Should we go to the Cook Islands?

Old Sep 15th, 2005, 07:04 PM
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Should we go to the Cook Islands?

Hi,
My husband and I (late thirties)just returned from two weeks in Hawaii with our two teenagers. Even though we had a wonderful time as a family, I didn't think I got the remote Pacific experience I was looking for. I felt I was in America, just a little removed. We went to Oahu(briefly), Big Island (loved exploring it), and Maui (VERY beautyful, but uneventful). I am still craving that REAL pacific Island feel ( whatever that may be...) My husband and I have our 20th anniversay coming up in about 1.5 years (yes, I like to plan early). We are thinking about going to New Zealand for ten days and then to the Cook Islands for a week. My question about the Cook Islands: If you were looking for a physically beautiful, unspoiled, not impoverished island, that is safe, culturally intact, and has beautiful swimming beaches, would you choose Rarotonga? I saw pictures of the lagoons which look dreamy, but can you actually "frolic" in the water without stubbing your feet? Is it deep enough? I really don't care about waves, but want to be at least neck deep in safe, clean water. Will I get this on the Cook Islands. Anyone who has been there, please help. I so appreciate it!
Kirsten
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Old Sep 15th, 2005, 07:11 PM
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have you considered samoa?
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Old Sep 15th, 2005, 07:51 PM
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Well, you probably shouldn't get me started on the Cooks - my favorite destination, bar none. Been to Hawaii (Oahu, Kauai & Maui) and love it (especially Kauai - my favorite by far), but none of them come close to the dreamy exotic feel of the South Pacific. These islands are what people DREAM of. Calm safe lagoons full of fish - and yes the water is deep enough to frolic (not in every single spot in the lagoons, but in most).

Having said that, Rarotonga does not feel "remote" (though Aitutaki does). It's modern and developed - but not crowded. In general Rarotonga feels a BIT like the north shore of Kauai - or Hana on Maui.

Though the Cooks will feel much different from Hawaii - and more like the South Seas - with a stronger Polynesian flavor, if you want an authentic cultural experience then probably Tonga or Samoa are a better choice.

If you've not seem it yet, I've tons of information on the Cooks:

http://www.epinions.com/user-lordbalfor

http://community.webshots.com/user/lordbalfor

Ken
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 08:10 AM
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You can't go wrong going to the Cook Islands. It will not feel at all like Hawaii - you will know that you are in an entirely different country and culture. Raro is a wonderful island, but if you want a more remote and authentic Pacific Islander experience, you should also consider visiting one of the outer islands. I would recommend visiting Aitutaki because it is so beautiful, and Atiu because it is so much less touristy.

Another choice would be Tonga, which is less touched by the outside world. Of course, there are pros and cons to that - if you want snappy customer service, fine dining, and luxurious lodging, this in not the place to go. There are various remote and quiet locales in the Ha'apai Group and Vava'u groups of islands.
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 08:04 PM
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A few years back we visited the Polynesian Cultural Centre on Oahu, Hawaii and it really motivated us to visit the different islands. We've been to Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and have just come back from Tahiti (including Moorea) and the Cooks (including a day trip to Aitutaki). We enjoyed them all but Samoa (Western, not American)and Rarotonga were our favourites. Samoa is a very different cultural experience - I would say that it definitely fits your 'culturally intact but not impoverished request'. It is beautiful, though not quite as beautiful as Moorea or Rarotonga, and the people were the friendliest that we've come across anywhere in the world. We've found somewhere to "frolic" in the water everywhere, but I think you are going to risk stubbing a toe on any coral island and you may find water that is "neck deep" harder to find!

Gaynor
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Old Sep 18th, 2005, 07:15 PM
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Hi,
Everyone, Thanks for your VERY helpful replies! I think I was right on target with my gut instinct about the Cook Islands. I like to have comfortable accomodations, but do not need "snappy" service. If anyone has some good detailed input about Rarotonga (i.e. places to stay, best beach, fun restaurants, great snorkeling spots, etc.), please let me know. So far, thanks for all your help!
Kirsten
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Old Sep 20th, 2005, 11:43 PM
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http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=34679696
 
Old Sep 28th, 2005, 01:12 PM
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GO! GO! GO! Rarotonga is my favorite place in the world so far. Everything was nice. We rented a house for a week steps from the beach and spent most of the time in the water. Aitutaki was nice too, though not much to do besides swim and snorkel and day cruise. Beautiful place!
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