The Cook Islands Travel Specialists

avarua town, the cook islands capital on rarotonga island

The scattered Cook Islands have a small population, but you'll be assured of a great welcome. This South Sea paradise is largely undeveloped, and its islands are peaceful sanctuaries where you can sunbathe, swim and windsurf to your heart's content. Hotels in the Cook Islands are particularly popular amongst New Zealand couples seeking a quiet break, but it's a great destination too for families to enjoy the lush plants, white beaches, crystalline seas and clear blue skies. The main island of Rarotonga is just 32-km around its coast making it easy to get around and sightsee, to explore the rainforest and beaches and enjoy the island night-life - this is where most tourists spend their holidays and its particular good for families, for dining out and for enjoying a little exploring by moped. Aitutaki is a 40-minute flight from Rarotonga and appeals more to romantic holiday-makers with a delightful lagoon to explore and where you can wander along pristine beaches or snorkel around uninhabited coral islands.

Explore the Cook Islands:

Holidays in Rarotonga

Beach resorts, entertainment and restaurants

Holidays in Aitutaki

Laid back holidays, snorkelling & lagoon cruises

Cook Islands Holiday Planner

The Cook Islands is a little piece of heaven on earth, yet nothing on its own stands out as uniquely iconic. Blend the beautiful Polynesian culture with its glorious beaches and a well developed tourist infrastructure, a holiday in the Cook Islands is up there with the best the South Pacific has to offer.

For tourists, the main iconic attractions are its rare black pearls, its brilliant dancers and the stunning beauty of Aitutaki Lagoon. Come here for beaches, tranquillity and lush tropical scenery ...

What are the best islands to visit?

Rarotonga and Aitutaki are the only islands with hotels for mainstream tourists and whilst families tend to stick to Rarotonga, both islands have areas appealing to both couples on a honeymoon or those with kids in tow ... only two large resorts have kids clubs and many accommodation don't even have 24-hr receptions - this is a truly laid back holiday destination.

Rarotonga is a mini holiday island with plenty of locally owned accommodations, day tours and restaurants along its palm fringed beaches. Aitutaki can be visited on a day tour, but to really enjoy the spectacular lagoon its best to visit for a few nights at least.

There is growing interest in eco-tourism to some of the other islands in the Cooks, mostly to Atiu Island but there are guesthouses on also Mauke and Mangaia also.


Our Favourite Accommodations

Aitutaki Beach Villas

Beautiful beachfront location with just four spacious self-contained villas offeringe excellent value for money ...

Palm Grove, Rarotonga

Quiet beach with excellent snorkelling offshore. Beach-front cottages are adults only, andr Garden Cottages more suited to families.


Our Favourite Activities

Aitutaki Lagoon Cruise

Uninhabited islands fringe this beautiful lagoon and there's sand bars to explore, giant clams to see and great snorkelling and fishing ...

Rarotonga Cross Island Hike

Enjoy the lush scenery on this great half day hike across the mountains of Rarotonga. Look-outs, tropical birds and a refreshing waterfall.

Muri Beach, Rarotonga

Fringed by a long curving beach overlooking a sheltered lagoon with four uninhabited islands, this is great spot for kayaking, sailing and windsurfing.

more on Muri Beach ...
Island Night - Dance & Feast

The Cook Islanders are renowned for their seductive hip swaying dances accompanied by high tempo drummers - and the traditional feast isn't bad too.

more on Cook Islands tours ...

Cook Islands Travel Guide

view our interactive map of the cook islands


There are two main groups of islands in the north and south of the country. The North consists of tiny atolls with very small and isolated populations. The Southern Cook Islands comprises both Rarotonga and Aitutaki which account for almost all tourist activity, with just a handful of guesthouses on the rocky islands of Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke and Mangaia.


Rarotonga Island

Rarotonga is the main island in the Cook Islands and where almost 90% of tourists spend their entire holiday and it has the international airport and plenty of beach front accommodation. Here, you can visit the local brewery, enjoy a cosmopolitan restaurant scene, and watch a game of rugby.

Rarotonga has lush tropical mountains, pretty coastal scenes, lots of picturesque sandy beaches and plenty of independent restaurants to enjoy. The island takes under an hour to circumnavigate, with mopeds being the most popular way of getting around. For a holiday, the island is well developed and decidedly geared towards tourism with an almost continuous parade of self catering beach bungalows, holiday homes and exclusive boutique beach resorts around the island. The cross island hike (4 hours) is popular for those looking to stretch their legs.


Aitutaki Lagoon

Second in popularity is Aitutaki, especially for romantic breaks or honeymoons and to snorkel its stunning lagoon and visit uninhabited coral cays on a day cruise. Said to be one of the most beautiful island in all of the vast Pacific Ocean, Aitutaki is less developed than Bora Bora, although there is a spa, hotels and golf course. Make the folks back home jealous by sending a postcard home from One Foot Island, which has one of the world's remotest post offices. Snorkelling and diving are popular activities – you can investigate submerged wrecks and see schools of colourful fish.

Aitutaki is a 45-minute flight north of Rarotonga (up to six daily flights) and offers one of the most exquisite lagoons in the world with lots of small uninhabited islets and sand bars to explore. The island is even more laid back than Rarotonga with just a handful of accommodations and basic grocery shops in the main villages. Lagoon cruises are the highlight with good snorkelling and decent scuba diving along the outer reefs. To really get a sense of being in a island paradise, stay here for at least three nights so you can unwind to the islands tranquil rhythm - this is the place where holiday-makers often return year after year ... and some for even months at a time!


Atiu Island

More adventurous travellers might consider venturing off the beaten track and visiting the island of Atiu to marvel at some of its extraordinary caves or experience the traditional Maori culture. Here and in other outer islands, you can escape from your worries and really unwind – try chilling out and having some of the local bush beer.

The Northern Cook Islands are amongst the most isolated islands in the world. and receive virtually no tourists apart from a few passing yachties and some of the more extreme backpackers seeking utter isolation. Come here to enjoy the village culture, spectacular cliffs and the feeling that you've really gotten away from it all but you'll have to stay with locals or in very basic government guesthouses.

Cook Islands Travel Info
The Cook Islands have direct flights only from LA, Auckland and Tahiti. The international airport is on Rarotonga Island, on the north coast just outside the capital town of Avarua. Most holiday-makers don't make it off the main island of Raratonga, home to the majority of the Cook islands hotels. Scooters are a common way to get around as the island is very small – it takes just one hour to circumnavigate the coastal road. There is also a bus running every hour, taking around 50minutes to circumnavigate the islond. Aitutaki is the second most visited island, a 40-minute flight north of Rarotonga and here there are a dozen small resorts and as many more guesthouses. There are around eight daily flights between Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Other islands in the Southern Group include Atiu, Mauke and Managaia, but these appeal only to adventurers interested in caving or the traditional culture and have few beaches or guesthouse style accommodation only.