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Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand, comprising 15 islands spread over a vast expanse of ocean. The islands are renowned for their vivid turquoise lagoons, palm-fringed beaches, and rugged volcanic peaks, offering a rich Polynesian culture along with excellent opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and island-hopping.

Rarotonga, the most populous island, serves as the administrative and cultural hub, while Aitutaki, with its breathtaking lagoon, is a popular destination for visitors seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

Day plans

Spend a day exploring around

day 1

Exploring the Beaches

morning:Start your day with a peaceful walk on Muri Beach. Take in the stunning sunrise and breathe in the fresh ocean air. Consider grabbing a delicious breakfast at Sails Restaurant, known for its beachfront dining.

afternoon:Embark on a snorkeling adventure in the crystal-clear waters of Aroa Beach. Discover the vibrant marine life and colorful coral reefs. Enjoy a delightful lunch at the Mooring Fish Cafe, offering fresh seafood with oceanfront views.

evening:Experience a captivating sunset at Titikaveka Beach. As the night falls, head to Wilson's Beach Bar for a relaxed evening by the shore with cocktails and live music.

day 2

Discovering Cultural Heritage

morning:Visit Te Vara Nui Village to immerse yourself in Cook Islands' cultural heritage. Engage in traditional dance and craft demonstrations, and gain insights into local customs and traditions. You can savor authentic Island cuisine at Tamarind House for your morning meal.

afternoon:Explore the Te Rua Manga, also known as The Needle. Embark on a scenic hike to marvel at the breathtaking views of the island from the top. For a cultural-infused lunch, dine at Moko's 'Ono' Takeaway, offering traditional Cook Islands dishes.

evening:Indulge in an enchanting evening at Highland Paradise Cultural Centre for a captivating cultural show followed by a traditional feast, providing a memorable immersion into island life and customs.

day 3

Adventure in Nature

morning:Start your day with an invigorating hike to the Wigmore's Waterfall. Immerse yourself in the lush rainforest surroundings and enjoy the serene beauty of the cascading falls. For breakfast, taste the delectable offerings at The Café at the Beach, renowned for its beachfront setting and delightful menu.

afternoon:Embark on a kayaking expedition in the pristine waters of Aitutaki Lagoon. Paddle through the stunning turquoise lagoon and discover hidden islets. Relish a scrumptious lunch at Koru Café, offering delectable dishes with panoramic lagoon views.

evening:Conclude the day with a tranquil evening at the luxurious On the Beach Villas. Enjoy a private beachfront dinner experience, basking in the serenity of the sandy shores and swaying palms.

day 4

Lively Island Vibes

morning:Seize the day with a refreshing swim at Black Rock Beach. Delight in the clear waters and stunning rock formations. For breakfast, head to The Mooring Fish Cafe and enjoy a delightful meal while overlooking the panoramic ocean views.

afternoon:Experience the vibrant Punanga Nui Market, a bustling hub of local crafts, food, and live music. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and interact with local artisans. Relish diverse cuisines at the Market for a flavorful lunch.

evening:Feel the pulsating rhythm at Windjammer Restaurant & Bar, offering a dynamic evening with live music and a mix of local and international cocktails, making it the perfect spot for a fun night out.

Cook Islands Famous Food

Must-Try local dishes

Ika Mata

This traditional dish consists of raw fish marinated in lime or lemon juice, coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, and chili.

Must-Try!

Rukau

Rukau is a taro (root vegetable) dish cooked with creamy coconut cream and often served with fish or meat.

Curried Eke

Eke, or octopus, cooked in a rich and flavorful curry sauce, is a popular and unique local delicacy.

Food Markets & Street Food

A food market and street food guide

Punanga Nui Market

Located in Avarua, this vibrant market offers an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and local food stalls selling authentic Cook Islands cuisine.

Muri Night Markets

Held in Muri Beach, these night markets are a must-visit for a wide selection of affordable and delicious street food, from seafood to traditional dishes.

Dietary Restrictions

Navigating dietary restrictions locally

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Most restaurants and cafes in the main tourist areas offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes, often centered around fresh produce and tropical flavors.

Vegetarian, Vegan

Gluten-Free Options

While traditional dishes may contain gluten, many eateries in the tourist areas are accommodating to gluten-free diets and can tailor dishes or suggest suitable alternatives.

Gluten-Free

Restaurants & Cafés

Best places to eat and drink in Cook Islands

Trader Jacks

Situated in Avarua, Trader Jacks is a popular waterfront restaurant serving a fusion of local and international cuisine with stunning views of the harbor.

Tamarind House

Set in a beautiful colonial house, Tamarind House offers an upscale dining experience featuring Pacific and Asian fusion cuisine in a picturesque garden setting.

Popular cities in Cook Islands

Explore local food, attractions and more!

Avarua