13 BEST THINGS TO DO IN THE COOK ISLANDS FOR AN ULTIMATE TROPICAL GETAWAY
If you want to go on a holiday to get away from the fast-paced city life, the Cook Islands is the place for you. This idyllic tropical paradise lies in the South Pacific, with 15 islands scattered between French Polynesia and American Samoa.
Its remote location is ideal for a summer escape—from gorgeous beaches, stunning natural wonders and friendly locals. This South Pacific gem is home to plenty of attractions, whether you’re seeking an action-packed adventure, a calming retreat or a fun-filled family holiday.
Are you wondering what to do in the Cook Islands? We’ve narrowed down 13 activities that you can add to your Pacific travel bucket list.
13 EXCITING THINGS TO DO IN THE COOK ISLANDS
Swim at Titikaveka Beach
Titikaveka Beach is a crowd favourite among the beaches in the Cook Islands. It lies on the southwest coast of Rarotonga and is popular for its crystal-clear waters. The water is so clean that you’ll see colourful schools of fish and blue sea stars in the translucent waters! Enjoy a day of snorkelling and swimming in the shallow waters of the beach.
Stroll Along Muri Beach
Muri Beach is another must-see attraction in Rarotonga. Imagine shallow stretches of sand surrounded by ripples of aquamarine waters. It paints a picturesque scene perfect for romantic walks by the shore.
The four islets called motu off the shore bring life and vibrance into the surreal seascape. Enjoy a meal in one of the waterfront restaurants with the setting sun as your backdrop.
Snorkel in the Aroa Marine Reserve
The Aroa Marine Reserve is home to pristine waters and rich marine life ideal for snorkelling. Under the sea, you’ll find various marine species such as angelfish, moray eels, Moorish idols, parrotfish and wrasse.
The place is off-limits to motorised boats so your children can safely swim in the waters. You can also try kayaking in the seas or sit back on a beach chair while watching the sunset.
Take a Romantic Walk in the Maire Nui Gardens
Want a change of pace from the ocean? Drop by the Maire Nui Gardens, located a few minutes away from Titikaveka Beach. This lovely garden spans seven acres and is home to different plants and insects.
Take your partner on a peaceful walk inside this horticultural wonder. Don’t forget to stop by and smell the tropical flowers along the way!
Walk Around One Foot Island
The Aitutaki Lagoon experience isn’t complete without stopping by its most visited motu, the Tapuaetai or One Foot Island. True to its name, it’s easy to explore the island on foot.
Bask in the Pacific sun while walking along the beautiful powder-white sand beach. You can also take a swim with the giant clams, trevally and vibrant corals dancing in the waters.
Experience Cook Islands Culture in Te Vara Nui Village
The Te Vara Nui Village offers an authentic cultural experience for travellers in the Cook Islands. Get to know more about the local people with an interactive guided tour and fun activities.
The tour brings you a taste of the island’s culture through local delicacies, lively cultural performances and more. You’ll look forward to fishing and coconut husking with the locals!
Explore the Capital City
When visiting the Cook Islands, you can’t miss the capital Avarua. This laidback town, sitting in the north of Rarotonga, has plenty of attractions worth visiting. Explore the Punanga Nui Market on Saturday mornings for native food vendors, beverages, head dresses, pareu, and souvenirs.
Drop by the Cook Islands Library Museum for a glimpse of the island’s history. If you’re looking for souvenirs, the Perfumes of Rarotonga carry tropical fragrances that you can bring home. After a long day of walking, enjoy a hearty seafood dinner at one of the beachfront restaurants.
Explore the Hidden Wonders Inside a Shipwreck
Join a guided tour discovering the Cook Islands hidden bountiful treasures under the sea, like the “Boiler” shipwreck in the northern part of the island. It’s easy to spot from a distance because the tip of the ship juts out of the water. Swim alongside the marine creatures living inside this wreck.
Another popular shipwreck spot lies off the shore of the capital Avarua. This century-old Matai shipwreck is known for its rusty top sticking out of the water.
Hike Across the Islands
If you want to experience a new hiking adventure, try the cross-island track on the island of Rarotonga. The path starts at the north coast and traverses through dense forests until you reach the southern coast.
The trail offers stunning views and iconic landmarks, such as the Te Rua Manga or the Needle Mountain in the north and the Wigmore’s Waterfall or Papua in the south.
Learn About Cook Islands’ Marine Life
Are you taking your kids on their first holiday? The Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre in Rarotonga is a great place to start! It has interactive displays that will introduce your little ones to the lively sea creatures from the Cook Islands.
Your kids will learn about the island’s coconut crabs, stonefish and hermit crabs. They can also get a closer look at baby turtles and blue sea stars.
Cruise Along the Aitutaki Lagoon
Witness heaven on earth in the Aitutaki Lagoon. Its glimmering cerulean seas dotted with 21 small islands offer a gorgeous view that will leave you in awe.
The best way to explore this lagoon is through kayaking, but you can also cruise by boat. Don’t miss out on the terrific snorkelling spots in the islet of Maina and more!
Climb Up Mount Maungapu
Mount Maungapu is another must-visit place when touring Aitutaki. This mountain stands 124 metres tall, making it the tallest mountain on the island.
The hike up to the peak takes about half an hour, but the breath-taking views of Aitutaki at the summit make the climb worth it.
Roam the Arutanga Settlement
If you’re looking for a quiet retreat, you’ll feel at home in the quaint village of Arutanga in Aitutaki. Unwind from the thrills of the sea and take a relaxing stroll around town. Feel the slow pace of island life while visiting the quiet harbour and historic Cook Islands Christian Church.
EXPLORE THE BEST OF COOK ISLANDS WITH US
The Cook Islands is a dreamy paradise filled with beautiful sights and natural wonders. Every traveller will find a place for themselves here—from romantic beaches, local villages and idyllic charming towns.
Fulfil your dream escape to the South Pacific tropics with our Cook Islands holiday packages.