Looking for hard this am Cook Islands

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The entirety of this island nation is stunning. Rarotonga and Aitutaki are breathtaking, ringed by turquoise lagoons and swaying palm trees, encouraging you to do little but relax. The locals are ridiculously friendly and welcoming, and the local dishes are delicious.

As I write this right now, my post is aimed solely at those of you who are lucky enough to be in New Zealand. Still, I recommend heading to Skyscanner and search for all flights over the space of a month, rather than choosing a specific date if you have that flexibility, of course. I recommend spending seven to 10 nights in the Cook Islands. I spent a week there — three days on Rarotonga; four on Aitutaki — and found it to be the perfect amount of time. In actuality, I would have done my split a little differently and had four days on Rarotonga with three on Aitutaki, simply because the latter is pretty small.

I love visiting isolated pockets in the South Pacific that see little tourism.

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I last visited the Cook Islands in January and lucked out when I experienced zero days of rain. Free Wi-Fi is challenging to find in the Cook Islands, even inso I recommend planning to spend the vast majority of your time in the country offline. Most of the hotels, restaurants, and cafes on the island use one of these two providers to connect to the Wi-Fi, and most of the connections are, um, usable.

Keep reading to find out how to visit both Rarotonga and Aitutaki on a budget in I was surprised by how easy it is to visit Rarotonga on a budget. If you want to visit Rarotonga on as tight a budget as possible, your best option is to stay in a hostel: I was thrilled to discover that there are several on the island! Aroa Beachin the Arorangi District that I mentioned above. The staff were so wonderful and friendly, it was easy to meet people and make friends — even as a solo traveller — and there was a lovely swimming pool, barbecue area, and a gorgeous beach beside the adorable huts.

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I thought it was great value for money! Otherwise Rarotonga Backpackers is the way to go! The other area you might want to consider staying in is Avaruain the north, which is the capital of the island and has tons to see and do. If you love museums and culture and enjoy having a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, this is the spot for you.

RAROTONGA TO AITUTAKI: An island hopping adventure with @FIVE GO TROPPO!

The property is in a great location, close to a supermarket, restaurants, and the airport, with air conditioning and hot water showers. And finally, the third region of the island that you should consider staying in is Muri Beachin the southeast, which is the most popular part of Rarotonga.

And for good reason: it has the prettiest beach on the island! The only downside? For that reason, it can be a little pricey. It was in a great location, had great staff, and plenty of cheap eats nearby: it was perfect! Not only that, it also receives great reviews for pretty much everything. Tropical Sands is another great option for Muri Beach. But it receives exceptional reviews and is easily one of the best value, nicest properties on the island.

And a final note here: annoyingly, half of the accommodation in Rarotonga requires you to stay for a minimum of three nights. The cheapest way to explore Rarotonga, then, is by bus. There are three buses in the entire country[! The Cook Islands is famous for their motorbike driving s, which make for a particularly fun souvenir. All you need to do is turn up to the police station in Avarua. Answer a simple quiz full of easy, common-sense questions, then drive up and down a short alleyway, showing you can weave through some cones and indicate when turning.

I book all of my tours through Viator. In Muri, The Mooring Cafe is always full of locals and super-popular for lunch. I highly recommend checking it out for both a cultural experience and to save money.

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Sunbathing on the beach is, of course, what most people come to the Cook Islands for and most guesthouses will have snorkels you can use out in the lagoon, too. The centre of Rarotonga is all about the mountains, giving you tons of options to hike up to viewpoints all over the island.

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Some of the easier hour round trip hikes are the Wigmore Falls track, the Avana Valley track, and the Raemaru track. One of the best ways to explore the Cook Islands is by water, and a lagoon cruise in Muri is the way to go. Unfortunately, their prices are ridiculous and there are currently no ferries. The best advice I can give is to book as early as possible, as soon as you buy your flights to the Cook Islands.

For a thirty. The other alternative is to just turn up in Rarotonga, head to the Air Rarotonga office and book through them. There are reports of people getting fares for half the price by booking last-minute, but you do run the risk of there being no availability on any of the flights. Or the flights being really expensive. And you really do need to head to Aitutaki. Gina was the loveliest human with a fascinating life, and she even gave me a huge hug when she drove me back to the airport.

The bungalows were peaceful and surrounded by jungle, which made them particularly cool in my mind. The lack of air conditioning meant that my room was like a furnace, and the owner was never around whenever I needed to ask a question or buy a new internet voucher. Staying here will give you a true local experience, staying with a welcoming family and being accepted into their home.

Guests write of the owners cooking dinners for them, inviting them on nights out with their friends, and repairing clothes that got torn. How could you not want to stay here? Aitutaki is much smaller than Rarotonga and you can easily explore the entire island in half a day. The one thing I recommend that everyone do in Aitutaki is take a cruise of the lagoon — it was one of the highlights of my five years of travel! I went with Teking Tours and was thrilled with my experience. You can traverse the island within a couple of hours by bicycle, hike up to one of the viewpoints my favourite was Piraki Lookout, but Maunga Pu was great, tooor sunbathe on the beach and I actually found the beaches to be better on Rarotonga.

An easy way to cut down on costs is to eat vegetarian, which I did for much of my time there. Before I came to the Cook Islands, I was under the impression that somewhere so isolated and beautiful would only be for the rich. But just like in the MaldivesI was thrilled to discover that budget travel is a real possibility. These pictures are to die for. After you posted your first post about the Cook Islands, I looked up the cost of flights from the US. The exchange rate is crazy good.

Stayed on aitutaki for a week. We wanted a cheap Tahiti and got more. Your article is spot on. Super cheap black pearls as well. On Aitutaki if you get to the market around or you can get fresh fish before the resorts buy them up. Great post! Thank you so much, Ola! Fantastic profile and amazing photos! Those pictures are stunning!! Oh, that makes me so happy to hear, Lerchan! I am one of the people who got a great last-minute deal flying to Aitutaki — I checked flight prices daily leading up to my trip in March and noticed that consistently the price would drop about half-price three days out.

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Who knows what their current algorithm is, but it pays to play around with dates and check often to see when they drop prices. OMG, Lauren! I am currently looking for where to go on Christmas break… and your post and pics have totally turned my map head around! Cook Islands!!! Just like in Australia! Intrigued now. Snorkeling was good right?

Looking for hard this am Cook Islands

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Cook Islands businesses pray tourism picks up