are our top picks in the 10 Most Romantic Wedding & Honeymoon Resorts in Rarotonga.
For your first evening, make things easy for yourselves by choosing the reputable restaurant of your chosen accommodation; Little Polynesian, Manuia Beach Resort, Crown Beach Resort & Spa, Nautilus Resort and Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach all have romantic restaurants. Otherwise, these resort restaurants are open for non-guests too. Find out more about them in The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours.
Days 2-3 – Adventure in Raro
Early into their trip is when most couples tend to have the most energy and adrenaline to take on some of Rarotonga’s more adventurous activities together. With that in mind, take these couple of days to tick off some items from your Raro bucket list.
Option 1: Scuba Diving
A romantic adventure awaits in the depths of Rarotonga’s volcanic underwater world, which you can buddy up on a scuba diving trip to explore if you’re both certified. If you’re not certified, however, nothing strengthens the bond quite like learning a new skill together! Find out more in Learn to Dive in the Cook Islands: A Guide to Scuba Diving Certifications.
Option 2: Island Hike
For adventures on dry land, tackle one of Raro’s hikes together, whether it’s the half-day mission of the Cross Island Trek or the romantic mountain hike of the Arore Trek at sunrise. More details on each can be found in the 10 Best Walks on Rarotonga.
Option 3: Turtle Swimming
A popular underwater alternative for couples is swimming with sea turtles. Whether it’s the sea scooter safari with Ariki Adventures (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or the freedom turtle swimming session with Snorkel Cook Islands (on Viator or Tripadvisor), the adventure of swimming with these rare and ancient creatures is unforgettable. Compare turtle tours in the 7 Best Turtle Swimming Tours in Rarotonga.
Option 4: Something Else…
And there are oh-so-many more adventures to choose from, from doubling up in a 4WD buggy to teaming up in a kayak on the Muri Lagoon. Compare all of your most romantic options in the 16 Most Romantic Things to Do on Rarotonga for Couples, as well as adventures in 10 Best Adventure Activities in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
No doubt that you will work up quite an appetite over these two days, so make at least one of your dining experiences the Progressive Dinner Tour with Cook Islands Tours. You’ll be transported from home to home to indulge in three courses of authentic Cook Islander cuisine along with charming hospitality. Learn more about it on Viator, Tripadvisor and the 11 Best Foodie Experiences on Rarotonga.
Another evening, feel your toes in the sand while experiencing some fine dining at On The Beach (OTB) Restaurant & Sunset Bar at the Manuia Beach Resort. Their three-course dinner offers a seamless transition into fine dining complete with a romantic location on a sunset beach. Find out more about it in The Best Places to Eat on Rarotonga: 10 Best Restaurants.
Day 4 – Relaxation in Raro
Don’t forget to take the time to relax together too. There’s much joy to be had simply being in one another’s company in a beautiful place. You can “up” the relaxation, however, with the following experiences.
Option 1: Couples’ Massage
Soothe the senses and rejuvenate together with a couples’ massage. You’ll struggle to find a spa that doesn’t do couples’ massages on Rarotonga between the couples’ treatments at the Waterfall Spa of Rumours Luxury Villas and the beachfront massages of the Muri Beach Club Spa. Compare all of the spas available for a relaxing retreat in the 10 Best Spas in Rarotonga.
Option 2: Night SUP
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a romantic endeavour no matter the hour, but at night with your SUP’s LED lights illuminating the lagoon waters beneath you… Oh boy! Both Ariki Adventures and KiteSUP offer wonderful night SUP tours. Learn more about the experiences in the 5 Best Places for Stand-Up Paddleboarding.
Option 3: Relax at Your Villa
Finally, Rarotonga’s romantic retreats are the experts in effortless relaxation with plenty of lounging spaces, serene swimming pools, hammocks on the beach and SUP boards and kayaks to enjoy a paddle on the lagoon. Get more inspiration for ways to relax from the 10 Most Relaxing Things to Do in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Rarotonga spoils you for choice with romantic eateries, from the fine dining Mediterranean medley of Antipodes to the adults-only ambience of Little Polynesian Restaurant. Have a peruse of the 5 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands or The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours for more details and ideas.
Day 5 – Rarotonga to Aitutaki
Check out of your villa today, take an airport transfer and then check in for your flight at the domestic terminal of Rarotonga Airport. It’s time to fly to your next exciting Cook Islands destination, Aitutaki – see our Aitutaki Transport Guide for more details about getting there.
