Cook Islands Travel Packages
What is your dream Cook Islands destination? Is it the lush green main island of Rarotonga with its signature volcanic pinnacle? Or is it tiny Aitutaki, a mere seven-square miles of sand and jungle warmed by the South Pacific sun and surrounded by what might be the world’s most perfect lagoon? Why not visit both? With one of the Cook Islands travel packages from Islands in the Sun, island hopping in the warm, welcoming, English-speaking Cooks is a breeze.
You’ll arrive on Rarotonga, the hub of tourism and commerce, and be transferred to your resort via the sole paved road, which encircles the island for a mere 20 miles without a single traffic light. Beach-fringed and notable for its acres of coconut, banana, pineapple and papaya, Rarotonga is a Polynesian Garden of Eden ideal for exploring on foot (you can do so on a trek with local medicine man Pa). And the island’s lagoon teems with sea-life, making it ideal for snorkeling and diving. Come evening, attention turns to Cook Islanders’ favorite pastime: music. Drums beat, coconut-shell ukulele’s play and hips shake like you’ve never seen before.
Arriving on palm-fringed Aitutaki is like taking a long deep breath and suddenly feeling 10 years younger. This is South Pacific simplicity at it best: old school Polynesian ambience (overwater bungalows) combined with modern hospitality (spas, golf) and a blue lagoon that you’ll be unable to stop staring at. We promise.
The iridescent shimmer of lagoon water, the sweet aromas of pineapple and coconut, the seductive beat of traditional wooden drums, and the ease of an island without a single traffic light—that’s how Rarotonga, the main island in this charming South Pacific chain, delights the senses morning, noon and night.
Yes, it’s an island. But, more importantly, it's a lagoon—the kind of endless lagoon that’s a kaleidoscope of blues too numerous to count and too inviting to resist. Just seven-square miles, Aitutaki makes up for in pure relaxation and authenticity what it lacks in size. A visit is like medication for modern life.
5 REASONS TO TAKE A VACATION TO THE COOK ISLANDS
1. AN UNSPOILED, PRISTINE PARADISE IN THE HEART OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC
For travelers who want to venture off the beaten path and enter into an exotic world of tranquility and beauty. No structure here may be build higher than the tallest coconut palm. Cook Islands have no high-rise hotels and a population of only 15,000 people. White sand beaches meet azure waters and tropical rainforests rise from the volcanic terrain. This is like no other island you have been to. Cooks is one of the last untouched pieces of paradise in the South Pacific.
2. A RICH POLYNESIAN CULTURE WITH A UNIQUE TWIST ALL THEIR OWN
The Cooks are often compared to Hawaii before it was developed and became a hot spot for tourists. It shares the Polynesian culture of Hawaii and Tahiti that has been influenced by European contact and its close relationship with New Zealand. The friendly people of Cooks preserve their traditions and spirituality. Immerse yourself in this special way of life by experiencing the music, art, and dance, and cuisine of Cook Islands.
3. A PICTURESQUE BACKDROP FOR UNFORGETTABLE ROMANCE
Romance is in the air everywhere on the Cook Islands. This magical place can help a new love blossom or rekindle a fading romance. The relaxed pace of island life lets you forget your troubles and appreciate what is important to you. You and your loved ones can share in an adventure or just share a spot on the pearl-white sand. Come for a wedding, an anniversary, a honeymoon, or for no other reason than to share something beautiful with the person you love.
4. AN ESCAPE FROM THE ORDINARY TO INDULGE IN ISLAND LUXURY
If you are looking for discreet luxury and a one of a kind intimate experience, look no further. The absence of major brand name hotels has made room for boutique resorts that offer a variety of impressive accommodations. Stay in a secluded beachfront bungalow, a private lavish suite, or a poolside villa. Take pleasure in your private pool, private garden, private beach, or anything else you may desire. For added indulgence get a massage on the beach or enjoy a fine dining experience on a secluded motu.
5. RIPE WITH ADVENTURE FOR THE EXPERIENTIAL TRAVELER
Adventure seekers will love all that Cooks has to offer. Explore the islands by air, land, or sea. The diverse landscape of beaches, jungles, and mountains is ideal for a variety of exciting activities. There is diving, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and much more. Once you are back on the shore you embark on a hike through the rainforest or a mountain bike trek. For truly exceptional adventure try blue water spear fishing or a native drumming or dancing lesson.
- Cooks Islands is made up of 15 main islands spread out across 2.2 million square kilometers of sparkling ocean
- The islands are half way between Hawaii and New Zealand in the South Pacific
- The capital is Rarotonga, which is also where the international airport is located
- Rarotonga is the gateway to all the other Cook Islands
HOW TO GET THERE
- Air New Zealand offers direct service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Rarotonga (RAR) with a flight time of 10 hours
- You can also get direct flights from Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti
- Flights between islands are provided by the domestic airline Air Rarotonga.
- Flight schedules vary by seasonal demand so check with your Islands in the Sun specialist before departing
Cooks Islands is -3:00 hours difference from Los Angeles. It is in the same time zone as Hawaii. (E.g. when it is 9:00 am in Rarotonga, it is 12:00pm in Los Angeles.
ENTRY AND VISA REQUIRMENTS
For a stay of up to 31 days all visitors must have:
- A valid passport
- Evidence of onward/return travel
Entry requirements are subject to change without notice and we advise that you check with your Islands in the Sun specialist before departure. More information can be found by contacting Cooks Islands Tourism.
