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Cook Islands

We have a special place in our hearts for the Cook Islands, a tiny island nation with a big personality. This is what “getting away from it all” looks like, with no chain resorts, no buildings taller than a coconut palm tree, a vibrant Polynesian culture, vast white sand beaches, and pristine aqua lagoons. This is an ideal destination for any occasion, be it romance, adventure, or a family escape. Our experts have personally experienced the wonder of this South Pacific paradise, and are here to help plan your tropical island vacation.

Kia Orana and welcome to the Cook Islands! Kia Orana is a commonly used greeting that means “may you live a long and fulfilling life” and is the essence of the Maori people. The Cook Islands are located in the heart of the South Pacific, halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. These stunning islands boast an idyllic climate and friendly locals, and offer endless land and sea adventures for you to enjoy. With no buildings taller than a coconut tree, paradise awaits!

The two most-visited islands in the Cooks are Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Rarotonga, the vibrant center of the Cook Islands, is a circular island only slightly bigger than 20 miles in circumference. You can drive around the island in about 45 minutes on the Ara Tapu sealed road, through the villages and past the beaches; or the older inland road winds through fields of taro, pawpaw, bananas and local farmlands. Either way you go, exploring this lush island easy and comfortable.

Aitutaki is less than an hour’s flight from Rarotonga and is a must-see location for all visitors to the Cooks. On this small laid-back island, visitors will enjoy less crowds and one of the most stunning lagoons in the world. The lagoon cruise is not to be missed and can be done as a day trip from Rarotonga, or during a stay on the island.

Secluded Luxury Resorts & Lodges

Are you looking for something distinctive, isolated and void of crowds? Our secluded luxury experiences provide exclusive escapes in pristine locations. They are hidden away in quiet settings, where you can immerse yourself in natural beauty and engage in activities that are unique to the area.

FAQs & Travel Tips

Getting There & Logistics

Flights – Air New Zealand offers non-stop service from Los Angeles to Rarotonga once weekly, currently on Sunday. Flights are on a red-eye schedule in both directions with a flight time of approximately 9.5 hours, and you will remain on the same side of the Dateline. Alternatively, you can connect through New Zealand in either direction. Air Rarotonga has a network of flights within the country to reach the outer islands. Our Travel Designers are experts on international and local flights and can arrange all logistics.

Public Transport – The Island Bus offers a convenient and low-cost method of transport, operating regular schedules around the island of Rarotonga. Check with your hotel for current pricing and try to have the correct change available.

Driving – The standard left-hand rule applies to driving in the Cook Islands. Visitors 16 and over can drive in the Cook Islands on their existing US driver’s license.

Visitors will be allowed to drive only the class of motor vehicle they are entitled to drive in their home country. If a visitor wants to ride a scooter or motorbike in the Cook Islands and is not licensed to do so at home, he or she will still have to obtain a Cook Islands Driving License. This involves both a theory test and a practical test at the Police Headquarters in Avarua during their open testing hours, as well as the payment of fees for the tests and license.

Visitors whose license is written in a language other than English will need an accurate translation.

Road rules are strict when it comes to speed and drinking and driving, so it’s important to obey all local laws.

Vehicle and Bicycle Rentals – Motor scooters are popular among locals, and some visitors. We suggest scooter rentals for experienced riders only; helmets for both driver and passenger are required for all non-residents in Rarotonga. Car rentals are available from local rental agencies.

Bicycles are a great way to get around the island at a more relaxed pace and can easily be rented if your accommodation does not have bikes available for use.

Weather & Best Times to Visit Special Interests & Unique Activities Accommodation What to Know Culture Language

Flights – Air New Zealand offers non-stop service from Los Angeles to Rarotonga once weekly, currently on Sunday. Flights are on a red-eye schedule in both directions with a flight time of approximately 9.5 hours, and you will remain on the same side of the Dateline. Alternatively, you can connect through New Zealand in either direction. Air Rarotonga has a network of flights within the country to reach the outer islands. Our Travel Designers are experts on international and local flights and can arrange all logistics.

Public Transport – The Island Bus offers a convenient and low-cost method of transport, operating regular schedules around the island of Rarotonga. Check with your hotel for current pricing and try to have the correct change available.

Driving – The standard left-hand rule applies to driving in the Cook Islands. Visitors 16 and over can drive in the Cook Islands on their existing US driver’s license.

Visitors will be allowed to drive only the class of motor vehicle they are entitled to drive in their home country. If a visitor wants to ride a scooter or motorbike in the Cook Islands and is not licensed to do so at home, he or she will still have to obtain a Cook Islands Driving License. This involves both a theory test and a practical test at the Police Headquarters in Avarua during their open testing hours, as well as the payment of fees for the tests and license.

Visitors whose license is written in a language other than English will need an accurate translation.

Road rules are strict when it comes to speed and drinking and driving, so it’s important to obey all local laws.

Vehicle and Bicycle Rentals – Motor scooters are popular among locals, and some visitors. We suggest scooter rentals for experienced riders only; helmets for both driver and passenger are required for all non-residents in Rarotonga. Car rentals are available from local rental agencies.

Bicycles are a great way to get around the island at a more relaxed pace and can easily be rented if your accommodation does not have bikes available for use.