Global Traveler|March 2020
Modern advancements in travel and tourism leave few places on this planet remote and removed from modern society, but the Cook Islands manage to maintain unique culture and history while preserving stunning natural beauty. Not yet affected by the ravages of overtourism, this Oceania archipelago offers visitors a glimpse into a bygone era when life was less complicated and people focused on family, community and quality of life. Adventurous travelers willing to make the trek to this Polynesian gem will find awaiting them a stunning world of timeless beauty.
Deep in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, the Cooks consist of 15 separate islands broken up into two groups, southern and northern. The biggest and most commonly visited, Rarotonga, home to the capital of Avarua, makes a solid starting point for your foray into the Cook Islands. Rarotonga itself offers an impressive array of entertainment and adventure options, but the smaller islands feature their own natural beauty and fascinating local culture.
Rarotonga, the most commercial of the islands, boasts a plentiful selection of boutique resorts, restaurants and modern amenities all while maintaining a relaxed style synonymous throughout the islands. Cultural centers such as Te Vara Nui Village are designed to offer guests an opportunity to learn about local history and culture during the day, culminating in a dinner show complete with traditional music and dances after dark.
Kayaking, diving and snorkeling are extremely popular in the waters surrounding the islands rife with underwater sea life. More than 70 species of native coral and hundreds of species of colorful reef fish make their home in these waters. Enjoy some of the best snorkeling off Muri Beach on Rarotonga’s southeasternmost point and off Aro’a Beach on the southwest side of the island.
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