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Overview to the Cook Islands: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

The Cook Islands

The 15 islands that comprise the Cook Islands’ small archipelago read like a list of the top tropical spots in the world. Inevitably, time here is spent lounging on a beach, sipping from a coconut, delving into coral-colored waters or scaling the verdant volcanoes.

The islands divide into two, with those to the north boasting brilliant coral and those to the south hosting most of the population (and the odd volcano too!). Raratonga is probably the main island, and most backpackers use it as their base before jumping over to smaller isles.

Raratonga, especially, can lay claim to unrivalled scuba and cave diving opportunities. The capital of Avarua is also here, and, despite being tiny by international standards, it still has a serviceable infrastructure, while its colorful Saturday market is great for relaxed browsing.

Away from Raratonga, each island proves notable in its own right: Aitutaki boasts a gleaming lagoon; Mangaia’s raised reefs are a sight to behold; Kavai’s old and craggy volcano is massively impressive, and the beaches on Muri Lagoon step straight out of a Hollywood film.

Whichever way you head, it’s easy to see why the Cook Islands are known as ‘Hawaii Down Under’. And the only difference between here and the American state? The Cook Islands retain a joyously untouched desert island feel that’s impossible not to find entrancing.