This was the second visit to the Cook Islands.  The Cook Islands are located in the South Pacific about two hour flight west of French Polynesia and four hour flight northeast of New Zealand.  There are fifteen islands but not all are inhabited.  Rarotonga is the main island with Aitutaki the secondary island.  Air New Zealand makes a weekly ten hour flight from Los Angeles while Air Rarotonga is the domestic carrier.  Most of the tourists are from New Zealand (60%) with others from Australia (15%), Europe (10%), North America (4%).   Not much has changed there since the last visit over twenty years ago.  For example, there were still no traffic signals on the islands.

Rarotonga

Rarotonga is the main island and has about 20,000 population.  Avarua is the main town and is located on the north-center coast of the island.  The airport is located a short distance to the west of the town.  It is about 32 miles around the island on the road that circles the island.  Buses take about an hour for the trip leaving Avarua clockwise on the hour and counterclockwise on the half-hour.  There are hotels and apartments throughout the island along the coast.

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Aituaki 

Aitutaki is the second main island about 45 minute small plane flight north of Rarotonga.  It has about 2,000 population.  The airport is located on the main part of the island.  The lagoon is shallow and has several small uninhabited islets around the perimeter.  A day trip from Rarotonga was made on this visit.

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