Far removed from a fast paced life and tucked away in the expanse of the South Pacific is the ocean’s best kept secret. The treasure trove of 15 atoll islands, known as the Cook Islands, is truly a place to disconnect and experience island life. The islands attract active travelers and sun worshippers alike, with opportunities to sit in loungers to soak up the sun (and cocktail) or venture out into the lagoons to explore under the sea.
During our 10 day trip we experienced the tropical beauty of the islands, the delicious food of the cuisine, and the joys of island time.Every morning I would wake to try to catch the sunrise. Sunrise from Titakaveka Beach in Rarotonga. Scooters are a popular mode of transportation in the Cook Islands. Waiting for the bus in Muri, Rarotonga. Car rentals are limited and our first couple of days we relied on the bus to take us around Rarotonga. Main shops in Avarua, Rarotonga. Food stall at Punanga Nui, Saturday Market, in Rarotonga Cook Islands. Fish for sale at the Punaga Nui Market in Rarotonga. View of Rarotonga and the lagoon from the cross-island hike with Pa’s Trek. Goats following our hiking group on Rarotonga during our cross-island trek. During our walks along the beach we would see houses of all sizes. One of our favorite things to do on Rarotonga was to snorkel in the lagoon. The water was incredibly clear, even on days when visibility wasn’t ideal. A beautiful purple sea shell I found on Titakaveka beach on Rarotonga. Every town on Rarotonga had these little markets, similar to convenience stores, where you could buy food from a limited selection. Muri has a night market a few times a week where you can buy delicious, inexpensive food and listen to amazing locals play music and sing. After our stay on Rarotonga, we flew to the atoll of Aitutaki. Although it doesn’t seem possible, Aitutaki is even more secluded than Rarotonga. The lagoon’s shape is the perfect container for the many motu (Islands) that you can visit by kayak or boat. One day we purchased lunch at a cafe and kayaked against arm numbing strong winds to the uninhabited motu of E’e. E’e’s shoreline was overgrown, which forced us to walk along and sometimes in the water where we spotted the eel pictured above. Sunrise from the back of our hut at Aitutaki Village. Snorkeling in Aitutaki’s lagoon requires a boat ride out to the best spots, some even drop you off at the motu, Heaven where you can enjoy an adukt beverage and walk to One Foot Island. After walking across Heaven and the channel between the motu, you arrive at One Foot Island. The view of Aitutaki lagoon from One Foot Island One Foot Island has purple sea shells too. One foot Island from the water. Aitutaki’s lagoon as seen from the highest point on Aitutaki. Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Aitutaki posed to be more difficult than I had expected, with high winds and currents making some areas safer to paddle than others. Many of the churches in the Cook Islands are either made of limestone or are painted white. The food on the Cook Islands was beautiful and delicious. This is our lunch from Tauono on Aitutaki. No dogs are allowed on Aitutaki, but the island does not discriminate against cats. Hermit crabs are a dime a dozen here as well. Stand still and observe the beach long enough and you’ll see plenty of moving shells. Car rental is limited and expensive on Aitutaki so we opted for a scooter. If you look hard enough you can see a child clinging to the woman on the scooter in the background. Sunset on Aitutaki. Taking a trip to the Cook islands is a great reminder to slow down.
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