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Soak up the sun at two of the most blissful islands in the South Pacific – Rarotonga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. Apart from crystal clear waters, and a huge diversity of marine life amid coral reefs, these islands also offer you insights into local Polynesian culture. Explore cultural villages on guided excursions at both islands and enjoy a performance of ‘The Legend of Tongaiti’ by some of Rarotonga’s finest artists! You’ll also have time to cruise in picturesque lagoons and explore the lush islands at your own pace.

Feel free to add more destinations or experiences to your personalized Cook Islands vacation. Our experts are happy to offer recommendations and create a completely tailor-made, obligation-free itinerary.


Itinerary Summary

DayPlaceHighlightsHotel Options
1 - 6RarotongaBeaches, Island-hopping, Snorkeling, Culture & HeritageLittle Polynesian Resort, Te Vakaroa Villas
6 - 10AitutakiCruises, Beaches, Coral LagoonAitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort, Aitutaki Escape
10 - 11RarotongaBeaches, Island-hopping, Snorkeling, Culture & HeritageManuia Beach Resort, Moana Sands Lagoon Resort

Ideal For

  • Beaches
  • Landscape
  • Relaxation

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Itinerary Details

Day 1 - 6

International Arrival

You will be met at the arrival lounge and assisted with your onward journey

You will be transferred from Rarotonga airport to your hotel in a private vehicle


5 Nights

Welcome to your dream island paradise! Set at the halfway mark between New Zealand and Hawaii, these Polynesian islands are ideal for sun-worshippers in search of pristine beaches, sand, surf, and relaxation.

Included Activities

Group Tour: Pa’s Trek- Cross Island Hike
Experience the thrill of this two-mile walk through tree-covered jungle on the island of Rarotonga. Your walk begins with a 400-meter climb, parts of which are like climbing a ladder, and you need to on to tree roots to pull yourself up. When you reach the base of the Needle, or Te Rua Manga, a tall, rocky pinnacle, take in the breathtaking views that extend from one side of the island to the other. Stop at Wigmore’s waterfall, also known as Papua, the only waterfall on the island. Your guide offers insights into the history, flora and fauna of the area. (Duration: Half Day; Shared Activity & Transfer; Meal included: Picnic lunch; Fitness Level: Advanced; This walk is suitable for adults of all ages who have average fitness or better. Children over 4 yrs can also complete the hike if they are good walkers.)

Group Tour of Rarotonga Island
Explore the history and culture of scenic Rarotonga on this shared, guided tour. This volcanic island is the most populous of the Cook Islands and is surrounded by a beautiful lagoon. The culture of the islands is a mix of Polynesian and European influences, reflecting the varied communities who have inhabited them over centuries. Travel in a modern air conditioned coach as you follow roads and paths used by ancient Cook Islanders going back to 1100 AD. Visit a sacred marae, an ancient gathering place for royal ceremonies, at least one of which dates back to the 13th century. Discover historical sites formerly inhabited by Islanders and learn the locations of the best snorkelling spots on Rarotonga. Enjoy a world without traffic lights and no buildings taller than a coconut tree, known locally as the Tree of Life. Watch a coconut husking demonstration and enjoy a refreshing drink of coconut water. (Duration: Half Day; Shared Activity & Transfers; Group size: Min 15 & Max 30)

Group Tour of Te Vara Nui Cultural Village
Discover the rich cultural heritage of the renowned erstwhile maritime community of the legendary Cook Islands on this informative tour of the local village of Te Vara Nui. Learn about the celebrated navigational techniques of the island’s venerated ancestors, as well as their rich traditions of local medicine, folk arts, oral history, myths and legends. Try your hand at emulating the ancient fishing techniques of Polynesia. Visit the village workshops to see how local artisans painstakingly weave, carve and create the ceremonial dance costumes of the islands. Interact with local villagers to discover the distinctive Maori culture of the community. Listen to their powerful stories and legends, and watch them prepare a traditional meal using fresh local produce. Visit the local Marae or the sacred enclosure for the village community’s religious ceremonies and traditional rituals. Get an intimate view of the island way of life, before returning to your hotel. (Evening Tour; Shared Activity; Fitness level: Easy; Please wear comfortable walking shoes).

