Bora Bora Motu
Motu Mahana Private Beach
Wading Waiter with Guests
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South Pacific Destinations - Cook Islands
An exotic destination for those who really want to get away from it all is the Cook Islands, where the authentic flavour of an old time South Seas trading station is still maintained. Here, too, you'll find that a strong traditional culture is kept alive and vibrant through song, dance, legends and crafts.
The Cook Islands are a group of fifteen tropical islands set in the heart of the South Pacific, with the largest and possibly the most popular being Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The Islands, named after the Captain Cook, who discovered them, provide spectacular crisp white sand beaches, clear lagoon waters and minimalist, paradise scenery.
Photographs can never convey the breathtaking beauty that is Aitutaki - this magnificent and remote island is the stuff of which dreams are made. It is a triangular-shaped atoll rising up from the floor of the Pacific Ocean, with warm, crystal clear waters filling a turquoise blue lagoon. Dotted around it are uninhabited, palm filled islands or "motus", with sparkling white sand, reminiscent of the sort of a picture a child would paint of a desert island.
Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands and the capital with Avarua being the main commercial and administrative centre. The first Polynesian settlers discovered the island by sailing raro (down) and tonga (to the south) of French Polynesia.
The island is surrounded by a lagoon, which can extend to more than a hundred meters to the reef, then slopes steeply to deep water. The reef fronts the shore to the north of the island, making the lagoon there unsuitable for swimming and water sports, but to the south east, particularly around Muri, the lagoon is at its widest and deepest. This part of the island is the most popular with tourists for swimming, snorkelling and boating. The interior of the island is dominated by eroded volcanic peaks cloaked in dense vegetation. Paved and unpaved roads allow access to valleys but the interior of the island remains largely unpopulated due to forbidding terrain and lack of infrastructure.