We're heading to the Cooks! Finally!

Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 02:01 PM
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We're heading to the Cooks! Finally!

Hip,hip,hooray! We've finally made our decision to travel to the Cook Islands this coming December. We can't wait!

If you're interested, we used www.pacific-for-less.com to make our bookings. For two weeks, flying from LAX, including air,hotel,transfers,tax & service = $6000.

We're staying a week at the Sokala Villas on Rarotonga's Muri Beach in a beachfront villa with private pool.

Then, we're going to stay at the Pacific Resort on Aitutaki in a beachfront bungalow.

Our package includes breakfast - and we're going to budget about $50-75/day for food, since we're not big eaters. Can hardly wait!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 09:11 PM
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Hi, You should have a wonderful time. We spent 3 weeks there two years ago and would go back in a moment. The snorkeling is just great almost everywhere and the people are so very nice. We did go over to Aitutaki and I would strongly recommend a lagoon cruise with Bishops. Wendy
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Old Jul 24th, 2003, 02:29 AM
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$6000. for two weeks???? Are you fling first class? That sounds like a lot of money. Your accomodations must be super luxurious then. Have a great trip!! We'd love to hear about your trip so we will be waiting for a report!
 
Old Jul 24th, 2003, 05:24 AM
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The $6000 price is not alot - that's $3000 each of which the air alone is between $1100-$1300.

So that leaves $1700-$1900 (less than $200 person/nt) for transfers, accomm, and tropical bkfts (continental) air to/fr Aitatuki, and Simone has picked some lovely hotels - and she's going in December which is "high-season" and likely more crowded than usual as lots of New Zealanders and Cook Islands return home for the holidays.

But the price is right. Have a wonderful time.
 
Old Jul 24th, 2003, 05:53 AM
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I think the price is reasonable considering the upscale places Simone is staying at. It would definitely be possible to go for that amount of time for quite a bit less money - but not staying at those places. The Aitutaki Pacific Resort (in particular) is very pricey by Cook Islands standards, but certainly looks luxurious. In my opinion, this is likely the premiere place to stay (not only on Aitutaki, but anywhere in the Cooks).

Sometimes folks just want to splurge and live it up. Nothing wrong with that.

Have a great trip Simone. It's something you will remember for the rest of your life (especially the Aitutaki part).

Ken
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Old Jul 24th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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Thanks, everyone! It's nice to see the responses from the familiar "faces" who've helped us make this decision on our vacation to the South Pacific. I made the mistake of placing this posting on the overall Australia & Pacific board, instead of clicking on the sub-board for Cook Islands. So, I'm glad you found this posting! Yes, we are definitely staying at 4/5 star resorts, that's for sure. I think for our first time, we have to stay in really nice places, so we don't get too "shocked" by the disparity between life in other countries, as compared to the US. Of course, next time around, we would love to do the Cooks in a private home rental for much less money - once we're more familiar with the area.

Funny thing is - the US dollar is finally starting to creep back to where it normally is against the NZ dollar, so if we waited, we probably could have gotten these accommodations for less - in another month or 2. But, we're not that adventurous yet - and we wanted everything booked together now.

Good news with the US dollar gaining ground again - most of our souvenirs and excursions will hopefully cost us less than we planned - come December.

I'm counting the days on my calendar!

LordBalfor - can I borrow one of your webshots as a screensaver for my computer? I just can't stop dreaming about our vacation!
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Old Jul 24th, 2003, 02:25 PM
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Simone,

Yes of course. As many as you wish. Lots of folks do. Either load them into the Webshots screensaver (or the screensaver of your choice), or simply set the photos as your desktop wallpaper.

As of today the photos (all albums) have been viewed 1,241,596 times and downloaded into the Webshots screensaver 134,006 times.

Right now my desktop wallpaper is drop-dead gorgeous Webshots photo of La Digue in the Seychelles. Perhaps the only place more beautiful than the Bora Bora (keeping in mind that Aitutaki is not too far behind). It's out of a terrific Webshots album by "zampa67". If you are curious, you can see the album here:

http://community.webshots.com/album/13002081RGDaGCwkUS

He and "Morenobet" has a very nice Seychelles album:

http://community.webshots.com/album/76129458Vkvysr

Take a look, the Seychelles are awesome. Definitely on my "one day" dream list. A lonnnnnnnnng way from Seattle though. Not sure if I'll ever make it there... but in the meantime, I can always dream.

Ken
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Old Jul 24th, 2003, 02:38 PM
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PS:

You won't find things too "third worldish" or primitive in the Cooks. It's a pretty clean and modern place, without the grinding poverty you see in large areas of the Carribean. Different enough to be interesting, similar enough to make you feel comfortable.

By the way, in my previous post I meant to say "He and 'Morenobet' have some very nice Seychelles albums".

Sometimes my fingers can't keep up with my brain (or is that the other way around?).

Ken
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Old Jul 24th, 2003, 04:49 PM
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Ken -
You have a wonderful dream!

The Seychelles are paradise. But for Americans, it's a long way to go for a Beach, regardless how beautiful the islands are. We have some of the prettiest beaches in the world both on mainland, Hawaii and the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America are out our backdoor.

So what you have to do now is plan a trip to Africa (Kenya or So.Africa [and environs]) and then end those amazing experiences with 5 to 7 days in the Seychelles.
 
Old Jul 24th, 2003, 04:54 PM
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Simone -

I had been planning a trip to the Cook Islands and was looking at the Pacific Resort on both Raratonga and Aitutaki, but had to postpone for another time. So you did good with your arrangements and price.

I too usually like to travel at my comfort level, but even in Africa managed to stay at tented camps that cost plenty, yet had all (if not more than) the luxuries of home.

