Cook Islands Flag

Cook Islands Travel Guide

Cook Islands

The Cook Islands lie in the center of the Polynesian triangle about 4,500 km south of Hawaii. They range from towering Rarotonga, the country's largest island, to the low oval islands of the south and the solitary atolls of the north.

Visitors are rewarded with natural beauty and colorful attractions at every turn. There is motion and excitement on Rarotonga and Aitutaki, peaceful village life on the rest. Since few tourists get beyond the two main islands, a trip to Atiu, Mangaia, or Mauke can be a fascinating experience.

COOK ISLANDS AT A GLANCE
ISLAND POPULATION
(2006)
AREA
in hectares
Rarotonga14,1536,718
Aitutaki2,1941,805
Mangaia6545,180
Atiu5722,693
Pukapuka507506
Mauke3931,842
Manihiki351544
Penrhyn251984
Mitiaro2192,228
Rakahanga141405
Nassau71121
Palmerston63202
Suwarrow440
Manuae0617
Takutea0122
Cook Islands19,56924,007
Cook Islands Map

After Tahiti, the Cook Islands is inexpensive. It's a safe, quiet place to relax and you feel right at home. The local greeting is kia orana (may you live on). Other words to know are meitaki (thank you), aere ra (goodbye), and kia manuia! (cheers!).


Fast Facts

Where

The Cook Islands lie in the center of the Polynesian triangle about 4,500 km south of Hawaii.

When

The time is the same as in Hawaii and Tahiti, two hours behind California and 22 hours behind New Zealand.

Why

Rarotonga and Aitutaki offer good hotel facilities and excellent beaches. Travelers can get lost and found on Atiu, Mauke and Mangaia.

How

Air New Zealand delivers most visitors on its direct flights from Auckland and Los Angeles. Pacific Blue arrives from New Zealand.

Who

Cook Islands Maoris comprise 84% of the population. All are New Zealand citizens.

Highlights

island night, Aitutaki:
dancing, culture, food, fun

makatea of Mangaia:
geology, hiking, nature

Tapuaetai, Aitutaki:
swimming at One Foot Island, lagoon trips

The Needle, Rarotonga:
hiking, geology, nature

Titikaveka snorkeling, Rarotonga:
marinelife