After a 50-minute flight and a scenic approach over the lagoon, you’ll meet your accommodation representative at Aitutaki Airport (complete with floral ‘eis, of course) who will transfer you to your chosen accommodation for check-in.
Aitutaki Romantic Accommodations
- Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort
- Etu Moana Boutique Beach Villas
- Pacific Resort Aitutaki
- Tai Marino
- Abera’s Aitutaki Villas
- Aitutaki Escape
- Tai Roto Bay Beach Villas
For more details on our top recommendations, take a look at the 10 Most Romantic Wedding & Honeymoon Resorts on Aitutaki.
Like your first day in Raro, make things simple with dinner at your resort, whether it’s Polynesian cuisine at Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort, pizza by the pool or a barbecue on the beach at Etu Moana Boutique Beach Villas or fine dining at Pacific Resort Aitutaki. If you’re not staying at any of these accommodations, well, they’ll be happy to have you in regardless.
Check out The Food Guide to Aitutaki: Places to Eat & Food Tours to learn more about the resort restaurants mentioned above and more.
Day 6 – Tour the Aitutaki Lagoon
You can’t visit Aitutaki and not explore its paradisal lagoon, so make this your top priority to experience together!
Option 1: Lagoon Cruise
One way to explore the lagoon, that’s also the most cost-effective, is a lagoon cruise. There are several to choose from, from the small-group adventure of Teking Lagoon Cruise and Kia Orana Cruise to the more relaxing and appropriate Polynesian-style boat of The Vaka Cruise. Either way, you’ll enjoy a day hopping from one uninhabited islet to the other, snorkelling among tropical fish, giant clams and coral, and indulging in an island lunch. Find out more about what makes each cruise unique in the 10 Best Lagoon Cruises on Aitutaki.
Option 2: Private Charter
Make your experience of the Aitutaki Lagoon more intimate with one of the private lagoon charters. Platinum Cruising offers the most luxurious boat for your journey to the infamous One Foot Island, while Black Pearl Charters provides eco-centric private snorkelling tours. Alternatively, we highly recommend Kutekute Tours & Transfers‘ private sunset charter with island-hopping, snorkelling, a hammock float and a sunset picnic on an uninhabited island.
Find out more about the best cruises for couples in the 10 Most Romantic Things to Do on Aitutaki for Couples and 5 Best Luxury Experiences on Aitutaki.
If you’re joining a lagoon cruise today then a substantial lunch is included, while the private charter with Kutekute will sort you out for dinner. Therefore, if you need a bite to eat for lunch, head to Ootu Beach where you’ll find the Koru Cafe and its unmissable “Mega Mezze” sharing platter. If you need dinner plans, on the other hand, take Koru Cafe up on the offer of a “BBQ Pack” delivered to your accommodation so you can spruce up your own Aitutaki barbie!
Find out more about Koru Cafe in The Best Places to Eat on Aitutaki: 10 Best Restaurants on Aitutaki.
Day 7 – Self-Drive Tour of Aitutaki
There’s much to explore on the main island of Aitutaki, so either rent a car or, more endearingly, rent a scooter and take a road trip around Aitutaki’s quiet and scenic roads. Rental vehicles can be delivered to your accommodation. If you’re riding a scooter, don’t forget to pick up a visitor’s license from the Arutanga Police Station – this will be handy if you want to ride a scooter on Rarotonga later in your trip.
Once you’re behind the wheel/your arms are wrapped around your hubby on a scooter, take a tiki tour around the island and stop by Maunga Pu for a hike to a scenic viewpoint and the Piraki Lookout for more gorgeous views, head to Base One beach for a snorkel, enjoy some lunch at the island’s more remote cafes and much more! Just check out A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Aitutaki for a full itinerary.
During your tour around Aitutaki, stop at the Avatea Cafe for its charming al fresco ambience and contemporary island cuisine in a secluded spot near Tautu. Alternatively, pick up a takeaway from any one of the cheap eats on Aitutaki and take it to one of the charming picnic spots, like the Arataki Lookout in Arutanga or Vaipae Wharf. Get more dining inspiration from the 9 Best Cafes & Takeaways on Aitutaki – they’ll work for dinner too!
Day 8 – Relaxation in Aitutaki
Enjoy Aitutaki your preferred way, whether it’s getting back on the lagoon or taking it easy at your resort.
Option 1: His and Hers Massage
That’s right, Aitutaki also gives you the opportunity to share an experience of the senses together. Aitutaki is home to several resort spas, with both the Tiare Spa at the Pacific Resort Aitutaki and SpaPolynesia at the Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort offering treatments for couples. Compare them, as well as in-villa spa options in the 5 Best Spas in Aitutaki.
