The 15 islands that make up the Cook Islands are scattered over an expanse of the Pacific Ocean the size of Western Europe. Of these islands, our top three for a tailor-made itinerary are Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu.
The island of Rarotonga is the gateway to the Cook Islands. It has a lush, green, rugged interior and is dominated by eroded volcanic peaks and surrounded by a tropical lagoon that extends several hundred metres to the reef.
Warm turquoise waters fill the triangular-shaped atoll of Aitutaki, renowned for having one of the world’s largest lagoons. Dotted within is a tiny group of uninhabited palm-filled islands, or ‘motus’, with glorious white sand.
Accommodation is more basic on Atiu, but it is well worth a visit, with a strong traditional Polynesian culture, a variety of natural habitats and rich endemic wildlife.