Why is the Cook Islands a Good Place to Visit?
Blip! The Cook Islands is on your radar! The allure of the white sands, swaying coconut palms and Polynesian charm is drawing you in. But why, really, should you visit the Cook Islands? Well, we only have 25 reasons to visit Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, so get scrolling to find out!
1. Amazing Mountain-to-Lagoon Landscapes
Even on landing in Rarotonga, it’s difficult not to be awe-struck by the verdant piercing mountains on one side of the runway and the vibrant turquoise lagoon on the other. What’s more, almost the entire island is lined with white sandy beaches. Ah, paradise. And that’s just Rarotonga; Aitutaki is often described as one of the world’s most beautiful lagoons, while the ancient coral islands of Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke and Mitiaro also have spectacular subterranean landscapes.
2. Safe to Travel
The Cook Islands is one of the safest countries to travel to. With very little crime and the country managing to protect its little island paradise for the majority of the pandemic until its citizens were fully vaccinated, the Cook Islands has a very good record of keeping people safe. It is rare that any natural disasters affect the islands, and if they do, there are effective procedures in place. Check out Is it Safe to Travel to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands? for all the information and any safety tips you’ll need.
3. Islands are Easy to Travel Around
Rarotonga is the largest island yet it only takes around 40-50 minutes to drive around i! Each of the islands in the Cooks has an easy road to navigate along their coasts where you’ll find most attractions. Everywhere is close enough to get to, whether it’s by rental car, bicycle, bus or by local favourite; scooter! Learn more about getting around in the Cook Islands Transport Guide: 15 Ways to Get Around the Cook Islands.
4. Friendly Locals
From the moment you step off the plane and are greeted with a customary ‘ei (neck garland), you’ll experience the friendliness and warmth of the locals. Everyone says “Kia Orana!”, the local greeting, and Cook Islanders are generally very grateful for having visitors to their islands. Learn more about the locals in Who are the People of the Cook Islands?
5. Glorious Weather
The Cook Islands is a tropical country with warm temperatures between 21°C and 27°C (70-81°F) all year round! With plenty of sunshine, and admittedly a fair few heavy showers to keep the rainforest as lush as can be, the weather is certainly idyllic for most. Learn more about the weather here in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Weather, Seasons & Climate + Weather by Month.
6. Easy to Access from New Zealand
If you’re coming from New Zealand, well, the Cook Islands couldn’t be an easier destination to get to. There are multiple flights per day from Auckland Airport, while even the currency is the same!
7. Fascinating Culture
The culture of the Cook Islands makes an awesome addition to your getaway. Captivating dancing, the soothing sounds of the ukulele, yummy foodie experiences and more make for an unforgettable holiday. Learn more about the culture in A Traveller’s Guide to the Cook Islands Culture.
8. Easy-to-See Wildlife
Even the islands’ other residents are happy to say “Kia Orana!” Nature-lovers will be amazed by the turtle swimming experiences, snorkelling alongside purple coral, as well as hundreds of tropical fish and marine species. There are even a few endemic bird species to spot, while humpback whales are visitors through winter. Find out more about wildlife in our guide, Wildlife in the Cook Islands: Animals in the Cook Islands & Where to See Them.
9. Great for Kids
The Cook Islands is an easy and fun destination to take the family. Family accommodations are abundant, there’s safe snorkelling in the lagoons and there are even kids’ clubs and babysitting services should you need some “me” time. Learn more about planning a family trip in The Complete Travel Guide to the Cook Islands for Families.
10. But the Adults-Only Options are Also Spectacular
Don’t be put off that the Cook Islands are great for kids. There are more than 20 adults-only accommodations on Rarotonga alone, exclusively for guests over the age of 12, 16 or 18. There are also a wealth of experiences that are ideal for more mature crowds, so needless to say, the right tone will be set. Learn more about planning an adults-only vacation in The Complete Adults-Only Travel Guide to the Cook Islands.
11. There are All Types of Lodgings
Whatever your style, there’s an accommodation to suit. From effortless resort holidays to peace and quiet in your own holiday home with a pool, there’s an amazing range of holiday experiences. Starting browsing them in The BEST Cook Islands Accommodations: Where to Stay and The Top 50 Resorts in the Cook Islands.
12. And All Types of Activities
Touristy and non-touristy, free and expensive, active and relaxing: there are activities right across the spectrum in the Cook Islands. There are far too many to list here, but head to the 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List to get a good idea of what you’re in for.
