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Cook Islands offer picture-perfect beaches

By Greg Goodsell
May 26th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Not very well known to international travelers, but a still a stunning place to visit are the Cook Islands, 15 separate land masses in the Pacific Ocean. The two main islands are Rarotonga and Aituaki. Visitors rarely visit the other 13, but some of the more remote ones such as Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro and Mangai can be a truly memorable and unique experience. 

 LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Airlines have regular flights to all of the islands and are recommended for tourists who want to get to know gentle, friendly people, stunning mountainous landscapes and coral lagoons. Traveling to some of the most remote and exquisite places on earth is really quite simple.

The islands are divided into two groups: the Southern Cook Islands, and the Northern Cook Islands of coral atolls.

According to tradition, the first voyagers to arrive in the Cook Islands landed on Rarotonga around 800 AD. These people had set sail from French Polynesia. Captain Cook sighted the islands in the 1770s but surprisingly enough he did not discover Rarotonga.

Instead, Rarotonga was discovered in 1789 by Captain William Bligh who named the islands the Hervey Islands. It was only half a century later in 1842 when a Russian cartographer was publishing a map of the Pacific Ocean that he renamed them the Cook Islands in honor of James Cook.

The Cook Islands represents one of the best values for tourist dollars. The Cook Islands has a wide range of activities to suit everyone, from snorkeling in the numerous pristine lagoons, hiking in the mountainous interior of Rarotonga, exploring the caves Atiu and being amazed by the world renowned elevated coral formations in Mangaia.

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