Captain Cook sure picked a swell place to become his namesake. The Cook Islands embrace every South Pacific cliché with such passion and
conviction that occasionally I had to pinch my well-tanned, daiquiri infused body to make sure it wasn’t all just
some wonderful dream.
I just returned home from my very first visit to these islands. Having never been to Tahiti or Fiji, I
can’t compare the Cook Islands to their more popular South Pacific neighbors, but I can report that they are
indeed worth your time.
The islands offer that quintessential tropical getaway. They are blessed with warm weather, pristine waters
and beaches, thick jungle interiors, and plenty of time for rest and relaxation. There is also an abundance of
fresh mangoes, star fruit, coconuts and a variety of tropical fish on which to dine.
I was told by my travel agent to expect “Hawaii 50 years
ago.” This proved to be an apt description. Tourism, although a major source of revenue on the
island, hasn’t managed to ruin it yet. The atmosphere remains relaxed and laid back and the locals very
friendly. Indeed, this was one of the easiest vacations I’ve ever been on. Not even the language was
a problem as everyone spoke perfect English—albeit with a strong New Zealand accent.