Overwater Night Show and Dinner
Enjoy ‘The Legend of Tongaiti’ performed by some of Rarotonga’s finest dancers and musicians on floating as well as fixed stages at a rock waterfall garden, lit by flaming torchlight. This is the biggest Over-Water Island Night Show on Rarotonga and provides an authentic and electric cultural experience. The performance is accompanied by a delicious Island/Western fusion buffet, prepared by local and international chefs. The legend tells the story of a warrior named Tongaiti who set out in search of beautiful ‘floating islands’ to call home, along with his wife Ari and his family. When they found these islands, they discovered the inhabitants were hostile to newcomers. Tired and hungry, Tongaiti asked his beautiful daughter to dance for the island’s Chief. Captivated by her beauty, the Chief fell in love with her and welcomed the family, celebrating the event with dancing and a feast. Today, this settlement is known as ‘Tangata Enua.’ (Evening Activity; Shared Activity & No Transfers; Meal included: Dinner)

Hotel Options
RoomGarden Studio
StyleBeach Resort
RoomOne Bedroom Villa
StyleBeach Resort
Day 6 - 10

You will be transferred from your hotel to Rarotonga airport in a shared vehicle

Board your flight from Rarotonga to Aitutaki (Flight duration: 1 hr)

You will be transferred from Aitutaki airport to your hotel in a shared vehicle


4 Nights

Aitutaki is the second-most visited of the Cook Islands, just over 130 miles from the capital, Rarotonga, in the Central-Southern Pacific Ocean. With a population of just 1800, Aitutaki is a perfect blend of unspoiled beach paradise and modern tropical luxury, just waiting to be discovered.

Included Activities

Group Ru’s Lagoon Cruise in Aitutaki
Enjoy sailing down a picturesque lagoon in Aitutaki, go snorkeling and enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch on this cruise trip. After a leisurely breakfast in your hotel, head out to board your cruise boat for the day with your local guide. Once aboard, enjoy the ocean view and admire the lush flora and fauna along the coastline. Stop by the Aitutaki Marine Resources and learn about the center’s giant clam restoration program on the island. You can also spot these precious creatures in their natural habitat. Spend the rest of your day swimming in the ocean and snorkeling among the coral beds, marveling at the region’s rich marine life. Relish a delicious BBQ fish luncheon served on board, along with delectable salad platters made from fresh local produce. After a satisfying lunch, sail over to Honeymoon Island to stroll along the gorgeous beach and spot the island’s exotic birds as well as their precious nesting grounds. Return to your hotel after the trip. (Duration: Half Day; Time: 1000 hrs; Shared Activity & Transfers; Meal Included: Lunch; For special dietary needs, please inform us ahead of the tour; Fitness Level: Easy; Included: Snorkeling gear onboard)

Group Tour of Punarei Cultural Village
Discover everyday life at a 200-year-old village site, largely reconstructed to preserve the traditional heritage of the Cook Islands on this enjoyable excursion. After a hearty breakfast in your hotel, meet your local guide, and drive down to the historical site. Once home to the ancient islanders, the village today is a living museum, with reconstructed homesteads, actual ceremonial grounds, and even traditional underground ovens (umu) that were once used for cooking ritual foods. Interact with the local community, who are proud to show you around and share their fascinating oral history with you. Learn about old rituals and traditions, getting to know how the ancient villagers lived, worked, and feasted in times gone by. Try your hand at weaving traditional fabrics and lend a hand in cooking a community lunch in the village umus. Enjoy the sumptuous island feast (or umukai) prepared by your gracious hosts. Share the table with your village hosts and join them for the traditional dances, learning the basic steps. Drive back to your hotel after the feast. (Available on Mon, Wed & Fri; Duration: Half Day; Time: 0900 hrs; Shared Activity & Transfers; Meal Included: Lunch; For special dietary needs, please inform us ahead of the tour; Fitness Level: Easy; Please wear comfortable walking shoes)

