Warning: May Cause Serious Sunburn and Severe Island Envy
The Cook Islands, located in the heart of the South Pacific, is a hidden gem that offers visitors an unforgettable tropical paradise experience. This stunning island nation boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, lush rainforests, that will leave visitors enchanted.
From adventurous outdoor activities like hiking and whale watching to cultural experiences like island nights and traditional village visits, the Cook Islands has something for everyone.
Whether you’re seeking a relaxing getaway or an action-packed adventure, the Cook Islands is the perfect destination for those seeking a truly unique and memorable holiday.
Here are some things to see and do in the Cook Islands that are sure to be fun:
- Aitutaki Lagoon Cruise – Aitutaki is home to one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world, and a lagoon cruise is the best way to experience its beauty. You’ll get to swim and snorkel in crystal-clear waters, visit uninhabited islands, and enjoy a barbecue lunch on the beach.
- Te Vara Nui Village – This cultural center on Rarotonga island offers an immersive experience into the traditional Polynesian way of life. You can learn about the Cook Islands’ history, try local foods, and watch a cultural show that includes music, dancing, and fire-knife performances.
- Cross-Island Walk – Rarotonga island is home to the rugged, jungle-covered interior that is perfect for a hike. The Cross-Island Walk is a challenging but rewarding hike that takes you through rainforest, over streams and waterfalls, and offers breathtaking views from the mountain summit.
- Muri Lagoon – Muri Lagoon on Rarotonga is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. The lagoon’s calm waters and abundance of marine life make it an ideal place to explore the underwater world of the Cook Islands.
- Highland Paradise Cultural Centre – This cultural center on Rarotonga offers visitors a chance to learn about the history and culture of the Cook Islands. You can enjoy a traditional feast while listening to storytelling and music, learn to weave a basket, and watch demonstrations of traditional crafts.
- Whale Watching – From July to October, humpback whales migrate through the waters of the Cook Islands. A whale watching tour is an unforgettable experience that allows you to see these magnificent creatures up close and personal.
- Island Night – Island Night is a cultural show that takes place at various venues across the Cook Islands. You can enjoy a traditional feast while watching dancers perform to live music, and even join in on the dancing yourself
- Visit the Rarotonga Night Market – The Rarotonga Night Market is a weekly event that takes place on Saturday evenings. It’s a bustling and vibrant gathering of locals and tourists alike, where you can sample delicious street food, buy handmade crafts and souvenirs, and enjoy live music and cultural performances. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and meet friendly Cook Islanders.
The Cook Islands is that they were the first country in the world to declare a shark sanctuary. In 2012, the Cook Islands declared their entire Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) a shark sanctuary, which covers over 1.9 million square kilometers of ocean.
This means that all commercial shark fishing and the possession, sale, and trade of shark products are prohibited within the Cook Islands EEZ. The declaration was a significant step in protecting and preserving the shark population in the South Pacific.
The history of the Cook Islands dates back over 1,400 years, when the first Polynesian settlers arrived from the Society Islands. The islands were originally inhabited by the Maori people, who developed a distinct culture and language.
In the late 1700s, the islands were visited by European explorers, including Captain James Cook, who named the islands after himself.
In 1888, the Cook Islands were annexed by Britain, and they became a protectorate in 1901. During World War II, the islands were occupied by New Zealand, which administered them until 1965, when the Cook Islands became a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand.
Since then, the Cook Islands have developed a vibrant tourism industry, and the culture and traditions of the Maori people have been preserved and celebrated.
The Cook Islands are a unique blend of Polynesian and Western cultures, and they continue to be a popular destination for travelers seeking a tropical paradise experience.