Upon departure every visitor over 12 years old must pay a tax of $NZ55. This can be done at Westpac Bank or at the International Terminal in the airport.
There are no required vaccinations for entering Cook Islands.
The Cook Islands are always warm and sunny but a warmer season runs from November to March, with temperatures ranging from 22 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius. A more humid or wet season is from December to March where temperatures reach a maximum of 30 degrees Celsius. Whenever you decide to travel, the air and water will be more and harsh weather is very rare.
English is spoken everywhere in the Cook Islands, however the local language is Maori. A few native words or phrases are always welcomed by the locals. Try “Kia Orana” to “Hello!”
CURRENCY AND TIPPING
The currency is the New Zealand Dollar. Most major foreign currency and travelers checks are exchanged at hotels, money changers, and at the airport. Major credit card are accepted but may charge a usage fee as well as additional fees for foreign transactions. Tipping is not customary in Cook Islands. ANZ and Westpac have branches on the islands and ATMs are available.
WATER AND ELECTRICITY
Water: It is not recommended that you drink the tap water in Cook Islands. Instead drink bottled water which is available everywhere.
Electricity: Electric current is 220 volts and three pronged plugs are used. It is recommended that you bring a universal adaptor to ensure that all your small electronics operate properly. On Rarotonga and Aitutaki electricity is on 24 hours a day but service varies on the more remote islands.
INTERNET AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
Internet: Upscale hotels will offer Wi-Fi connections complimentary or at an additional cost. Internet is provided by Telecom Cook Islands. Internet access is also available in internet lounges, tourist centers, and some restaurants.
International phone and mobile phone services are also provided by Telecom Cook Islands. You may wish to bring an international Sim card with you or purchase one once you arrive.
ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO PACK
- Loose or breathable clothing made from natural fabrics
- Swim suits
- Hat with a brim
Romance on the Cook Islands
Cook Islands make the perfect place for your destination wedding or your exotic honeymoon. The warm breezes and sparkling waters exude feelings of romance and love. You will have an unforgettable experience and go home with priceless memories. Celebrate a wedding, an anniversary, a special occasion, or let the Islands give you something new to celebrate!
Cook Islands Weddings
The Cook Islands are ideal for your wedding celebration. The easy going island mentality makes it simple to plan a stress free wedding. There are many wedding coordinators available on the island and at many of the hotels. Anything you can dream of can be done for your ceremony. Exchange vows on a private motu in the middle of sapphire waters or have a lavish beachfront event complete with tropical flowers and singing birds. Your island wedding can be legally binding if you follow the steps outlined by the Cook Islands Registrar. For more information contact Cook Islands Tourism.
To get married in Cook Islands:
- Both parties must have valid passports and birth certificates
- You must be in Cooks Islands for at least 3 days before your ceremony
- The union must be between man and a woman
- Both parties must be at least 21 years old
- You must obtain a marriage license from the Cook Islands Registrar, which must be applied for in advance within the Islands and require a small fee
- Documentation of termination of any previous marriages
Cook Islands offers full service wedding planning. You will have access to hairstylists, florists, caterers, and photographers to make your day special.
HONEYMOON WEDDING REGISTRY
Islands in the Sun offer a honeymoon wedding registry as a convenient alternative to the traditional bridal registry. Talk to one of our specialists to set up your free registry!
How it works:
- Add items to your registry with your dedicated honeymoon planner
- Inform your friends and family about the trip
- Guests contact us to purchase from your registry
- Collect wedding gifts
- Have the honeymoon of your dreams!
Romance & Honeymoons
Islands in the Sun offer high quality accommodation options whether it is for your dream wedding or for a romantic vacation of a lifetime. You can find your perfect Cook Islands romance or wedding / honeymoon package. Our specialists have helped thousands of couples have an unforgettable time in Cook Islands.
Our Islands in the Sun properties offer a range of dining options from fine to casual dining experiences, ask our experts for more details!
SAILS RESTAURANT AND BAR, RAROTONGA
A fantastic beachfront restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail while overlooking the lagoon. The kitchen serves up island favorites, Asian fusion, and daily chef’s specials.
RAPAE BAY RESTAURANT AND BLACK ROCK BAR, AITUTAKI
This eatery serves the best of the Pacific Rim. The stunning lagoon offers a dreamy backdrop while you enjoy your meal. The main restaurant serves South Pacific delicacies while the Black Rock Café is a popular bar with a casual atmosphere. Both venues have friendly service and inspired menus.
THE BRASSERIE RESTAURANT AND MALS LAGOON BAR, RAROTONGA
Literally on the water’s edge, this establishment is the ideal place for an island dining experience. Take in the sites while dining on themed menus that change nightly, fill up on the buffet dinner, and enjoy the live entertainment from local bands.
TE VARA NUI VILLAGE
Similar to a Hawaiian Luau, Te Vara Nui Village combines dinner and entertainment in a spectacular way. Dancers and musicians put on a show while floating on water surrounded by tropical flowers and lush palm trees. Feast on authentic island specialties and bask in the wonder of this Polynesian culture.
THE BOAT SHED, AITUTAKI
For a chance to mingle with both tourists and locals on the famous Popoara beach, check out the Boat Shed. Dine on delicious food while in a surrounded by wooden walls and sailing décor. A diverse menu offers fresh seafood and other Asian inspired dishes.