Darby's Destinations Luxury Travel - Italy

What you can expect from islands in The Cook Islands

Find out where to go and what to do in this South Pacific archipelago

December 9, 2022

Have you ever thought about booking a trip to the Cook Islands? If not, you might want to consider adding it to your bucket list. This destination is a Polynesian paradise, with adventurous activities, opportunities to relax, and everything in between.

The Cook Islands are comprised of 15 islands, some of which have daily flights between islands. Situated in the middle of Hawaii and New Zealand, these islands boast an ideal climate, with an average yearly temperature of 80-82˚F. Keep reading to learn about some of the top things to do in the Cook Islands!


Although it is one of the larger islands, you can drive across Rarotonga in just 45 minutes. Despite being the most popular, Rarotonga maintains an escape from city life, with no building higher than the tallest coconut tree and no traffic lights in sight.

On Rarotonga, there are more than 100 Polynesian restaurants, cafes, and dining options to enjoy, as well as endless opportunities for adventure. Rarotonga is known for its beautiful mountainous landscapes, scuba-friendly waters, and cultural experiences. Cultural shows and traditional dances can immerse you in the Cook Islands.

Enjoy the water

When it comes to water, the Cook Islands have it all. Their lagoons provide the perfect place to experience some of the most extraordinary things. Year-round warm water makes the islands ideal for exploring sea life, whether by paddleboard or sea scooter. Snorkeling through fish-filled waters or diving to ocean floors can help you create unforgettable memories.

​If you would rather be on top of the water in a boat, there are options for you too! Lagoon cruises, full of food and entertainment, are a great way to start the day with some happiness. A popular island for lagoon cruises is Aitutaki, especially if you are staying on another island.


Nicknamed "Heaven on Earth," Aitutaki is a 50-minute flight from Rarotonga and is known for its gorgeous scenery. With white-sand beaches, a triangular-shaped reef, and secluded lagoons, Aitutaki is a perfect place to escape and relax. Some popular activities on Aitutaki are biking, kayaking, and checking out the world's smallest post office.

Explore the land

Land-based activities are also exciting on the Cook Islands. If adventure is your thing, you may want to check out the hiking trails on the island, especially on the mountains of Rarotonga. These hikes can be self-guided or guided and range in difficulty from beginner-friendly to challenging.

Aside from hiking, cycling and off-roading are also fun ways to explore the land. Bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, buggies, quad bikes, and more can be rented and used as vessels to see Cook Island's beautiful landscapes. Birds, butterflies, and waterfalls are scenery to look out for when exploring.

Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, and Mitiaro

These islands, some of which are millions of years old, all have different things they are known for. For example, Atiu boasts organically grown coffee beans, which can be smelled throughout the island. Mauke is known as the garden of the Cook Islands, as it has a gorgeous reef and luscious plants.

Outer islands

The other islands of the Cook Islands, including Nassau, Palmerston, Manihiki, etc., are more remote and private. Some of them are harder to get to by flight, but they can all be reached by boat. Each of the outer islands is unique and features its own charm and appeal, although they all share an ability to provide a true escape.

Experience the culture

The Cook Islands also have a culture and history that is rich and exciting. Depending on which resort you are staying at, you may get to see a cultural show known as "Island Night." Many resorts host these to allow visitors to learn about the history and culture of the Islands first-hand. Not only will you get to watch the locals perform traditional dances and hear cultural songs, but you will also get to participate in the dances while trying some tasty food!

Don't worry if your resort does not have an "Island Night," as there are still several cultural tours or local markets you can attend to get the same cultural experience.

If you want to learn more about how you can see the Cook Islands, contact us to discuss booking a trip that will be a trip of a lifetime.

Ready to embark on your own journey to the extraordinary?