The Ultimate Way to Relax in the Cook Islands
Why is “Rest & Relaxation” the number one reason people come to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands? Well, if the stunning tropical islands, soft sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons were not a relaxing enough environment, Cook Islanders just have a knack for helping you completely unwind. It’s a way of life here. There are many ways to help you forget about any stresses that you might have left back home. This is your time, so enjoy it with these relaxing things to do in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands.
1. Soothe the Senses with an Island Spa Treatment
Let’s begin with one of the most relaxing things to do in Rarotonga and Aitutaki; indulging in a soothing spa treatment. From traditional Polynesian methods to familiar international massage techniques, there is a wide range of spa and massage services across the resorts of Rarotonga and Aitutaki. While there are far too many to list here, you’ll find all you need in the 10 Best Places to Get a Massage in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Location: Rarotonga and Aitutaki. See spa locations in the link above.
2. Join a SUP Yoga Class
No experience is necessary to enjoy a relaxing session of stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga on the Muri Lagoon. Join KiteSUP for a 1h30mins group session or a private session where you’ll paddle out to the shores of a private island for a truly serene floating yoga class. You’ll be taught how to paddle the SUP, while yoga poses are beginner-friendly. That’s not to say that there’s no room for more challenging poses – they make for fun shots! Mat yoga sessions are also available with KiteSUP at the Te Ara Museum or enjoy a private mat session at your accommodation. See the 5 Best Places to Experience Yoga in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for more information.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), Muri (opposite LBV Bakery & Cafe), east side of Rarotonga.
3. Indulge in a Wellness and Yoga Retreat
With gorgeous sandy shores and clear turquoise waters, Rarotonga and Aitutaki certainly set an endearing scene for wellness and yoga retreats. That’s why you’ll find several retreats taking place between the two islands several times a year with daily yoga and meditation sessions, revitalising meals and other island activities included. Learn all about the Cook Islands’ retreats in The Guide to Retreats in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Yoga, Wellness & More.
Location: Rarotonga and Aitutaki. See retreat locations in the link above.
4. Soothe the Skin in the Sulphur Pools of Vai Marere
The only sulphur pool in the Cook Islands, Vai Marere is known among the locals of Mitiaro for its healing minerals. Bathe in the healing waters yourself after a 10-minute walk from the island’s main village, Mangarei. It looks small from the roadside, but as you go down the concrete stairs, the cave opens up into a relatively large cavern with stalactites hanging from the ceiling. There are many more relaxing experiences to be found on this lesser-visited atoll of the Cook Islands, so discover more about this destination for yourself in the 15 Best Things to Do on Mitiaro. You’ll also find other islands with cave pools listed in the 10 Best Caves in the Cook Islands.
Location: Just off the cross-island road, approximately 200m/219 yards (10-minute walk) from Mangarei, east side of Mitiaro.
5. Enjoy the Spiritual Experience of a Cook Islands’ Church Service
Whether you’re religious or not, there’s no denying that the melodic harmonies reverberating through the islands’ churches on a Sunday are a relaxing and spiritual experience. On a Sunday morning, don your most church-appropriate attire (cover knees and shoulders) and head to one of the churches across the Cook Islands, typically with a 10am service. For recommendations on which churches to go to, check out the 10 Best Churches in the Cook Islands to Experience as a Visitor.
Location: All of the islands of the Cook Islands. Check out the link above for recommended locations.
6. Stay at an Adults-Only Resort
If you’re on a romantic getaway, a break with friends or some solo R&R time, the last thing you want is to be surrounded by screaming children. The best way to avoid that is by staying at one of the Cook Islands’ many adult resorts! Adults-only resorts are designed with relaxation in mind, usually complete with spas, swimming pools, beachside lounging areas and more activities to help you chill. Discover some of the best in the 20 Best Adults-Only Resorts in the Cook Islands.
Location: Rarotonga and Aitutaki. See the link above for locations.
7. Paddle on a Tranquil Lagoon
Kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding doesn’t have to be an activity where you overexert yourself. In fact, you often achieve the complete opposite while you’re silently gliding over a sheltered lagoon in Rarotonga or Aitutaki. Many of the islands’ resorts offer complimentary use of kayaks and/or stand-up paddleboards for guests to explore the waters independently, where you can watch fish and coral through the crystal clear waters. We definitely consider this a relaxing thing to do in the Cook Islands!
Location: Check out 5 Best Kayak Hires in the Cook Islands and 5 Best Places for Stand-Up Paddleboarding for mentions of resorts with kayaks and paddleboards.
8. Float Over Colourful Marine Life
When you’re not watching the fish from your kayak, then it will probably be when you’re snorkelling. Again, because of the sheltered lagoons found off the Cook Islands’ shores, snorkelling is usually a case of casually floating on the water’s surface and watching the life of colourful fish and shapely coral doing their thing below you. Getting in the water also provides welcome relief from the warm Cook Islands sun, offering yet another way to relax in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands!
Location: The best snorkelling can be found off Rarotonga and Aitutaki at locations listed in The Best Snorkelling in the Cook Islands: Top 10 Places to Snorkel.
9. Set Sail on the Aitutaki Lagoon
Another way to enjoy the lagoon in a relaxing manner, specifically in Aitutaki, is sailing. Sailing Aitutaki offers private lagoon excursions on their 17ft Hobie catamaran. The easy-going three-hour tour takes you to a motu (island), allows you to try sailing for yourself, stops for snorkelling, and includes light refreshments. See more experiences on the lagoon listed in the 20 Best Things to Do on Aitutaki.
Location: Aitutaki. Tours depart from Ootu Beach, but transfers are included.
10. Find a Secluded Hammock on the Beach
It’s simple, but there’s a reason why almost all beach accommodations in the Cook Islands have at least one hammock set up. Get cocooned between two coconut palms and enjoy listening to the waves rolling onto the reef while feeling the balmy island breeze run over you.
Location: Anywhere in the Cook Islands!
More Relaxing Things to Do in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Now that you know some of the most relaxing things to do in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, discover more relaxing experiences listed within these guides:
- 10 Best Foodie Experiences in the Cook Islands
- The Guide to Shopping in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands + The Best Places to Shop
- 10 Best Beaches in the Cook Islands
Finally, discover more to do beyond relaxing in the 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List.