Roughing it can be fun, but for a first taste you do what you're most comfortable with and $3,000/person for two weeks is better than a fair price.

Again, enjoy - I'm sure you'll have a grand time.
 
Old Jul 24th, 2003, 04:57 PM
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Wow SimoneSassett, I guess you and I have different budgets!! $6000. could pay for at least two if not three tropical vacations for me. Hey, its your money and if you have, spend it! Personally, I would pay only 2000. for that and treat myself to a vacation in the winter to St. Martin or somewhere in Mexico for that kind of money. Bon voyage et bon gaspillage!
 
Old Jul 24th, 2003, 05:00 PM
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Soarry Simone, didnt mean to be flip there, It was more for Sandy!
 
Old Jul 24th, 2003, 06:14 PM
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Actually Sandi, if all goes as planned, next March we're off to the US Virgin Islands (our first trip to that part of the world), in search of warm, fairly shallow water teeming with fish. Thinking of 5-6 nights each on St Thomas, St John, & St Croix with a side trip to the British Virgin Islands.

We'll see how the Carribean stacks up against my beloved South Pacific.

Ken
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Old Jul 24th, 2003, 08:48 PM
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cabicou - no worries! I totally understand!

sandi - you're right about Africa. I have seen some amazing pictures of absolutely pristine locations in Africa - and that is on my dream list, too. I would love to hike to the top of Mt. Kilimunjaro!

Lordbalfor - yes, Seychelles/Maldives was the first place I looked into months ago. I saw an article about the Banyan Tree Maldives in a travel magazine and thought - wow! However, the Hilton in Maldives with their fabulous overwater bungalows beats any OWB in FP hands down! Oh wait - then there's the Four Seasons Kuda Hara (sp?) WOW! Now, that's splurging! Oh wait - or Fregate Private Island!

Oh, I guess we can all dream about spending $2000/night for a vacation! haha
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Old Jul 24th, 2003, 08:52 PM
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p.s. - Ken,

I feel like we're "following" you - we're also thinking about doing either the US or British Virgin Islands next go around vacation time. Kind of go back & forth every year. South Pacific one year, Caribbean the next, down south to Costa Rica another year. My husband has had his fill of Europe for a while now - next time we do Europe it will have to be for ski season in Switzerland or Italy. Yummy!
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Old Jul 25th, 2003, 04:10 AM
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Ken -

The problem is "so many places, not enough time".
The Virgin Islands will be different than the Cooks, bigger, more populated, but the resorts are lovely, though in all honesty they're also more Western (American) as there are so many of our countrymen/women/families vacationing there.

If you want something unique andrarely sited by Americans - and you being in Seattle (close to Canada) - check out San Andreas Islands. Belong to Columbia, but off coast of Costa Rica. There are charter packages from Canada between Nov - end-Mar by "airtransat"; 1-wk 4* hotel w/3-meals, transfers, etc. is about C$1250/person - depending on conversion to USD that's about $900 or less/person. You also have choice of using facilities at this hotels other properties on the island. Check it out. Believe the site is:

www.airtransat.com


 
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 04:20 AM
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Simone -

Even Fregate and the new North Island resorts are above my budget, running $1300-$1500 nt w/usual minimum of 5-nts. Great for honeymooners - in fact that's where Paul McCartney & Heather spent theirs.

We were there in '98 2-dys Amsterdam stopover before 10-days in Kenya/Tanzania - then 7-days in Seychelles and didn't spend anyways near those numbers. But we definitely did have a/c (which alot of small places didn't have in those days). Spent 5-dys on Praslin, did a day-trip to La Digue and then spent 2-days on Mahe (main island). Our hotels w/bkfst ran about $1300 for the week - but that was '98, I'm sure rates are a bit higher, but certainly within reason.

When the time is right and you want to visit Africa, let me know as I have lots of info (having been 5 times) and we went rather luxuriously in a basic sort of way, but got great prices.

Again, you'll enjoy the Cooks and when the time comes to think about something different, let me know. Travel safe.
 
Old Jul 25th, 2003, 07:55 AM
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Sandi - Thanks for the tip. The San Andreas Islands look interesting. Costa Rica's on my "one day" list as well, so maybe we can combine the two.

Simone - We may be following you since you've been to Costa Rica. I've seen some really beautiful photos of that place. Sandi is right - so many places, so little time (not to mention cash).

Ken

PS:
Simone - we're thinking of staying here on the St Croix portion of the trip:

http://www.caribbeancottages.com/

It's not fancy but looks like it's on a nice quiet beach with fairly shallow water and decent snorkeling. We don't really want a big resort (not fond of crowds).

Sandi - You know anything about this place?
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Old Jul 25th, 2003, 08:10 AM
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Hi there,
I'm from Portugal (Europe). I will travel to the Cooks and USA from August 2 till August 27. It will be a long trip. I will commemorate my PhD. We are a family of 4. Our children have 10 and 6 y old. We payd 12000 euros for the entire trip. We will cover Rarotonga (Rarotongan resort), Aitutaki ( Pacific resort and Pearl Beach resort), Moorea (Sheraton resort), Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, and Phoenix.
We have travelled a lot before. Namely to Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Fiji, French Polynesia, Dominican Republic, and Indonesia. We love tropical places. We are like LordBalfor I think. If anyone would like to receive pictures and information from all those places I have a load of it. The South Pacific is unique. It has nothing to do with the Caribean. But to feel that one needs to go there first. South east asia and africa are not to be missed too.
Take care.
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Old Jul 25th, 2003, 10:14 AM
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Oh I forgot to mention that we ve been on Kenya and Tanzania, including the mystic island of Zanzibar.
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