What to Do and See in the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are a gorgeous Polynesian archipelago in the South Pacific that is well-known for its lovely beaches, clear waters, and friendly people. The islands offer a variety of activities, including snorkelling in crystal-clear waters filled with marine life, hiking through lush tropical woods, and relaxing on the beach.

Aitutaki, a tiny atoll with some of the most breath-taking lagoons on earth, is among the most well-liked locations in the Cook Islands. A barbeque meal can be had on one of the abandoned islets while taking a lagoon sail to explore the clear waters.

The largest island in the Cook Islands, Rarotonga, makes a fantastic home base from which to explore the other islands in the archipelago. It has lovely beaches, breath-taking hiking paths, and a bustling cultural scene. Visitors can participate in traditional dance performances, consume fresh fruits and seafood at neighbourhood markets, or just unwind on the beach and enjoy the sunshine.

Other well-liked activities in the Cook Islands include scuba diving and snorkelling, scooter or bicycle tours of the island, and guided excursions to the locale’s historical and cultural sites. The Cook Islands are the ideal location for people looking for a tropical getaway since they provide a special combination of stunning natural scenery, a rich cultural past and kind hospitality.

In this article, we will give you our list of what you should do and see when you visit the Cook Islands.

  1. Explore Rarotonga

Of the fifteen islands that make up the Cook Islands, Rarotonga is the largest. The island is a preferred choice for tourists looking for a tropical getaway because of its breath-taking natural beauty, dynamic culture, and friendly inhabitants.

A stunning lagoon, with waters that are ideal for swimming, snorkelling, and diving, surrounds the island. The interior of the island, with its rocky terrain and lush jungles, waterfalls, and breath-taking vistas, is also worth exploring.

Along with a rich history that is reflected in the islands numerous cultural sites and museums, Rarotonga is also home to a vibrant culture that features traditional dance and music performances. Local cuisine, including fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional Polynesian cuisines, is also available to tourists.

Rarotonga offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including water sports like paddle boarding, kayaking, and surfing as well as hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Additionally, tourists can go fishing, take a sunset cruise, or just unwind on the island’s stunning beaches.

In conclusion, Rarotonga provides visitors interested in learning more about the South Pacific’s natural beauty and culture with a singular and remarkable experience.

  1. Go Diving or Snorkeling in the Cook Islands

The South Pacific’s best diving and snorkeling may be found in the Cook Islands. It’s the perfect location for individuals who want to explore the undersea world, with crystal-clear seas, a variety of marine life, and gorgeous coral reefs. For both novice and expert divers, the lagoons around the islands offer a tranquil and protected environment. For those interested in learning more about the underwater environment, numerous dive businesses rent out equipment and provide trips. Snorkeling is especially well-liked in the lagoon that encircles Rarotonga Island since there are many of vibrant fish and stunning coral structures there.

The islands are home to a number of top-notch dive sites, including the well-known “The Wall” in Aitutaki, which has a sharp drop-off into the deep ocean. The MV Mataora, a former passenger and cargo ship that was sunk in 1990 to build an artificial reef, is another shipwreck that divers can explore. Numerous tour companies offer day trips for snorkeling excursions to the uninhabited islands that surround the Cook Islands, where visitors can discover the pristine reefs and deserted beaches.

If you would like to book to go diving or snorkeling in the Cook Islands, click here or on the image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Take a Lagoon Cruise in the Cook Islands

Lagoon cruises are one of the most well-liked pastimes in the Cook Islands. Visitors can take a tranquil tour of the lagoon’s coral reef-enclosed lagoon, which is filled with tropical marine life. Lagoon cruises come in a variety of styles, including glass-bottom boat tours, sunset cruises, and snorkeling cruises.

Visitors can engage in a range of activities while on a lagoon cruise, including swimming, snorkeling, feeding fish, and even trying their hand at fishing. Some tours also include a BBQ or traditional island meal on a remote beach. Additionally, since many tours feature commentary and storytelling from knowledgeable local guides, tourists can learn more about the history and culture of the Cook Islands.

The Vaka Cruise, a classic Polynesian-style catamaran, is one of the most well-liked lagoon cruises in the Cook Islands. On the Vaka Cruise, guests can enjoy live entertainment, a delectable island-style buffet, and a daytime or sunset cruise. Overall, everybody visiting the Cook Islands should take a lagoon cruise.

If you would like to book to a cruise of the Cook Islands, click here or on the Cruise Direct image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Take a Cultural Tour in the Cook Islands

A fantastic approach to discover more about the distinct history and customs of the Cook Islands is to take a cultural tour. The island night entertainment, which includes traditional music, dance, and food, is one of the most well-liked excursions. You will be entertained by a variety of acts, including as drumming, singing, and hula dance, and you may savour a sumptuous spread of regional foods, including roasted pig, taro, and coconut bread.

In addition to stopping at historical monuments and museums to learn about the history and culture of the islands, other cultural excursions could include visits to nearby villages to observe how locals live and work on the islands. You can also participate in traditional craft programmes to learn how to manufacture shell jewellery or weave baskets.

A cultural trip is a wonderful way to explore this diversity and develop a deeper understanding of the Cook Islands and its inhabitants. The Cook Islands are a singular fusion of Polynesian and European traditions.

If you would like to book to a cultural tour in the Cook Islands, click here or on the Viator image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Relax on the Beach in the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are renowned for their gorgeous beaches, clear waters, and laid-back vibe, making them the ideal location for a beach getaway. Finding the ideal place to relax and enjoy the sun is simple thanks to the islands’ variety of beaches, which range from quiet coves to large expanses of white sand.

