1. Aitutaki Lagoon
Tick Aitutaki Lagoon off your bucket list. With its sparkling turquoise water dotted with 15 motu (islets) and emerald green main island, it is one of the most magnificent lagoons in the world. Be sure to mail a postcard at the world’s smallest post office on motu Tapuaetai (One Foot Island).
2. Water Adventures
The Cook Islands are an aquatic playground with a wide range of watersports on offer. Snorkel in the crystal lagoons inside the reef and find an abundance of coral and fish. Try you hand at stand-up paddle boarding or grab a kayak and head to a deserted motu. On Rarotonga, hire a windsurfer, kite board or catamaran and find your way to Muri Lagoon.
3. Cultural Performances
Be captivated by the natural charm of the Cook Islanders. Listen to the beat of the drums and be amazed by the fire dancers at a fun cultural show. Combine this with a traditional Polynesian feast (umu kai) for an unforgettable experience.
4. Scuba Diving
Dive with the friendly Aitutaki turtles, who love to have their tummies scratched! Fantastic visibility and incredible coral reefs teeming with marine life make the Cooks one of the most sought after diving spots in the South Pacific.
5. Mountain Treks
Join an accredited guide and navigate Rarotonga’s Cross Island Trek to the rugged rainforest interior, see Wigmore’s Waterfall and spectacular views from the iconic landmark, The Needle. On Aitutaki hike to the top of Mt Maungapu and be rewarded with panoramic views.
6. Take Time Out
The Cooks is one of the most relaxing destinations on earth. Set your body clock to island time and relax with a cocktail as you soak up the sun. Indulge in a spa treatment or rejuvenating massage at one of the many day spas located within the resorts in Rarotonga or Aitutaki.
7. Arts, Crafts & Black Pearls
Handcrafts are highly prized in the Cooks. Among the best-known souvenirs are the intricately woven rito hats, brightly coloured pareu (sarongs) and wooden carvings. Don’t miss the colourful Punanga Nui markets, every Saturday morning in Avarua, Rarotonga. Visit The Emporium in Titikaveka for modern handcrafted designs including Cook Island Pearls. The most romantic souvenir is the cultured black pearl.
8. Visit a Traditional Village
Gain insight into the Cook Islands’ culture with a visit to a traditional village. See traditional Maori methods of cooking, farming, medicine, fishing, carving and costume making.
9. Cast a Line
With translucent waters, tropical temperatures and pristine reefs, the Cook Islands are an angler’s paradise. Drop a line from a kayak, try your hand at bone fishing or venture into the deep blue beyond the reef to chase yellow fin tuna, mahi mahi or wahoo.
10. Attend Sunday Mass with the Locals
Spend a Sunday like the locals and receive a warm Cook Islands welcome in one of the local Christian churches on Rarotonga or Aitutaki. Feel your heart sing along with the amazing harmonies of the congregation.