South Pacific Question- FP and Cooks

Nov 30th, 2005, 12:22 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 13
South Pacific Question- FP and Cooks


I posted before looking for info about a FP honeymoon, and was looking into Moorea, Bora Bora and Rangiroa. I though I had it all figured out, then took the advice of the board and checked out the Cook Islands.

All island biases aside, we are a young couple looking to relax on our honeymoon. We want a beautiful location with great food, snorkeling and some other interesting things to do. We have 12 days (more or less) and are not looking to fill every day with an activity, but don't want to lounge every day either.

Which location would be better? I feel like I am leaning toward Tahiti just because I have more info about it. The little info I have seen on the Cooks shows that it is less expensive, but also that there is *much* less to do. Is that the case?

Any info will be helpful!
a_smerage is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 01:08 PM
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Yes, there is generally less to do in the Cooks than in French Polynesia. One thing to keep in mind is that all of these islands (except for Tahiti itself) are really small - even compared to places like the Hawaiian Islands. They also (again, except for Tahiti itself) have very small populations. Rarotonga, the largest of the Cooks, has around 9,000 or so, Bora Bora has a bit more than 4,000 while Aitutaki has something under 2,000, etc, etc. etc. As you can see, these numbers are pretty small so there is not an enormous amount of development and/or a wide variety of things to do or places to shop or restaurants to dine at - and almost NO nightlife outside of Polynesian dance shows. Overall, FP seems to have a more well-developed infrastruction in the sense of guided tours and organized activies (jets ski rentals, helicoptor tours, ray-feeding expeditions etc - some of them VERY expensive of course). Bora Bora in particular seems to have a pretty wide variety of such things to do (at least considering the small size of the island) and is sometimes equated with a "South Seas Disneyland" (the authors usually mean this in a bad way). That's one of the attractions of the Cooks (particularly Aitutaki, which is considered to be particularly unspoilt).

However, considering the length of stay you are looking at, it seems to me that you will be able to find plenty to keep you occupied even in the Cooks - particularly if you break up your stay between 2 or more islands (as you seem to be doing). The is also the fact that the Cooks have a couple of potential advantages over FP - notably that everyone speaks English and that the costs are so very much less than in FP.

Though I do think the food in FP is in general much better than in the Cooks and that FP is overall more beautiful, I find the Cooks to be much more friendly and the fact that I don't have to break the bank means I can stay longer for the same amount of cash (a very big plus considering that once I arrive I NEVER want to go home). Our first trip to the Cooks cost us around $7000 USD total and lasted 3 full weeks - and we had absolute waterfront accomodations (rental houses on Rarotonga, a small resort on Aitutaki) everywhere.

Anyway, which is right for you is hard to say. The islands of FP are certainly more spectacular (though only marginally so) and if money is no object then I consider them to be the top choice. The weather is also warmer there (especially during their "winter" when the Cooks are warm, but not really hot - and I really only like to play in the water when it's hot) so the time of year MAY make a difference as well.

Anyway, whichever you choose, don't worry, both are great locations. As long as you can do without the nightlife, you'll likely find the South Pacific region to be absolute heaven.The fact is, it's ALL good.

LordBalfor is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Amanda -

An additional thought/clarification:

The difference in the amount of available activities between FP and the Cooks is tied to the fact that FP is much further along in the tourism development curve than the Cooks are. In fact, many travel writers and visitors remark that Bora Bora is approaching overdevelopment. This is what I meant when I commented that the relative lack of development is one of the attractions of the Cooks over FP. Now in all fairness, the "overdeveloped" status of Bora Bora is very subjective and certainly relative and the fact is that FP has several other islands that are still fairly "pristine" in regards to tourism, so FP as a whole is in no way "overdeveloped" - though some may argue that Bora Bora is.

The Cooks are following along in FP's footsteps, with more expensive resorts coming and certainly more tourist-related activities are on the way. Not everyone is happy about that, but the fact is, that it's pretty hard to stop. One of the big draws of the Cooks is the chance to see such a place before tourism changes the character of the place too much and jades the character of the locals. There are of course people who will say that's already the case in the Cooks even (especially those who've been to Samoa, Tonga, etc), but for most people the Cooks are a good balance of development - with enough modern conveniences but still plenty of the remote "South Seas" feeling (at least on Aitutaki).

Hope this helps a little.

LordBalfor is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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We have holidayed in both places. I would say that Raroyonga is more developed than Tahaa, Huahine and even Moorea but less than Tahiti and Bora Bora. Aitutaki is also developing at a steady pace but is the most beautiful place we have ever visited IMO. Both FP abd thr Cooks are expensive but the Cooks are much better value for $. Both island groups are fabulous.
Best wishes,
andydee is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 07:39 AM
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Thank You!

After more research, we have decided to do Moorea, Bora Bora and Rangiroa. We will be going in late August, decided the weather will be a little warmer there. The language shouldn't be much of a problem for us- I speak French fairly well.

After all that... What is not to be missed? As far as excursions, places to visit, things like that? I'll be staying at the Moorea InterContinental, Bora Bora Lagoon Resort, Kia Ora Village and Kia Ora Sauvage. I hear that I should skip the shark feeding anywhere else and do it at the Sauvage, but I can't find much information about it.

a_smerage is offline  
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