Cook Islands Gap Year

Cook Islands Gap Year Travel

The Cook Islands are a rarity among tropical islands as they are largely unspoilt. The Cook Islands consist of fifteen islands spread across a vast area of the south Pacific. The islands are sparsely populated with around sixteen thousand inhabitants.

My flight touched down on the main island of Rarotonga at midnight. Fortunately I had booked ahead and the hotel had sent a van to pick up its customers. Driving to the hotel was a strange experience as many roads had limited lighting with some roads in total darkness.

Rarotonga is the capital of the Cook Islands and I was amazed at how quiet and unspoilt the island was.

Unfortunately the hotel was around 10 minutes drive from the main road on Rarotonga which was largely made up of a few shops and restaurants next to the sea. The islanders are mainly Christian and although very friendly, I felt they were more reserved than people from Fiji or the islands of Thailand.

After travelling for such a long time, the Cook Islands gave me a chance to relax and recover. For some people, the lack of entertainment or activities led to boredom. One girl had arrived from Australia to gain some work experience for three months at the local medical center. Three weeks into her work experience, she was rapidly approaching a complete breakdown due to the lack of entertainment on the island. Most people go to the island of Aitutaki for activities and stunning scenery.

For people who love scuba diving and swimming, the island of Aitutaki is one of the best places in the world with its' huge lagoon, white sands, turquoise seas and relaxed way of life. Aitutaki is just under an hour's flight from Rarotonga and many of the people from the hotel who went to Aitutaki had a great time. Unfortunately I cannot swim and had to pass up the chance of going to Aitutaki.

I had met an Austrian couple on the plane to Rarotonga and they invited me to visit them at their luxury resort where the rooms were more than £300 per night. The resort was pleasant enough and the pool was much larger than at my hotel but I have to admit, I couldn't see a huge difference between my £25 per night room and theirs. Not surprisingly, many of the luxury beach huts were empty. They invited me to lunch but the sight of three people was too much for the cook at the resort. The cook said that virtually everything on the menu was unavailable due to the limited time available as she was off home soon. She offered to make us sandwiches and my dream of living the high life was now complete.

I spent just under a week on the Cook Islands and met some great people but I was really looking forward to my next destination. I had always dreamed of going to the beautiful exotic island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia and soon that that dream would become a reality.

Next Stop: Gap year travel to French Polynesia and Bora Bora >>