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|
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!).
The Cook Islands lie in the center of the Polynesian triangle about 4,500 km south of Hawaii.
The time is the same as in Hawaii and Tahiti, two hours behind California and 22 hours behind New Zealand.
Rarotonga and Aitutaki offer good hotel facilities and excellent beaches. Travelers can get lost and found on Atiu, Mauke and Mangaia.
Air New Zealand delivers most visitors on its direct flights from Auckland and Los Angeles. Virgin Australia arrives from New Zealand.
Cook Islands Maoris comprise 84% of the population. All are New Zealand citizens.