Our hired kayak Photo by Daniel Pietzsch via Flickr Creative Commons

With 15 diverse islands scattered through the vast Oceania, The Cook Islands is a true playground for the adventurous. Whether you are looking to wade in the crystal lagoons, get a tan on the powder white sand beaches or simply enjoy the festive island nightlife, you will find no shortage of things to do here. The absence of high-rise hotels and overly commercialized cities just adds to the charm. With only a handful of tourists visiting most of the islands, you can easily find a peaceful spot for soul searching.

It is hard to pick a single place to represent the beauty of the Cook Islands, but Rarotonga is the most popular. From rugged mountain trails, historic wonders and gorgeous beaches to a stunning coral fringe, everything seems to be in this atoll. You don’t want to miss the marvels of the other islands as well, especially the sprawling coral lagoon of Aitutaki and the colonial Avaura.

Trails around Rarotonga provide opportunities for all kinds of adventures. Bush walking is a good way to see stunning natural attractions and visit traditional villages. Travelers who are more active can take on the challenging hiking and trekking paths up the famous Raemaru Mountain. Mountain biking through ancient pathways, inland tracks, valleys and sprawling plantations is also a worthwhile feat, as are bike tours of the Cook Island beaches.

Island Way Adventures offers comprehensive adventure packages for those looking for a complete experience. In addition to nature trips, unique cultural experiences like drumming and dance lessons are offered. The same company gives you a peek into the fascinating island traditions through shows that feature “island night feasts” in the mountains, plus tours of the sacred village of Puaikura. Guided historical tours of Avaura and the landmarks are offered by Cook Island Tours.

Jetsave Travel is a trusted provider of sea-based activities like snorkeling over the colorful coral fringe of Rarotonga, swimming in the splendid lagoon of Muri Beach and scuba diving the canyons, caves and coral lagoons. Deep-sea fishing, paddling and canoeing are also exciting ways to discover the rich waters and unmatched scenery around the Cook Islands. Lagoon cruising in a glass bottom boat and tours of the expansive marine reserve around Aitutaki Island should not be missed, in addition to island experiences like ukulele lessons and coconut tree climbing demos. Koka Lagoon Cruises specializes in cruises with entertaining cultural side trips.

Island Hopper Vacations takes visitors to an all-out tour of the Cook Islands, offering a laundry list of water and land activities, exciting island nights, the beach life, and even full day aerial tours with scenic flights over lagoons, spectacular plantations, reefs, and picturesque inland valleys. Exciting four-wheel drive safaris and coach tours are also a great alternative to hiking and trekking for those less active.

Click here to learn about Attractions in the Cook Islands