My Impressions of the Cook Islands
I've been in the Cook Islands for five days now, visiting the two most popular
islands here, Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Before I leave, I want to pass along
The Cook Islands are a great place to visit. For the most part,
Islanders are friendly and the general attitude is pretty relaxed, not one
of trying to separate tourists from their money, as it is in more popular
destinations. I was a little surprised at how few tourists there
were here. The area, however, is more densely settled than I had
thought and there aren't many secluded beaches, especially on Rarotonga.
People here live in houses, not in grass huts, and have most of the
conveniences of modern-day life, including television, cars or scooters,
and washing machines. The strong trade winds, which blow constantly from
the east, take a little getting
used to but in general, the climate is very pleasant and the lack of insects
is another plus.
Regarding accommodations, there are several small
family-run lodges here, many of which seemed to be a better deal than the larger
and more expensive resorts. I enjoyed my stay at Vara's and will probably
stay there again next time I visit Rarotonga. With the weak New Zealand
dollar (the official currency of the Cook Islands), lodging as well as food was
a real bargain. Lodging ranges from about $8 a night for a bed in a
not-so-great hostel up to over $200 a night for a top-end bungalow on Muri
Beach, though most rooms range from $20 to $50 a night (all in U.S. dollars not
New Zealand dollars, which are currently worth only about 40 cents U.S.). From what Iíve seen, the more you spend, the
incrementally less you get, with the best overall values being in the $30 to $50
a night range.
definitely coming back to the Cook Islands. I think next time, though,
I'll spend more time on Aitutaki than on Rarotonga, and I want to explore the
smaller and even lesser known outer islands, as well. Rarotonga is nice
but from what I've seen and read, you really haven't seen the Cook Islands
until you get to the outer islands.
Above left: Da plane! Da plane!
The Air Rarotonga turboprop arriving at Aitutaki to take me away.
Flying back to Rarotonga after two days on Aitutaki.
Above right: And an hour later, back at Muri
Beach on "Raro."
Above left: A view of Muri Beach.
And another view.
Above right: Smoke gets in your eyes....
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My Impressions of the Cook