Cook Islands Travel Guide

Cook Islands Travel Guide

Embracing stunning coral atolls and rugged volcanic islands, the 15 Cook Islands are spread over some 2 million sq km of ocean. This idyllic island nation is flanked to the west by Tonga and Samoa, and to the east by Tahiti. Visitors to the Cook Islands will discover not only a wonderful climate and beautiful landscape, but a friendly and generous people, and a relaxed pace of life.

The Cook Islands contain some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery of any group in the South Pacific, from rugged, bush-clad volcanic peaks to white sandy beaches and palm-fringed lagoons. There is much to see and do in the Cook Islands, and a great selection of accommodation.

The Cook Islands are split into two groups. The Southern Group includes the mountainous main island of Rarotonga, Aitutaki – famous for its scenic beauty – and the raised coral atolls of Mangaia, Atiu, Mauke and Mitiaro. The makatea  (the uplifted coral reef) on these islands hides deep and spectacular caves. The Northern Group, which includes the islands of Manihiki, Penrhyn and Pukapuka, have a special charm, with turquoise lagoons fringed by white sand beaches and coconut palms.

Geographic Area

Tropic of Capricorn, latitude from 9 to 22º

The 15 islands of the Cook Island group lie in the centre of the Polynesian triangle, east of Tonga and the Samoas and west of Tahiti.


18,027 - about half of the population live on the island of Rarotonga

Capital City

Avarua, on the island of Rarotonga