13. Unique Crafts
One that takes many visitors by surprise is how amazing and unique the crafts and gifts are from the Cook Islands. Browse any market and you’ll see an array of gorgeous black pearl jewellery, colourful pareu (sarongs), finely woven hats, earrings and fans and even intricate quilt work known as “tivaevae”. Learn more about these crafts in the 12 Best Souvenirs from Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
14. Indulge in All Types of Food
Rarotonga has a cosmopolitan culture where good food is very important. You’ll find fine dining, European cuisine, Asian dishes, American crowd-pleasers, as well as authentically local dishes which are best tried at “island nights” or on the reputable Progressive Dinner Tour! Learn more about the food experiences in The Food Guide to the Cook Islands: Places to Eat, Food Tours & More.
15. Good Nightlife!
For such a small island in the South Pacific, Rarotonga sure knows how to party! Bars, night markets, evening tours, island nights, party buses and more make up the incredible nightlife here, so your holiday doesn’t have to stop after dark. Head to the 10 Things to Do in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands at Night for more details.
16. Everybody Speaks English
If you’re reading this list of reasons to visit Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, chances are, you speak English. So do most people in the Cook Islands, making it an effortlessly easy island to travel to for English speakers. Learn more about the languages in the Cooks in What is the Rarotonga & Cook Islands Language?
17. It Can Be Quite Cheap
Even if you’re on a bit of a budget, even backpacking, you can still enjoy an epic trip to the Cook Islands. There are budget options when it comes to accommodation, eating out and transport, while you can easily enjoy your holiday doing all of the free things to do. Plan a cheaper trip to the Cooks using The Complete Backpacking Guide to the Cook Islands on a Budget.
18. It Will Force You to Unplug
The WiFi in the Cook Islands is so expensive that it will force you to unplug! That’s right, we’re spinning this into a positive because many people visiting the Cook Islands are in need of a digital detox.
19. Each Island is Different
And why you might want to visit the Cook Islands time and time again is that each island has something very different to offer. If you fall in love with the country, why not get the deserted island experience on the Aitutaki Lagoon or visit the caves on the ancient limestone coral islands of Atiu, Mangaia or Mauke? See The Best Islands to Visit in the Cook Islands to compare some of the islands.
20. Slower Pace of Life
If you need a break from the rat race, the Cook Islands are ideal. Even the driving speed limit is 50kph! You’ll learn to slow down and enjoy life at a more relaxed pace, getting slower and more “island time” the further from Rarotonga you go.
21. It’s So Romantic!
The tropical setting and picture-perfect beaches are what honeymoons are made of! That’s why many of the travellers to the Cook Islands are, indeed, couples on honeymoon. You’ll also find stunning couple-centric accommodations, romantic things to do and even wedding services in the Cook Islands. Find out more in The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to the Cook Islands.
22. Be Spoiled
There’s even room to be absolutely spoiled in the Cook Islands, with gorgeous five-star villas, resorts, private tours, spa treatments and more. If money isn’t an issue, getting planning the ultimate “treat yourself” getaway with The Complete Luxury Guide to the Cook Islands.
23. Stunning Sunsets
There’s nothing like watching the sun setting across the Pacific Ocean, especially on Rarotonga and Aitutaki where many resorts and restaurants and ideally positioned. See some of the glorious sunset spots in the 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
24. Amazing Night Skies
Islands isolated from any major cities or sources of light pollution, the Cook Islands are home to some of the most mesmerising night skies. See some of the best places to soak in distant worlds in the 5 Best Spots for Stargazing in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
25. Cook Islands Pocket Guide Exists, So a Trip is Easy to Plan!
No question about the Cook Islands goes unanswered on Cook Islands Pocket Guide, so planning a trip to the new and exotic islands of the Cooks is made effortless thanks to our extensive travel advice! Have more of a browse, starting with The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.
More Reasons to Visit the Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Like we said, one reason to visit Rarotonga and the Cook Islands is that we make planning a trip there so easy! Check out these guides to make your trip to the Cook Islands effortless:
- How to Plan a Trip to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands the EASY Way
- Cook Islands Travel Tips: 30 Tips for Travelling in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List
Finally, do a little good by planning a more sustainable trip to the Cooks using the 30 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in the Cook Islands.