The Cook Islands are a castaway’s dream. Among the most beautiful of all the Polynesian Islands, the archipelago’s 15 islands lie flung between French Polynesia and Samoa. Translucent turquoise lagoons, volcanic peaks, and dazzling palm-fringed beaches recall the dramatic beauty of Tahiti, but with a more affordable price tag. Like its pricier cousin, the Cook Islands exude a warm and welcoming Polynesian hospitality. But instead of the French influence, the islands have strong ties to New Zealand. Raratonga and Aitutaki are the main tourist magnets. Other more remote islands attract adventurers, anglers, pearl farmers, and real-life Robinson Crusoes.Rarotonga, the visible tip of a volcanic cone, is the largest of the Cook Islands and its friendly capital, Avarua, is the commercial and cultural center of the islands. Shopping for souvenirs such as black pearls and local perfumes is a popular pastime here. Around the lush peaks of the interior lies a coastal plain where coconut palms, papaya, bananas, and coffee plants flourish. Coral reefs ring the island, enclosing a narrow lagoon that offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities.Aitutaki, the second most visited island, is the Bora Bora of the Cook Islands. Dotted with 21 tiny palm-fringed islets or motu, its sublimely beautiful lagoon is the star attraction. Accommodations here range from affordable guesthouses to luxury resorts with over-the-water bungalows. Fishing, beachcombing, kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming are favorite things to do throughout all the islands, as is meeting the friendly locals who welcome everyone with warm smiles.


If you are planning to visit cook islands, here is a selection of the best places to visit in cook islands    Send article as PDF