Lord Balfor can you help?

Old Sep 27th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Lord Balfor can you help?

After reading about the Cook Islands (mostly thanks to you), I have become very interested in visiting them for my honeymoon next June. I know that you have warned that it is somewhat cool there in June. About how cool is cool? I come from the southern California coast, and it is usually in the 70s and sometimes lower 80s in the summer. Our other option is FP, but it is very expensive, and we could probably only afford to go to Moorea and not Bora Bora. However, we could probably afford fairly upscale places on both Rarotonga and Aitutaki. I have looked at your comparison of Hawaii, FP, and the Cooks and am still undecided (except to know that we don't want to go to Hawaii). What would you recommend?
mntwineball is offline  
Old Sep 27th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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OK - first off, the disclaimer: I've not been to the Cooks in June so the following is based upon 2 things - #1: Comparing winter temps (remember June is early winter in the Cooks) with winter temps in Hawaii (same latitude, but northern hemisphere) - which I HAVE been to during the late winter. #2: Comments by other folks who've been there then and have commented on the temp.

Now that that's out of the way, let me say this: If you look at Weather.com (which I do NOT recommend for forecast info in the Cooks but is fine for historical info), you will see that Rarotonga has an average June high of 77 degrees and a low of 66. This is pretty pleasant weather (especially when you remember that it's winter), and actually almost identical to summer weather in Seattle (where I live). It's also virtually identical to the winter lows on the windwards shores of the Hawaiian Islands (places like Hana, Hanalei, etc). Lots of Americans go to Hawaii in the winter and find it to be wonderfully warm - because they are coming from someplace colder. Hey, if you're coming from Boston, 77 in December is pretty darned toasty. However if you're coming from Boston in June, then 77 is nice, but certainly not hot. So really, the issue is (to a certain degree anyway) largely a matter of perception. In your case, you'll likely find it feeling like home tempwise, but more humid. So - if the weather is average you'll probably find Raro to be pleasant, but not hot - and probably warm enough to swim.

The big "if" here however is in the phrase "if the weather is average". Obviously if it's warmer than average it will be fine for you. However, if it gets a cool streak (which apparently sometimes happens) and the daily highs during the time you are there are only in the low 70's, my guess is you'll find it a bit too cool for swimming. I personally like it to be 80+ when I swim - though I have swam in Hawaii in 77 weather and found it to be "ok" (72/73 or so would be way too chilly for me though).

My experience is that places like the Cooks seldom vary much from the daily averages, but it does happen from time to time, - so you are running a bit of a risk. It will almost certainly still be summer-like, but will it be warm enough to swim (a BIG reason you are there)? Most likely, but not a certainty.

Aitutaki would be the place to spend most of you time in this case, as it tends to be warmer.

From what I've read, MOST people (including Americans) usually seem to find the weather OK that time of year. The water is a bit cool (as are the evenings) but in general folks seem to enjoy themselves and make few comments about it being chilly. Once a while however I DO hear from folks who found it a bit too cool for them. I rarely hear such comments about Aitutaki, however - and almost NEVER about French Polynesia (I can only recall 1 or 2 cases). This is the only time of year where I'd be tempted to stay on the west side of Raro over the south shore (since the west side is more sheltered from the wind).

I know that's kind of a wishy-washy answer, but it's as accurate a guess as I can make.


LordBalfor is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2006, 04:23 PM
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Thank you so much for your detailed response! That was very helpful. I am still in the process of talking it over with my fiance and trying to make a decision, as well as pricing out the two choices. We are tentatively going to go with FP just because we are afraid of the weather and water being too cool. If we don't go to the Cooks this time, we will definitely go for our next vacation. Thank you for all of your valuable information that you have posted on the Cooks. I probably wouldn't have found out about them otherwise. I will update you soon if we do decide on the Cooks though. Thanks again for your help!
mntwineball is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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Glad I could be of help.

If you choose FP but cannot afford Bora Bora and must "settle" for Moorea don't feel at all bad. The fact is, in many people's eyes (including travel author Arthur Frommer) Moorea is the nicer island. In fact, he lists (in his list of the 10 most beautiful islands in the South Pacific) Moorea at #1, Bora Bora at #2, Rarotonga at #3, and Aitutaki at #4. I've been fortunate to see all four of these islands and though I would reverse the order of #1 & #2 there is NO doubt that Moorea is an incredibly beautiful place and less "overdeveloped" than Bora Bora. It's also a cleaner, neater island - with an almost park-like feel to it - whereas parts of Bora Bora are a bit scruffy.

So, whereever you choose to go, don't feel like you are giving up anything by making whatever selection you make. There are NO bad choices here. These are all wonderful islands - the kind of places that people picture in their minds when they envision a tropical paradise (much more so than Hawaii, in my opinion).

So have a good time planning your trip and if you have any additional questions feel free to ask. Keep in mind however that my experience with FP is back aways now (back in 2000) so folks like ALF have much more (and recent) knowledge than myself.

Glad to help however I can though.

LordBalfor is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2006, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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We went to Moorea, Rarotonga and Aitutaki in August 2005 (can't speak for June though) and the weather was wonderful everywhere - an occasional shower on Moorea, just 1 in the Cooks and temperatures during the day were warm and comfortable, rather than overwhelmingly hot - I got a good tan! Evenings in the Cooks were cool but never cold - we certainly never needed more than a long-sleeved shirt. We snorkelled in each place without a suit and were never cold (but we are from UK). Next year we are planning to go back to Rarotonga because we loved it so much. We rarely visit the same place twice because there are so many new experiences to be had, but for us Rarotonga was really special (you don't mention what your interests are, so you might want something different).

gaynor is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2007, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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We visited the Cooks four years ago in April. The water was wonderfully warm, but the last five days were very rainy (flooding on the highway). We want to visit again and love Rarotonga more so than Aitutaki. Would September or October be a good time as far as ocean temperature and dry climate?

diane37 is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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Diane37 - You were there the same time as we were - and yes the weather was horrid during part of that time. We had terrific weather up until just after the full moon (had dinner at Sails and watched the moon rise over the motu). The Lagoon was very shallow and very clear (calmest I think I've ever seen it) - then on Easter evening (as I recall) the weather turned terrible and was pretty lousy for the next 10 days or so. That was pretty atypical for the Cooks any time of year and April is generally a pretty nice month (both from my own experience and from what I've read).

Having said that, both September and October will likely bring more sunshine (both are "dry" months) but both the air and the water will be at about their coolest - with daily highs typically in the upper 70's or so (compared to the low 80s for April). March/April has the warmest water temps.

Of course, no one can tell for sure what the weather is going to do. When we return again, it will likely be in early April again.

LordBalfor is offline  
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