1. The Blue Lagoon:
The highlight of a visit to the Cook Islands is Aitutaki Lagoon, a vivid turquoise expanse that encircles the archipelago’s second-most visited island, Aitutaki. The best way to explore is on the Vaka Day Cruise, which takes up to 45 passengers to visit three of the lagoon’s 15 islets on the 21m double-hulled catamaran Titi ai Tonga (“Wind from the South”). White-sand beaches are lined with coconut trees, like a reality TV producer’s dream. Survivor, Shipwrecked and Treasure Island are among the shows that have been filmed there. The six-hour cruise includes a lunch of barbecued tuna and salad, with the cheeky crew performing coconut husking and sarong-tying demonstrations between swim stops
2. SUP AND SALUTE THE SUN:
“Feel the breeze against your skin, smell the salt water, feel the sand between your toes …” instructor Brynn Acheson coos as I sit cross-legged on a stand-up paddleboard with its fin anchored in the sand at Koromiri Island. Combining stand-up paddle-boarding and yoga, Acheson leads up to 10 paddlers across Muri Lagoon before instructing how to stand on the board and salute the sun looking back towards the Cooks’ main island of Rarotonga; then you lie back and dangle your fingers in the water while meditating.