From the moment you touch down in Cook Islands and breathe in the heady scent of frangipani flowers, you’ll feel relaxed.
Surrounded by a sapphire-blue lagoon and fine, white sand, this romantic South Pacific paradise is the ultimate place to unwind. The way of life may be laid-back, but you’ll still find plenty of heart-pumping activities to enjoy.
Head out on the water to explore the golden reef: an unforgettable scuba diving, snorkelling, or kayaking experience. Dine on the Cook Islanders’ favourite dish of suckling pig, or freshly caught seafood, cooked right on the beach.
Explore the island’s rainforests, fresh water streams and waterfalls as you trek in the shadow of grand volcanic ridges. No matter where you travel, from the ancient marae (traditional meeting places) to spiritual monuments and stunning private islands, you’ll find friendly faces, rich culture, and stunning views.
The best way to get around this small island is to make like the locals and jump on a scooter. It’s easy to get your licence and you can loop the entire island in about an hour. There’s nothing quite like feeling the warm breeze against your skin as you go beach-hopping, check out the shops, or discover some of the island’s more rural areas – just watch out for roaming dogs and chickens.
Taking something home is easy too. Head to the markets to buy iridescent shells, sarongs and jewellery made from the region’s distinctive black pearls, or watch as the local women practise the art of quilting, known here as tivaevae.