Frommer's Best Places to Go in 2024

Frommer's Staff
Photography By
David Kirkland

A longtime favorite holiday haunt of Kiwis and Aussies, the English-speaking Cook Islands, located about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand, are still under the radar for most U.S. residents. On average, only about 8,000 Americans visit these Polynesian settlements each year.

But that may not be the case for long. Hawaiian Airlines, which hadn't offered a flight from Honolulu to Rarotonga for three decades, revived service in May 2023. It's the only flight to the Cook Islands directly from the United States. Another enticement: The U.S. dollar goes a long way here, making expenses on the ground a lot lower than during visits to Tahiti or Hawaii.

The South Pacific archipelago is home to turquoise waters, volcanic mountains, and marine life including spotted eagle rays and humpback whales (July–Oct). As opposed to other tropical islands where monolithic resorts predominate, the vibe in the Cook Islands is one of boutique hospitality. Beaches are never crowded, traffic is nonexistent, there are no annoying tour coaches, and no buildings stand taller than a coconut tree. Think Hawaii, but 90 years ago. —Sarah Sekula. Read more on Frommer's here...