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My Vacation Lady has lots of honeymoon couples who are looking for an exotic, unique and some place different honeymoon destination.   They are hoping to go somewhere that they won’t likely go back to again (or at least for a long time).

One place that we have mentioned to some of our honeymooners has been the Cook Islands.

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What!  You haven’t heard of the Cook Islands???  Don’t worry– many of our honeymooners haven’t so let’s talk about the Cook Islands and why it may be a great honeymoon destination for you.  It’s one of the best kept secrets in the South Pacific- and with good reason.

First of all— where are the Cook Islands?

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They are directly south of Hawaii (actually on the same time zone as Hawaii and Tahiti – so no crossing the international date line).  There are actually 15 different islands within the Cook Islands spread out over 2.2 million square kilometers of the South Pacific Ocean and they are divided into 2 groups – the Northern group and the Southern group.

It’s in the center of the Polynesian Triangle.  The Cook Islands are 10 hours by plane from Los Angeles (by the way- LA is 6 hours from Hawaii, 8 1/2 from Tahiti and 11 1/2 from Fiji).  They are 4 1/2 hours from Auckland, New Zealand and 7 hours from Sydney, Australia.

OK, now that you know were it is—- what else should you know about the Cook Islands?

Some people refer to the Cook Islands as “Hawaii Down Under” — the Hawaii before tourism took a major hold. The islands offer pristine beaches, tropical rain forests, diverse scenery, adventure activities, beautiful lagoons and warm and caring people.  Their hospitality is warm and spontaneous.  The atmosphere is laid back and casual.  If you like the outdoors, the ocean, water sports, exploring, good food, comfortable (but not necessarily luxurious) accommodations and mixing with the locals, you might enjoy honeymooning in the Cook Islands.

So how do you get there?

There is a non stop flight weekly from Los Angeles— it departs on Sunday evening and arriving in Rarotonga Monday morning.  The return flight departs at just before midnight on Saturdays and gets into LAX on Sunday mornings.  This means you have the opportunity to have a 5 nite or 12 nite stay in the Cook Islands.  OR you can include New Zealand in your honeymoon plans (remember, it’s just 4 1/2 hours from Auckland).  That is what a few of our honeymooners had done.

Rarotonga is the home to the international airport and probably the main tourist island.  Another popular island in the southern group is Aitutaki- just about a 45 minute flight from Rarotonga, this island is nicknamed the honeymoon island.

So what is there to do in the Cook Islands?

Aside from crystal clear waters and white sand beaches, the Cook Islands offer just about something for everyone.  Obviously there is just about every sort of water sport you can think of in the Cook Islands :

  • snorkeling
  • scuba diving
  • deep sea fishing
  • sailing
  • wind surfing
  • kayaking
  • stand up paddle boarding
  • lagoon day cruises
  • a day trip from Rarotonga to Aitutaki is a must (if you can’t stay for longer).  One Foot Island is postcard picture perfect and is perfect for romance.

If you can pull yourselves out of the sea for a bit, there are some great hikes, including Pa’s Cross Island Trek.

  • Pa will take you under a canopy of trees to a 400 meter high hike up to the Needle (a unique rock formation and ancient ceremonial area).  Along the way, you’ll hear about the legends of the ancient Polynesians.
  • Take a 4 wheel drive inland tour, and explore the breathtaking scenery from the inland road.
  • Rent a scooter and explore a bit on your own
  • Take an open air cultural village tour and check out the Maori methods of cooking, farming and fishing while listening to traditional legends.
  • Like food and wine?  How about a Dining and Wine Tour ?
  • Visit the market on Saturday morning and experience Market Day.
  • Enjoy a cultural dinner and dance show.

What kind of hotels can you find in the Cook Islands and how expensive is it?

You won’t find large resorts or hotels with over water bungalows.  You’ll find mostly smaller properties (with the majority of them 3-4 star hotels) and a few more luxurious properties.  There are no all inclusive resorts and many are considered to be self catering properties which can include villas or a bach on the beach where you can prepare some of your own meals.

The properties are probably priced on par with similar properties in Fiji and are likely going to be considerably less than the Tahitian Islands.

So why should you consider the Cook Islands for your honeymoon?

It is off the beaten trail with weather similar to Tahiti and Fiji.  You’ll get exotic and unique and the Cook Islands are as untouched and breathtakingly beautiful now as they were when they were first discovered by Western navigators a few centuries ago.

As they say in the Cook Islands–“kia orana”  – may you live long!

My Vacation Lady is the top rated honeymoon specialist in New Jersey according to the couples on Wedding Wire on the Knot.  When it comes to your honeymoon, don’t you deserve the best?