Cook Islands: The Hidden Paradise
Cook Island's will remind you of Hawaii, but how Hawaii was 50+ years ago with it's untouched charm and beauty.
Scroll through Instagram and you'll see a ton of images from Bali, Hawaii, Santorini, and Paris because that's where people typically dream of vacationing. However mention Cook Islands and you'll get 9 out of 10 people asking, "where's that?" This includes our cellphone providers (AT&T and T-Mobile), who had to Google where the country was before telling us that they do not provide coverage there.
From LA, it's a direct 10-hour flight via Air New Zealand - but the catch is, it only flies out once a week. Which in all honesty, is a blessing for you because you'll want to spend at minimum, an entire week completely disconnected under the sun. In fact, Cook Islands's motto is "Love a little paradise" because this place is truly the definition of paradise. I was taken aback by its beauty and in awe of how I had never heard of this place before.
For reference, Aitutaki is less crowded and perfect for those who want to be alone in peace with their significant others (aka honeymooners). The turquoise waters will lure you to stay out on the beach a little longer each day and the quietness will lull you to sleep. Also, you'll probably find some friendly cats hanging around as dogs are banned from this island.
To get to Aitutaki, you have to land in Rarotonga first and take a quick domestic flight (45-minutes) on Air Rarotonga.
I would suggest staying here for 3-4 days before heading to Rarotonga, or vice versa. I certainly have this place bookmarked for the future - or even sooner than that. I mean, just look at it - pure magic!
Rarotonga, on the other hand, is the largest of the 15 islands with about 15,000 people. Filled with culture, fun outdoor activities, lots of adorable dogs - and cackling roosters who's clock are obviously off. However, you'll get used to the crowing and will be a true local once you adapt island time.
While Rarotonga is the largest island, it only takes 40 minutes to drive around the entire place. You also cannot get lost as there's one main road and all inner roads lead out to the main road.
We spent majority of our trip on Rarotonga and discovered that there's much more to do than just lay out on the beach. From the garden cafe to culture night, a week was almost not enough because we still had things we wish we could've done. It is a great place for families but even better when you leave the kids at home - hah.
Honestly, these photos don't do this place justice one bit.
If you're looking for a place to just disappear for a week and by that, I mean literally no cell service and at the moment (due to a fire burning down their tower), WiFi is super slow, then go here. Well, go here regardless because you won't regret it a single bit.
Cook Islands, you were a dream and treated us so well. From the people to the food, to the amazing weather and culture, you are easily one of my favorite destinations.
Stay tuned for my vlog about the trip, things to do on the island post, and a review of where I stayed during the week!
Thank you to the tourism board for taking the best care of us! You guys are amazing!
Photos by KSOLE