Cook Islands. Where to go? What to see? What to do? Kathy Giuffre, the author of ‘An Afternoon in Summer’, gives her recommendations.
Visit The Beachcomber Gallery
This is a terrific art gallery right in town in Avarua. There is black pearl jewelry and lots of crafts form local craftspeople. It is also a great place to see some of the best of the local artists’ work, including paintings, sculpture and tivaevae. Some artists have studios at the beachcomber, so sometimes they can come chat with you about their work or you can go out to the studios and watch some of the pearl carvers at work.
Do the Cross Island Trek with Pa
Hiking across the whole island and going into the very steep, rugged interior with a guide who knows so much of the lore and history of the island.Along with being a true expert on all facets of traditional life in the Cooks, Pa is a warm and friendly guide who is happy to help interested people find out more about the island and to explore the nature and the culture of the island. A lot of the activities for tourists center around the beaches, so this is a great chance to get to see another aspect of Rarotonga.
Visit one of the outer islands, like Aitutaki
This really gives you a chance to get away from it all and get the feel for what the Cooks were like fifty years ago. There are flights pretty much every day from Rarotonga to Aitutaki (book in the office at the airport) and you can go for the day, leaving on the early morning flight and coming back in the evening. Or you can stay for a while – there are hotels for every price range on the island and the lagoon at Aitutaki is often mentioned by those who know as being one of the most beautiful places in the world. Amazing snorkeling!