Let me introduce you to the Cook Islands; a place for new discoveries of long-held traditions and to relax in the overwhelming warmth of the Cook Island people and their beautiful lush environment.
Located in the South Pacific Ocean, the Cook Islands are a collection of islands, with the largest and most visited being Rarotonga. You’ll want to spend your time here, with many local tour operators to choose from and the call of the warm ocean waters, you’ll be happy for at least a week, or longer to really settle into the local “island time” lifestyle.
To give you a taste of what you’re in for, I thought I’d introduce you to my favourite four tours on the island; Koka Lagoon Cruise, Raro Safari Tours, Te Vara Nui, and Storyteller’s Cycle Tours.
If you’re down for a laugh on the lagoon, Koka Lagoon Cruise should set you right. Our tour started off with some tunes on the boat, then a bit of snorkelling in the lagoon, before a freshly prepared lunch on the far beach and entertainment from the then World Champion Coconut Palm Climber. All our tour guides were very friendly and had us laughing the whole day. If you’re in Raro, a lagoon cruise is a must-do!
For those who want to really get into the back roads of the island and explore a bit deeper, a 4 wheel drive tour is a great way to get up and around the island. Our local Raro Safari Tour guides had stories only locals do, and I loved feeling the wind in my face from the back of the truck. Top marks for cracking the coconut right in front of us (and doing it in slow motion for our cameras).
Singing and dancing is such an important part of the Cook Island culture, so what better way to get among it than with an island night experience. At Te Vara Nui they had multiple options for our visit, including a cultural village tour, the over-water night show and a buffet dinner, or a combination of the above. Check their website for up to date info and more details.
If you’re in Raro on a Sunday, perhaps leave this one for then, because with most of the locals at church on a Sunday, this was one of the few tours we found to be running (of course check with the operators for current schedules). This tour lived up to its name with a local guide who took us through the village and into the forest with pit stops for short stories along the way. It was great to get out on a bike in this small island community – just remember your insect repellent!
Disclaimer: The above views are based on my experience of the tours mentioned and this article is not sponsored in any way. If you’re interested in any of the above tours please check with the tour operators for current details.