One of the most well-known and gorgeous beaches on the island of Rarotonga is Muri Beach. It offers a variety of water sports, such as paddle boarding and kayaking, as well as shallow seas ideal for swimming and snorkelling. With its lovely palm palms and clear waves, One Foot Island in Aitutaki is another well-liked beach location.

A leisurely stroll along the seaside or a picnic with a view are other options for visitors. Numerous beachfront eateries and cafes serve up delectable regional fare and energizing cocktails. In general, a trip to the Cook Islands would not be complete without some downtime on the beach.

  1. Take a Fishing Trip in the Cook Islands

Anglers will find heaven on the Cook Islands. A day or half-day fishing trip can be booked through any of the numerous fishing charter companies that operate around the islands. These fishing excursions can be tailored to the visitor’s preferences, whether they be for reef fishing, deep sea fishing, or bone fishing.

Beginners and families with young children love to go reef fishing. For smaller fish like snappers and trevally, it includes fishing near coral reefs. Deep-sea fishing is better suited to seasoned anglers seeking a challenge. Larger game fish like marlin and tuna are targeted by open-ocean fishing. Anglers that enjoy bone fishing hunt for the elusive fish, which are renowned for their speed and battling prowess.

Visitors can take a day on the water and enjoy the breath-taking vistas of the ocean and neighboring islands, regardless of the sort of fishing trip they choose. Fishing in the Cook Islands is an outstanding experience thanks to the seas’ clarity and abundance of marine life.

If you would like to book to a fishing tour in the Cook Islands, click here or on the Klook image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Scooter or Bicycle Tours around the Cook Islands

Cook Islands scooter or bicycle excursions are a fantastic way to see the islands at your own leisure while taking in the breath-taking scenery and warm climate. On the islands, there are numerous scooter and bike rental options, which makes starting a tour simple and practical. There are routes ideal for all skill levels, from easy beach rides to more difficult inland routes, whether you are an experienced cyclist or a beginner.

The 32-kilometer-long Ara Metua track, which circles Rarotonga, the largest island in the Cook Islands, is a well-liked cycling route. The trail goes past numerous significant cultural and historical sites, including the Arai Te Tonga Marae, a holy location for the Cook Islands Maori people, and gives beautiful views of the highlands and coasts.

Scooter excursions are a fun and easy way to explore the islands for people who want a more relaxed pace. Private beaches and breath-taking vantage points are just a couple of the stunning locations on the islands that guests can visit on guided tours provided by scooter rental businesses.

You are sure to have a fantastic experience touring the Cook Islands whether you choose a scooter or bike trip.

If you would like to book to a scooter or bike tour of the Cook Islands, click here or on the BikesBooking.com image below to book your own bike to go around the Cook Islands.

  1. Visit the Punanga Nui Market in the Cook Islands

The main market in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, is Punanga Nui Market. Locals and tourists may purchase for fresh food, regional crafts, souvenirs, and apparel in this bustling and colorful market. Every Saturday morning, the market is a well-liked tourist destination.

A range of regional fruits, vegetables, and spices that you would not find elsewhere can be found at the market. Additionally, there are booths offering handmade goods like bags, jewellery, clothing, and accessories. You can witness neighbourhood artists manufacture exquisite carvings and deftly woven hats and baskets.

Along with the shopping, there are food stalls offering mouth-watering regional fare like fresh fish, poke, and grilled meats. The market is a terrific place to meet locals and experience some of the island’s food.

  1. Hike to the Needle in the Cook Islands

One of the most well-liked hikes in the Cook Islands is to the Needle, sometimes referred to as Te Rua Manga. Rarotonga, the largest island in the Cook Islands, is home to the remarkable pinnacle rock feature known as The Needle. The three to four-hour round-trip walk to the Space Needle is rated as moderate to challenging due to the steep inclines and rocky terrain, but the breath-taking views from the top are well worth it.

The climb starts at the Wigmore’s Waterfall parking lot and ascends through a forested area before coming out onto exposed ridge lines that provide stunning views of the island’s shoreline and rugged interior. There are rest spots along the walk, one of which is a picnic area with a breath-taking view of the valley below. The trail is clearly marked.

The walk demands a fair amount of fitness, but most individuals can complete it if they have the right footwear and equipment. Early in the morning is the ideal time to walk to the Needle because it is colder and the scenery is crisper.

  1. Festivals in the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands, a beautiful group of islands in the South Pacific, are home to a thriving festival scene that highlights the Polynesian heritage and culture of its inhabitants.

The Te Maeva Nui Festival, which honours the Cook Islands’ independence every year in July, is one of the most important celebrations there. This week-long festival includes exhibitions of arts and crafts, traditional music, dancing competitions, and cultural performances. The community comes together during this time to celebrate their history and pay respect to their ancestors.

The Island Night, which is a renowned festival as well, takes place frequently around the islands. It gives guests the chance to experience the vivacious Polynesian hospitality, savour local cuisine, take in energetic dance performances, and become immersed in the hospitable and friendly environment of the Cook Islands.

The Vaka Eiva Festival is a well-liked occasion for fans of water sports, especially canoeing and paddling. Participants from all over the world are drawn to it to compete in thrilling races and take part in the camaraderie of the paddling community.

The Gospel Day celebrations, the National Agriculture Show, and the Tiare Festival, which highlights the lovely floral diversity of the islands, are just a few of the other occasions and holidays that happen throughout the year.

These celebrations in the Cook Islands offer a wonderful chance for tourists to get a taste of the natives’ warm hospitality, distinctive culture, and delectable cuisine while taking in the spectacular scenery of this tropical paradise.

Overall, anyone visiting Rarotonga should make sure to visit the Punanga Nui Market. It is a terrific place to get a taste of the local cuisine, learn about the culture, and find some interesting trinkets to bring back home.