The crystal clear turquoise sea, endless beaches, palm trees as far as one can see, coconuts and other exotic fruits to go, relaxed people … sounds like Paradise …
We choose the Cook Islands
The amount of Pacific Islands is huge and the appeal to visit one or more, when `you´re already around´ is even bigger.
While planning our trip around the world, which took us to New Zealand and Australia, it was obvious: We want the Pacific Dream!
As the budget also plays a major role, we finally decided on the Cook Islands. At the time of booking the flights were even cheaper than to Fiji.
Only few of the fifteen Cook Islands are developed for tourism. But in my opinion that´s actually a positive aspect.
From Sydney to the Cook Islands
Our journey takes us with Air New Zealand from Sydney to the main island Rarotonga. Due to the International Dateline we got this day twice. Saturday night departure, Saturday morning arrival! However, that does not really have any impact, as you anyway barely know what day it is during a longer trip.
Upon arrival we directly jump on a small propeller plane to Aitutaki. Peeps, I tell you, the approach to land leaves me speechless (and that doesn´t happen quite often)! The view of the reefs, the shimmering water. Stunning.
At the airport the dream goes on as we are greeted with flower leis by our host.
We´re going to stay four nights on Aitutaki. Since we were traveling low budget on the Cook Islands as well, we opted for a cheaper accommodation. At first glance it was absolutely the right decision. A gorgeous setting. A small beach hut between palm trees, with balcony. Sea View included. After the first few hours, however, doubts arise. There is no air-condition, every few hours a coconut is falling down on our roof or in front of our balcony (yes, life at risk) and about thousands of ants and other bugs are in our room. But hey, we´re on the Cook Islands. (More on choosing the right accommodation).
ln Aitutaki the main means of transportation are scooters. As we are not really convinced of our skills to drive one of these, we simply spend our time at the beach. Or go for a walk, which does not degenerate into a hike (it´s sweltering, ey). But we still the mini-cemeteries in many gardens. An unusual, but loving way, to have the warmly decorated tombs directly around.
Best day ever: Aitutaki Lagoon
On our last day on Aitutaki we book a tour to the lagoon. We get picked up from the hotel and brought to the boat. Words cannot describe how amazing this experience was. Thank you, Cook Islands! Crystal clear water and small islands with palm trees are awaiting us. We snorkel and explore the underwater world of the wonderful Aitutaki Lagoon. Our guide makes sure we feel comfortable. Refreshing lemonade and fresh fruits, such as coconuts and bananas, accompany us throughout the day. At noon we´re enjoying a delicious barbecue on a small island. Another highlight follows shortly afterwards: The Post Office of “One Foot Island” has the permit to make an official stamp in passports. Of course we do not miss out and get this special souvenir. Before our local guide brings us back to the mainland we get to snorkel on more time. What a memorable day!
Back on the main island of the Cook Islands
We´re heading back to Rarotonga the next morning. Here it happened to me for the first time in my life that I actually get an upgrade.
We had booked a small bungalow on a hill in Muri Beach, but as they need it for other guests two days later, we (un)fortunately have to switch to the 4 -star hotel right on the beach. Who wants to complain? You can even borrow kayaks and stand-up paddles for free. Of course we are mega curious and want to try SUP. For our egos it’s way better to stop NOW and don´t tell that story. `Fail´, that´s the only thing I say. But at least our audience is super amused. Born to entertain.
On Rarotonga we also visited kind of a farmer´s market, which definitely was very interesting. In addition to fresh fruits you can also get souvenirs and witness some performances by local musicians here.
The last two days, the Weather God no longer mean good with us. Rain rain rain. But that does not influence our mood. In the Cook Islands, there is no bad mood, that is our motto. Except for a few rare exceptions (e. g. the bus driver) that also seems to be the rule for the locals. Which is not really surprising. It would actually be rather confusing, if we don´t experience that chilling atmosphere.
Cook Islands – Conclusion
A real pacific dream, a dream which became reality. Especially the trip to the lagoon is something I will never forget, because it was definitely one of the best days of my life so far.
Anyway I personally won´t visit the Cook Islands again (but who knows?) – as the amount of other tempting islands is much too large. Tahiti, New Caledonia and Fiji are calling! Can you hear it?
If you have questions, requests or opinions or might plan your trip to the Cook Islands right now – get in touch!