Option 2: Uninhabited Island Experience
If you can’t get enough of the lagoon, and we can’t blame you, enjoy the experience of getting marooned on an uninhabited island together by taking a water taxi to one of the islets. Spend the day snorkelling, picnicking, relaxing and exploring a stunning piece of paradise. How to get to these islands can be found in the Water Taxis in Aitutaki: How to Use, Cost & More.
Option 3: Something Else…
For more relaxation, Aitutaki’s romantic accommodations are all kitted out with watersports rentals to enjoy the lagoon at your own pace. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, however, swimming with whales in the season or scuba diving with turtles certainly make for memorable moments together. Get more inspiration for what to do during these three days on Aitutaki from the 10 Most Romantic Things to Do on Aitutaki for Couples.
Make tonight utterly romantic with a private dining experience on the beach. Choose a candlelit dinner in a private pavilion on the edge of the Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort or dine under the stars on a secluded private deck at Aitutaki Escape. A private barefoot beach dinner can also be organised at Etu Moana with a dining area decorated with flowers and Pacific cuisine served at sunset.
For alternative restaurant dinners, check out The Food Guide to Aitutaki: Places to Eat & Food Tours.
Day 9 – Fly to Rarotonga + Self-Drive Tour
Check out of your accommodation this morning and a representative will transport you to Aitutaki Airport. Then, say goodbye to the quieter side of the Cook Islands as you fly back to Rarotonga.
You have the opportunity today to try a new romantic retreat on Rarotonga, so take your pick from our recommendations below and get ready to check in after your airport transfer. Either spend some time at your newfound resort/villa or, if you have itchy feet, get a car or scooter delivered to your accommodation and enjoy a self-guided trip around the island together.
Head to Avarua to enjoy a spot of shopping at the black pearl jewellers, fashion outlets and especially the Punanga Nui Market if it’s a Saturday morning. Then continue around the island clockwise, checking out the historical sites of the Matavera backroads, stopping by the shores of Muri Beach, enjoying the gorgeous surroundings of the Mairie Nui Gardens, and going for a paddle and a bite to eat at Charlie’s Cafe & Beach Hire. We have a full itinerary you can follow in A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Rarotonga.
Alternative Romantic Accommodation on Rarotonga
- Ikurangi Eco Retreat
- Motu Beachfront Art Villas
- Ocean Escape Resort
- Charlie’s Villa Pouara
- JJ’s Retreat
- Muri Beach Club Hotel
- Raela Villas
- Rarotonga Beach Bungalows
- Serenity Villas Rarotonga
- Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa
- Pacific Resort Rarotonga
Learn more about these accommodations in the 10 Most Romantic Wedding & Honeymoon Resorts in Rarotonga and 20 Best Resorts on Rarotonga.
An extra special way to enjoy your final night in the Cook Islands is to get a gourmet platter delivered to your villa or any location across Rarotonga – even on the beach! Island Platters can arrange a phenomenal spread for you and your loved one to enjoy away from the world… Find out more in the 8 Best Luxury Experiences on Rarotonga.
Alternatively, go out with a bang at one of the famous “island nights” complete with cultural dancing and an “umukai” buffet awash in Cook Islander cuisine! See the 7 Best Island Nights in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands to compare all of your options.
Again, more dining recommendations can be found in The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours.
Day 10 – Departure
Enjoy your final lazy breakfast by the beach or pool before checking out of your accommodation and making your way to Rarotonga International Airport for departure.
Remember to arrive at Rarotonga Airport a couple of hours before your scheduled departure so that you have enough time to check in, go through security and browse the duty-free. Rarotonga International Airport’s duty-free stores are worth the time for a peruse with local ‘eis (necklaces), wooden carvings, perfumes, ukuleles, coffee beans and more. Check out the 12 Best Souvenirs from Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for shopping inspiration.
And it’s “ka kite” from the Cook Islands!
Alternative Cook Islands 10-Day Itineraries
Is this 10-day honeymoon and romance itinerary for the Cook Islands not quite speaking to you? How about checking out our alternative itineraries for 10 days:
- Cook Islands Island-Hopping Itinerary: 10 Days
- Cook Islands Luxury Itinerary: 10 Days
- Cook Islands Adults-Only Itinerary: 10 Days
- Cook Islands Food Itinerary: 10 Days
- Cook Islands Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days
- Cook Islands Family Itinerary: 10 Days
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed from this Cook Islands honeymoon itinerary, you’re likely to find it in The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to the Cook Islands.