Explore Aitutaki on Your Own
Aitutaki is a picture-postcard tropical island, with palm trees, warm turquoise waters, coral reefs, and blue skies. Set your own pace on a full-day tour of Aitutaki and its surroundings. Start at the CICC church in Arutanga town, the oldest church in the Cook Islands. It was restored in 2010 with beautiful stained-glass windows, fine carved wood-paneling and an old anchor suspended from the ceiling. Cruise the island’s crystal-clear lagoon and go swimming or snorkeling at a marine reserve, with giant trevallies, turtles and coral clusters. At One Foot Island you can get your passport stamped at the world’s smallest post office. The adventurous could hire a kayak or outrigger canoe and paddle to the nearest islet a few hundred meters away. Learn about Aitutaki’s history, ancient traditions, cooking and weaving techniques from the passionate and knowledgeable guides at the Punarei Cultural Village. Go on a guided tour of the maraes (sacred places) to experience native lifestyle during the pre-European era. (Duration: Full Day; Self-explore Activity; No Guide; No Transfers; Entrance Fees & Meals are not included).

Hotel Options
RoomBeachfront Bungalow
StyleBeach Resort
Aitutaki Escape – Opt 2
RoomOne Bedroom Beachfront Villa
StyleBeach Resort
Day 10 - 11

You will be transferred from your hotel to Aitutaki airport in a shared vehicle

Board your flight from Aitutaki to Rarotonga (Flight duration: 1 hr)

You will be transferred from Rarotonga airport to your hotel in a private vehicle


1 Night

Welcome to your dream island paradise! Set at the halfway mark between New Zealand and Hawaii, these Polynesian islands are ideal for sun-worshippers in search of pristine beaches, sand, surf, and relaxation.

Included Activities

Explore Rarotonga on Your Own
Get to know Rarotonga, at your own pace. Learn about this island nation’s history and traditions at the Cook Islands Library & Museum. Travel along the main coastal road that runs parallel to the white sand beaches before taking you high into the mountains for amazing ocean views. Discover an ancient hidden mountain village at Highland Paradise, where members of the Pirangi family give guests an insight into their spiritual past, legends, customs and crafts. You could, alternately, head to Avatiu Harbour for a boat tour aboard the Raro Reef Sub. Enjoy stories and music as you depart the harbor. From the glass bottomed observation deck, observe multicolored coral gardens, spectacular marine life like giant trevally, turtles, sharks and puffer fish, and the century-old shipwreck of the RMS Maitai. Later, shop for souvenirs at the vibrant Punanga Nui Market on the waterfront, or buy perfumes and colognes made using extracts of local flowers from Perfumes of Rarotonga. (Duration: Half Day; Self-explore Activity; No Guide; No Transfers; Entrance Fees & Meals are not included).

Hotel Options
RoomPremium Garden Suite
StyleBeach Resort
RoomDeluxe Lagoon Studio
StyleBeach Resort

You will be transferred from your hotel to Rarotonga airport in a shared vehicle

International Departure

 Price & Inclusions

  • Option 1 From $ 4,890 /person
  • Option 2 From $ 5,990 /person

Prices are in USD and exclude international flights. This trip price is based on low season rates for accommodation and other applicable services, and may change depending on availability, currency fluctuations and number of people traveling together. For high season prices, please contact us with your exact travel dates and preferences.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation & meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Activities & excursions as specified in the itinerary
  • Transportation services as specified in the itinerary
  • Your Trip Coordinator: a 24/7 point of contact supporting you during your trip

Not Included

  • Entrance fees & meals, unless mentioned in the itinerary description
  • Tips & personal expenses
  • Visa & tourism fees
  • Travel, health, and cancellation insurance
  • International airfare
Inquire Now
Classic Cook Islands: Paradise Beaches and Polynesian Culture

11 days $ 4,890 / person

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