Welcome to one of the most pampering and exotic tropical destinations. With traditional Polynesian life mixing with 21st century vibes, the Cook Islands will be loved by those seeking a pampering vacation as well as those seeking to get lost in a tropical ‘somewhere’. Explore the Cook Islands with these in-depth travel guides, mostly focusing on Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
Easily accessible from Australia and New Zealand, a trip to the Cook Islands is a no brainer for those seeking a tropical paradise with all the comforts of home – whether couples, families with children, and even backpackers. With super friendly islanders and a laid back charm, your vacation can be as lazy or as active as you want it to be, as traditional or as modern as you wish – but always memorable. Not as tropical as its Samoan or French Polynesian cousins, the Cook Islands are strikingly beautiful – from the high peaks of Rarotonga to the lagoon of Aitutaki that will leave you lost for words.
When to Go?
Weather in the southern Cook Islands is comfortable throughout the year and not as oppressively hot as other South Pacific destinations.
Cyclone season (November – March): cyclones are always a threat but rarely hit the islands. Expect hot and humid days, combined with rainy, cloudy, and thunderous periods that can be short-lived or last for a few days. That said, there are plenty of sunny days.
Cooler months (June – August): the southeasterly trade wind is in full swing, blowing away the clouds and affording consistent sunny weather. Temperatures will dip below 20 degrees at night so bring something warm with you.
Shoulder seasons (September – October & March-May): pleasantly warm days with fewer chances of cloud cover and rain. Temperatures will rarely dip below 20 degrees at night and rarely rise above 30 degrees during the day.
Rarotonga operates a public bus that circles the island and can be used by tourists if you’re not in a hurry. The island is abundant with car/scooter rental companies and prices are quite low. In both Rarotonga and Aitutaki, cycling is quite doable as the coastline is mostly flat. In Aitutaki, rent a scooter if you want to seriously explore the tiny island. In order to explore the lagoons, you’ll need to join a guided lagoon tour
Which Islands to Visit?
With the northern group pretty much out of anyone’s reach, tourism in the Cook Islands essentially concentrates on Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Atiu. You will no doubt spend time in Rarotonga, the main and largest island in the Cook Islands. Aitutaki is a short flight away and is really all about exploring its breathtaking lagoon. Lastly, Atiu is all about nature – famous for its unique caves.