Many trips around the world give you the opportunity of stopping at Cook Islands, a perfect evocation of the Pacific. These 15 islands rank among first-class places like Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and Tahiti, so you would surely forget that maybe there will be some great waves somewhere. The fact that they are called as the last surfer explorer who got there, James Cook, doesn’t mean that is characterized by great surf and like Tubuai or Niue, the underwater topography doesn’t set the standards for epic surf. The Cook Islands, scattered across 2.2 million km of ocean, consist of two groups with 1500km between the two most remote islands. The southern group includes 9 volcanic islands, although some of them are atolls: Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Manuaem Mauke, MItiaro, Palmerston, Rarotonga and Takutea. The northern group includes 6 coral atolls: Manihiki, Nassau, Tongareva, Pakupaka, Rakahanga and Suwarro. Most of the population lives in the southern group. This tropical paradise is waiting for you for an unforgettable surf experience in the Cooks!
The capital Rarotonga is volcanic with eroded peaks and coasts surrounded by lowlands about 1km wide. Since Rarotonga is the youngest island, it is physically unlike the nearby volcanic islands where erosion and periodic submersions have reduced mountains to gentle hills. Comparing Rarotonga with the other atolls, the lagoon surrounding it is quite small (covering only 8km) and the bottom is relatively shallow. The fringing reef defines the lagoon, which is broad and sandy to the south, and narrow and rocky on the north and east. The waves break over very shallow reefs, so it is safest to surf at high tide and with decent-size swells (which will surely break in deeper water). All reefbreaks are easily accessible by paddling out of one of the passages or directly over the reef. Despite being quite a windy spot, Havana is one of the main surf spots, generously positioned near the popular Muri beach accommodation. The wave breaks on the reef, making the spot too dangerous for beginners. In front of the passage there is a small right, commonly frequented by bodyborders. With moderate SW swell and NE summer winds check out Rutaki Passage, which overlooks the Rorotongan Resort, or the quick right off Avaavaroa Passage on the opposite side of Palm Grove Resort. These passages are very tight and therefore the waves are often close-outs with large swells – this spot requires clean and organized swells to work properly.
On the windward side, the best spot is undoubtedly Golf Course near the airport, but watch out for corals here. These waves exude true Polynesian power and although they are not crowded, they require skill and guts.
The Matai Wreck outside Avarua has long been surfed and offers fast lefts with N swells. For regular surfers who want to have fun with good right-handers. Reefs outside Club Raro or Norrie Park are recommended as they generally produce good waves.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|Departure||KiiKii Inn & Suites||The Reef Motel||The Raratongan Beach Resort & Spa|
|From 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020||€ 273||€ 315||€ 536|
Cook Islands are blessed with one of the largest swell landscape on earth but the coast isn’t so beautiful. The South Pacific provides most swells from SE-SW, from March to November. Only large NW swells from the North Pacific produce reasonable sized waves, making the summer months not always good. Under the SE breezes, Rarotonga enjoys a little less wind than Fiji or Tonga. Summer (from December to March) is the season of glassy days, in spots to the east like Havana, with N winds. Medium winter swells create the best opportunity for quality waves, breaking a little further off the reef. The tides never reach up to 1m.
How to get there : You can obtain a 30 day visa at the moment of arrival. Air New Zealand is the leading airline offering flights to Roratonga (RAR) with direct flights from LAX, Auckland, Fiji and Thaiti. Aloha Airlines has 1o2 weekly flights from Vancouver via Hawaii. Most flights arrive and depart early in the morning. Departure fees are NZ $ 25 per person
Getting around : Air Rarotonga offers flights towards 8 islands. AItutaki costs $ 192 r / t. The coast of Rototonga is 32 km long and it takes about 2h to cross it by bike. Local driving license is required and it is available at Avarua Police Station with your license ($ 6). The motorcycle license exam costs $ 3. The rental for a car is $ 28 per day while a moped is $ 28 per day. You must drive on the right.
Accommodation and Food: Muri Beach is the main area for accommodation. Prices are high for the South Pacific. $ 165 per day bungalow, $ 110 resort rooms, $ 66 budget bungalo, a room for $ 28. Palms Grove is $ 90 / 140 while Tiare Village is cheaper, $ 10 per night. You will pay $ 10 for a meal.
Climate : With 2116 h of sunshine and 2087mm of rainfall per year, the climate is tropical. Rarotonga is almost opposite Honolulu in latitude and enjoys a pleasant climate all year round. From May to September are the coolest months with an average daily temperature around 25 ° C. The rainy summer season (from December to April) can be hot and humid and with temperatures around 29 ° C. Bring a short wetsuit for windy winter days as the water could reach 22-23 ° C.
Dangers and annoyances : Although most of the spots are not dangerous, with a short row you are off shore, conditions are very uncertain and surfing on low reefs involves rather frequent cuts. All local riders are bodyboarders. There is no malaria but occasional dengue outbreaks.
Practical advice : Bring two half-size boards. Contact Big Dave in Niki’s Surf Shop in Tupapa (East Avarua), it is a small shop with second-hand boards.
Exchange rate 1 EUR = 1.08 USD; 1 € = 1.51 NZD; 1 EUR = 1.41 AUD
Exchange rate variations (more than 3%) will lead to an adjustment of costs. They will be communicated within 20 days of departure.
The tariff does not include