Beautiful Cook Islands Holidays
What's Unique about the Cook Islands?
Cook Islands holidays offer a truly laid back environment with some of the best beaches in the South Pacific, pleasant year-round climate seldom dipping beneath 24°C and a fantastic selection of beach accommodation on Rarotonga Island and around Aitutaki Lagoon. With only 100,000 tourists arriving each year, this tiny South Pacific island nation offers a truly laid-back holiday atmosphere and is the second most popular tourist destination in the South Pacific to visit after Fiji.
The Cooks is small nation with just 15 islands, most of them low lying atolls and only two of these are developed for tourism.
Rarotonga is the main island, circular in shape and taking just under one hour to circumnavigate, mostly by mopeds and scooters but there's also a public bus service. It rises steeply from the coast with lush mountains and volcanic peaks with sweeping white sandy beaches around the coast. Rarotonga has plenty of accommodation, lots of independent restaurants and a whole heap of tours and activities both on the lagoon and into the interior to keep you busy and an excellent night-life with bars, nightclubs and island dance shows.
Aitutaki, the second most visited island, is a lot more laid back with sleepy fishing villages, palm fringed beaches and a stunning lagoon with great day cruises, fishing charters and kite surfing, as well as restaurants and a good variety of beach resorts and villas; Aitutaki is a 40-minute flight from Rarotonga.
A few eco travellers venture to Atiu for exploring caves and engaging with the local Maori culture, but accommodation here is limited.
Cook Islands Tourist Information
Cook Island holidays are most popular amongst New Zealanders with direct flights from Auckland and also from Wellington and Christchurch all taking roughly 4hrs. Air New Zealand is the only airline flying into the country at present, from New Zealand. The international airport is on the north side of Rarotonga. The islands are also becoming increasingly on the radar of Australian holiday-makers, although flights go via Auckland. The local currency is in NZ$.
Fun Things to Do on Holiday in the Cook Islands
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Cook Islands Holiday Ideas
Rarotonga has about 80% of the country's accommodation including a couple of large resorts and plenty of holiday homes ideal for families. Aitutaki is more popular with couples seeking a romantic holiday ambience and has a decent selection of small quaint properties with beachfront bungalows to suit all budgets, from backpackers to ultra exclusive.
Oozing charm, honeymoons in the Cook Islands are idyllic. Rarotonga has a bustling holiday ambience whilst Aitutaki has a more gentle pace of life with uninhabited islands to explore and secluded palm fringed beaches.
Rarotonga has safe swimming beaches, lots of tours and a good selection of holiday homes and large resorts with kids clubs making it ideal for a family holiday. It's soft adventures and ease of getting around are a bonus.
Rarotonga has plenty of sightseeing tours whilst Aitutaki boasts exceptional snorkelling cruises to uninhabited islands. There's decent kite surfing on Aitutaki Lagoon whilst Raro is a good spot for learning to scuba dive.
Our Cook Islands travel guide provides more detailed information on all the different regions to visit to help you decide where to go and what to do. Alternatively, try out our interactive Cook Islands picture map above to help you visualise the islands and find out where all the different hotels are located.
Holiday Accommodation in the Cook Islands
Spending a holiday at one of the beautiful Cook Islands resorts on Rarotonga or Aitutaki is a lifetime dream come true for many so selecting the right place to stay is crucial. If this is your first visit, we recommend you read our Cook Islands holidays planner with detailed tourist information including how to get there, when to visit and what to do on your holidays.
The majority of resorts in the Cook Islands host less than fifty guests at a time and so ensure a very intimate atmosphere. The charm of the islands is staying in one of the locally owned self-catering beach bungalows, luxury villas or holiday homes on Rarotonga or Aitutaki and these are ideal for both families and couples seeking an intimate holiday.
For families, there are several large beach resorts on Rarotonga and with kids clubs, lots of activities, night entertainment and for these we have some very good package holidays. Rarotonga has good sightseeing, beautiful beaches and plenty of boutique shops selling crafts and independent restaurants. The largest resort on Aitutaki has less than 40 rooms so don't expect anything more than very laid back! Aitutaki boasts a stunning lagoon and is the place to head for a romantic holiday in the Cook Islands or your honeymoon.
Beautiful Pacific has personally reviewed and hand selected what it believes is the best places to stay in our Cook Islands hotel guide with independent reviews on all Rarotonga resorts as well as self-catering beach bungalows for more budget orientated holiday-makers.