Cook Islands

Discover 15 tropical islands with the most beautiful lagoon in the world

The Cook Islands comprises 15 tropical islands on the other side of the world. They are atolls, annular islands of coral and volcanic activity. Some islands are inhabited, but there are several uninhabited islands as well. The Cook Islands are scattered in Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean. They officially belong to New Zealand, but have a separate status.

The Cook Islands are paradise in real life. Golden beaches, shallow bays with bright blue seawater and a rich underwater world. You can easily tour the Cook Islands. This can be done by small plane allowing for easy travelling from island to island. I've gathered the best sights for your trip including excursions and tours to do.


Rarotonga is the most populous island. And probably the place where your flight will land. The capital Avarua is very lively and perfect for acclimatising. It’s also a great place to get acquainted with the culture. Rarotonga is remarkably rugged. You can even find peaks of more than 600 meters high. As with many other islands, Rarotonga has a shallow lagoon. where you can swim in the light blue, warm water.


The name Aitutaki, makes many travellers hearts beat faster. This part of the Cook Islands is thought to have the most beautiful bay in the world. It is remarkably large; at about 45 kilometers. You'll also find some beaches here. These astonishing beaches make you say that these are one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The shallow lagoon is magically beautiful, with bright blue water where you can see the bottom. It's only when you've seen it that you believe it.


Atiu is a nice rough island. With many secluded beaches, which you  can have to yourself. The island has a number of beautiful caves, which were once below sea level. Like many other parts of the island. In one of the caves lives a special bird, the Atiusalan. This bird resembles a swallow and is only found on this island. A rare and very special sighting.

There are more caves to be explored, including dripping stone caves. Atiu also has a special lake with marshes in the heart of the island. Across the island are a number of hiking trails. This is best to do with a guide, as you can get lost in the gorges on the island. You'll learn a lot from the guides as they have exceptional knowledge and information about the islands. Atiu is located 187 kilometers northeast of Rarotonga. It can be reached by plane, which lands at a small airport.


Mangaia is also nice and rough, with several caves. The highest point is Rangimotia Point (169 meters), from where you have a beautiful view over the island and the coral reefs. Mangaia is the southernmost island of the Cook Islands.

The Northern Islands

The Cook Islands are divided into two groups. The southern group is best known, with Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Aitu and Mangaia. But the Northern Isles are also worth a visit. Here you will find islands like Manihiki, Nassau, Palmerston, Penrhyn, Pukapuka, Rakahanga and Suwarrow. These are almost never visited by tourists, but are very rewarding. With pearl nurseries (black pearl), thatched houses and many pristine beaches.

Large distances between them

The Cook Islands are almost as big as the European continent. The island of Rakahanga is 1,248 kilometres from Rarotonga. So keep the distances in mind.

Snorkeling and diving on Cook Islands

The coral reefs off the coast offer an unprecedented rich animal life. You can snorkel and dive well here. You get to see a lot of fish, rays and various types of sharks show themselves regularly. On the various islands you can rent equipment and book excursions. Of course, you can take along your own snorkeling gear. So you are not restricted to the tour snorkel areas  Ask for on the spot snorkel tips.