The Cook Islands comprise 15 islands spread over a stretch of the South Pacific as wide as Western Europe. But finding Cook Islands hotels to suit your desires isn't difficult. This spectacular archipelago of volcanic islands and coral atolls welcomes visitors with an array of Cook Islands resorts in beautiful beachfront locations, yet much of it remains undeveloped and a perfect match for travelers with dreams of deserted islands. Along with its rich marine life, forested mountains, and prime opportunities for outdoor adventures, the Cook Islands showcase an ancient but still-thriving Polynesian culture.
The largest and most-visited island of the Cook Islands is Rarotonga, home of the nation's capital, Avarua, and its international airport. The landscape is one of forest-draped mountains and white-sand beaches along almost all of the coast. The south coast is renowned for its sailing and windsurfing conditions. A major local landmark in Avarua is Cook Island Christian Church, a white coral building constructed in 1853. Find a hotel in Rarotonga and take to the water with a snorkeling, scuba diving, or kayaking excursion, all of which can be arranged through hotel concierges or local tour companies.
The second most-visited island is Aitutaki, which sits on top of one of the largest coral lagoons in the world. See ancient marae (sacred meeting grounds) and crushed coral churches on land, or explore the lagoon with a boat cruise to one of the motu (islets) that dot its edges. Hotels in the Cook Islands might also provide a base for trips to the small and rocky island of Atiu, characterized by its karst landscape and coffee plantations; or to experience traditional village life on the islands of Mangaia and Mitiaro. Mangaia is notable as the oldest island in the South Pacific, with centuries-old sheer cliffs, scenic viewpoints, and dramatic cave systems to explore.
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