If you want to go somewhere exotic and a bit different, explore the exquisite untouched beauty of the French Polynesian Cook Islands. With history dating back to 800AD, the first settlers on the island were part of the great Polynesian migration. Located in the South Pacific, these 15 islands offer a traveler peace and quiet and really exciting culture.
As you can see in the picture, the Cook Islands house their visitors in tiny bungalows suspended over the sea, and there are no high-rise hotels in sight which makes the island a very interesting place to stay for adventurous tourists. Each of the 15 islands offers something special, and lack the usual clichés associated with the South Seas. Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands, has two main roads: one leads to the beaches and villages, and the other winds through fields of bananas, taro and pawpaw. The island of Manihiki is famous for a deep lagoon which is farmed for cultured black pearls. Atiu is famous for its bird population, and supports one of the largest colonies of red-tailed tropic birds. Pukapuka is another interesting island, and what sets it apart from the rest is a substantially different dialect, a special island craft of fantastic woven mats, and passion for Kirikiti (the game of cricket of Samoan origin).
The Cook Islands are extremely culture rich. Cook Islanders are considered among the finest Polynesian singers and dancers and awards come often in international contests. The island language, Maori, has 14 consonants which have many similarities to English. Natives are also avid sports players and fans, and while on the islands a visitor can attend many sporting events and competitions. Examples include the Tumutevarovaro Games, which include competitions in rugby, netball, soccer and volleyball, or the Rarotonga International Triathlon which attracts participants from all over the world.
In all, there is a lot to do as a tourist on any one of the Cook Islands, and one can be sure that the vacation will be slightly out of the ordinary. But do not think that the islands are not accessible from this part of the world – both Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue fly passengers to the islands quite frequently. To conduct a little more research about the islands and perhaps put it on your wish list, check out Cook Islands Tourism.