No visit to the Cook Islands is complete
without a visit to Aitutaki, an easy plane hop
from Rarotonga. Many people split their visit,
combining a stay on Rarotonga with another
on Aitutaki (day trips are also available).
Aitutaki’s lagoon is wondrous, the water
pale and clear. It is dotted with sandbars, coral
ridges and 21 small islands called motu, many
of which boast excellent beaches.
The islands’ natives, the Cook Islands
Maori, are famous for their sensual dancing,
and Aitutaki has the reputation of putting on
one of the best “island nights” dance-and-music performances on the Cooks.
Other island traditions on display throughout the year are the festivals. In fact, it is difficult to visit the islands and not see one. Cultural
Festival Week, held in February, features
tivae-vae (quilt) competitions and displays of arts
and crafts. Island Dance Festival Week in April
has dance displays and competitions. Song
Quest, a five-week contest that begins in July,
brings together singers, dancers, musicians and
performers from throughout the islands to
Rarotonga. The big 10-day Te Maeva Nui
Festival in August celebrates the islands’ independence with sports, dances, music, floats
and many other events. And in November,
Vaka Eiva, the country’s annual outrigger
canoe racing festival, is held.
Before you go, it may be difficult to
remember where the Cook Islands are. After
you’ve been, you’ll never forget. C
Tablet or smartphone?
Scan or click here to watch a
video showcasing the beauty
of the Cook Islands. (See
page 5 for scanning details.)
The Costco Connection
Costco Travel offers packages to Rarotonga
and Aitutaki. All include airfare from Los
Angeles on Air New Zealand. To view packages, click “Travel” at Costco.com. To book,
Spoiled by C o o ks
*Price shown is per person based on double occupancy, and includes airfare
and hotel taxes. Prices are in U. S. dollars, are true and accurate at time of
printing, are valid for travel as speci;ed, are valid for new bookings only and
are available to Costco members residing in the United States. All offers and
inclusions are subject to availability and may change or be terminated without
notice. Seasonal surcharges, availability, blackout dates and restrictions may
apply. Due to airfare and/or currency ;uctuation, price is subject to change.
Fees for checked baggage may apply and vary by airline. For complete
information, please visit the airline’s website. Any unused portion(s) of
inclusions are nontransferable, nonrefundable and not redeemable for
cash. Cancellation and change fees may apply. Travel purchases are not
included in the Executive Membership annual 2% Reward program. Costco
Travel disclaims liability for any inaccuracies or typographical errors.
Costco Travel is registered as a seller of travel in each of the states
listed: California registration number: CST 2054248-50 ; Florida
registration number: ST 32555 ; Hawaii registration number: TAR
5595 ; Iowa registration number: TA 620 ; Nevada Seller of Travel
registration number: 2007-0060 ; Washington registration number:
WS T 602042600. Registration as a California Seller of Travel does not
constitute approval by the state. 13TR1303 8/13
1-877-849-2730 | Costco.com
Lagoon Breeze Villas Package
• Round-trip economy class airfare
from Los Angeles on Air New Zealand
• Ground transportation to and from hotel
• Garden Studio
• Daily tropical breakfast
• NZD $50 dining voucher
(per room, per stay, approximately $40)
• Airfare and hotel taxes
QUALITY | VALUE | EXPERIENCE | WOW!
PLACES TO GO.
PRICES YOU’LL LOVE.
FIVE NIGH TS FOR THE PRICE OF FOUR
Valid for travel through 3/31/14.
By T. Foster Jones
IF YOU ASKED a dozen people to tell you
where the Cook Islands are, you’d get a dozen
different answers. No one seems to know.
The 15 Cook Islands are located in the
South Pacific, about a 10-hour nonstop flight
from Los Angeles. Roughly 1,000 miles from
Tahiti to the east and Fiji to the west, the Cook
Islands are a less expensive—but no less beautiful—destination than their neighbors.
The Cooks are replete with white-sand
beaches; tranquil lagoons perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming; lush green
rain forests and volcanic mountains; a slow
pace and friendly people; and a wide variety of
dances, festivals and other cultural events.
Also on offer: excellent hiking, cycling, kite
surfing, cave exploration, four-wheeling and
just relaxing. Add to that a favorable exchange
rate, ease of communication (they speak
English) and family-run beachside accommodations with hospitality that is genuinely
warm and endearing. Perhaps the Cooks have
remained relatively unknown because those
who have visited haven’t been terribly anxious
to let others in on the secret!
The islands possess a pleasantly even climate year-round, with highs averaging 77 to 84
degrees. Visas for U.S. citizens aren’t required,
only passports and proof of onward travel and
The largest of the Cooks is Rarotonga.
Ringed with coconut-palm-lined beaches,
Rarotonga is lush with citrus groves, and the
mountains at its center are covered in a jungle
of ferns and towering trees. Waters surround-ing the island teem with parrotfish, sea cucumbers and humpback whales. At 25 square miles,
and with just one road, the island is easy to get
around on, on foot, bike, scooter or car. You
can literally walk around the entire island
along the 22 miles of beach.
The capital of Rarotonga, Avarua, provides visitors with a good selection of shops,
banks and cafés serving mouthwatering examples of local cuisine, such as fish in coconut
sauce, stuffed breadfruit and bread pudding.