The Cook Islands are fifteen small islands in this South Pacific Ocean. They fall into two distinct groups: the Southern Group is the most popular with 90% of the population. Six of the nine islands are accessible by regular air services. The more remote Northern Group has six islands, three of which – Manihiki, Penrhyn and Pukapuka are accessible by air.
The scuba diving opportunities here are diverse with crystal clear waters having seldom less than 100 metre visibility, and water temperatures between 23 and 30C. All diving is shore based from boats and most dive sites are a mere ten minutes from the departure point.
There are canyons, caves, and varieties of coral - including plate, shelving, mushrooms and brain, big drop-offs and a multitude of colourful tropical fish.
Pearls are a speciality of the Cook Islands. The northern group islands of Manihiki and Penrhyn are important producers of black pearls, which are among the rarest pearls in the world, but pearls in other colours are also produced in and sold on Rarotonga, at much better prices than you will find anywhere else in the world.
- July to October is a good time to visit as there is the possibility of seeing humpback whales
- the Matavera Drop-off
- the Ngatangiia Swimthroughs (particularly well-known for its unusual and rare fish species)
- Koromiri Coral Garden
- Mataora Wreck (purposely sunk in December 1990)
- Papua Canyon (known for its eagle ray population)
- Sand River
- Recommended vaccinations are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B (infants and children), typhoid and rabies.
- Locals consider the tap water safe, but boiled or bottled water is advised for visitors, particularly in rural areas.
- Medical facilities in the Cook Islands in general are limited and a comprehensive medical insurance is advised to include air evacuation for emergencies.
|Language:||Cook Island Maori but English widely spoken|
|Currency:||New Zealand $|
|Diving season:||Year round|
|Water temperature:||23°C (73°F) in winter|
|30°C (86°F) in summer|
|Air temperature:||April to November (20-26°C)|
|December to March (22-28°C)|