The Top Luxury Tours and Activities in the Cook Islands
It’s time to escape and indulge in the lavish experiences of the Cook Islands. From the turquoise blue lagoon of Aitutaki to verdant jungle spas of Rarotonga and even private jets to the islands beyond, there are unique and exclusive experiences to be found across the Cook Islands. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply treating yourself because you can, these most luxurious experiences in the Cook Islands are sure to enhance your Cook Islands getaway tenfold.
Before we get started, be sure to also open up The Complete Luxury Guide to the Cook Islands for more essential luxury getaway tips.
1. Cruise the World’s Most Beautiful Lagoon on Your Own Private Charter
Don’t settle for anything less than the most stunning lagoon in the South Pacific (and the world), the Aitutaki Lagoon. Here, swap group cruises and rigid schedules for a private charter to experience the famous Aitutaki Lagoon your way. There are several charters to choose from, with the most luxurious boat coming from Platinum Cruising offering private half-day and full-day charters for two people, the latter including lunch on the beach at One Foot Island. Alternatively, Teking Lagoon Tours provides private charters that include a barbecue lunch and plenty of snorkelling time. Finally, see the lagoon in a whole different light on a sunset cruise with Kutekute Island Tours & Transfers. Snorkel among beautiful coral, enjoy a relaxing float on a water hammock and indulge in a private sunset picnic. Compare more of your options in the 10 Best Lagoon Cruises in Aitutaki.
2. Unwind and Rejuvenate at the Cook Islands’ Stunning Resort Spas
When it comes to luxury, it’s hard to ignore the allure of the spas in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. A selection of resorts specialises in spa treatments, from the Vichy Showers of the Waterfall Spa at Rumours Luxury Villas which are unique on Rarotonga to the traditional Cook Islands massages at Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort‘s SpaPolynesia. There are far too many options to list here, so take a look at the 10 Best Places to Get a Massage in the Cook Islands to find your perfect place to unwind.
3. Be Treated to a Private Dinner on the Beach
One of the luxury experiences in the Cook Islands you can’t miss is a private dinner – of which, you have several lavish options. Choose a candlelit dinner in a private pavilion on the edge of the Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort or dine under a gorgeous decorated gazebo on the beach at Rarotonga’s Crown Beach Resort & Spa. There are many more indulgent private dining experiences to choose from, which we list further in the 8 Best Luxury Experiences on Rarotonga and 5 Best Luxury Experiences on Aitutaki.
4. Visit Aitutaki or Mitiaro Overnight on a Private Jet
For those on limited time who want to see some of the “real” Cook Islands, Island Hopper Vacations can organise the trip of a lifetime with their private jet packages. Fly from Rarotonga to Aitutaki on a private jet for up to seven of your nearest and dearest. The tour includes a private island tour and lagoon cruise, as well as a stay at the five-star Pacific Resort Aitutaki. Itineraries are customisable to include fishing or whale watching in the season.
Alternatively, private jet packages are also available to Mitiaro. The experience includes return flights in a private jet, a guide to accompany you throughout, airport transfers, one night at the Divine Retreat (not luxury accommodation but the most upscale guesthouse on the island), a private guided island tour, all meals and a crafting demonstration.
5. Get Some Retail Therapy (and Shop for the Black Pearls)
Many are surprised to find that a tiny island such as Rarotonga offers so many shopping opportunities! That’s mainly because the Cook Islands specialise in many unique crafts, with a highlight being black pearls – only farmed in two countries in the South Pacific. Woven fans, earrings and locally-crafted perfumes are also highlights on the shopping list. While there are shops scattered across the island, the main retail hubs are Avarua and the Punanga Nui Market (the latter open Saturdays). See shop recommendations and locations in The Guide to Shopping in the Cook Islands.
6. Have an Elevated Snorkelling Experience on a Private Tour
Sure, anyone can go snorkelling off the beaches of Rarotonga but not everyone knows where the best spots are, nor is it always safe without a guide. Cue guided snorkelling tours; not only do they take you to the most exclusive eco-systems but they come as private tours for a more intimate experience. Snorkel Cook Islands offers a three-hour private tour with VIP transfers to their private beach and high-quality snorkelling gear then concludes with a banquet of refreshments. Learn more about the tour on Viator and Tripadvisor. Alternatively, experience a private turtle swimming tour with Charlotte Piho Photography Tours, again, with more details on Viator and Tripadvisor. Compare the tours further in the 6 Best Snorkelling Tours in Rarotonga and 7 Best Turtle Swimming Tours in the Cook Islands.
7. Explore Historical Sites and Hidden Gems on a Private Island Tour
Soon after you arrive on Rarotonga, we recommend you not only become more familiar with the island but get as much out of the sights as possible on a private guided tour. Raro Tours offers a scenic island tour exclusive to you and your group with a drive down the ancient Ara Metua inland road, visiting historical maraes, the Mairie Nui Tropical Gardens, a shell-carving studio and spa product producer and many more hidden gems that many tourists miss. Alternatively, Cook Islands Tours offers private orientation tours of the island, taking you to interesting sights and pointing out all sorts of recommendations that you can benefit from throughout your trip. They also offer private historic walking tours of Avarua – which you can learn more about in the 8 Best Guided Walks in the Cook Islands.
8. Visit the Islands Less Travelled on an Island-Hopping Tour
With limited spaces on these once-in-a-lifetime trips to the outer Cook Islands that only take place four to five times a year, you bet that the island-hopping excursions with Island Hopper Vacations are one of the most luxurious things to do in the Cook Islands. Explore the lesser-visited islands of the Southern Cook Islands on the “Southern Group Adventure Package”. Departing from Rarotonga, this island-hopping trip takes you to Mangaia, Mauke, Mitiaro and Atiu. And if you thought they were remote, wait until you reach the rarely-visited Northern Group on the “Trailblazers of the Northern Atolls” tour. You’ll be taken on a journey from Rarotonga to Pukapuka, Manihiki and then Penrhyn over five days where the flights are in a jet exclusively for your tour group! Both tours include round-trip flights, all accommodation, all meals, a tour guide, airport transfers and more. Find out more about these exclusive experiences in the 10 Best Island-Hopping Tours in the Cook Islands.
9. Indulge in a Gourmet Island Platter Anywhere on Rarotonga
Sure, we could list all of the more upmarket restaurants here, which we do in the 5 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the Cook Islands, but for something a little more “unique”, we suggest a gourmet platter delivered to you on Rarotonga with Island Platters. Whether you want an extra special breakfast on your villa’s deck or a romantic picnic on the beach, Island Platters can curate a stunningly presented and tasty platter right in front of you using fresh local ingredients. See more unique food endeavours in the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in the Cook Islands.
10. Stay in a Luxury Villa or Resort
Admittedly, most of Rarotonga and Aitutaki‘s accommodations offer casual luxury by simply providing a stunning tropical environment. Where you can truly experience five-star over-the-top luxury are at the island’s luxury villas, resorts and boutique accommodations. From villas with a luxury spa on-site to beachfront resort rooms with a private plunge pool, there are plenty of indulgent choices in Raro and Aitutaki. Choose from the most lavish in our 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in the Cook Islands.
More Luxury Experiences in the Cook Islands
Now that you know some of the most luxurious experiences in the Cook Islands, how are you going to put them all together? Our luxury itineraries can help:
- Cook Islands Luxury Itinerary: 14 Days
- Cook Islands Luxury Itinerary: 10 Days
- Cook Islands Luxury Itinerary: 7 Days
- Cook Islands Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days
- Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 3 Days
Finally, anything we might have missed can be found in The Complete Luxury Guide to the Cook Islands.