The Cook Islands can be summed up in two words: coral atolls. Around the islands, stunning coral reefs encircle central lagoons. Outside of the reef they plunge steeply into the blue oceanic abyss, the inside is sheltered and shallow. It’s not hard to find empty white sand beaches with shady palm trees on shore of these volcanic, mountainous islands.
The 15 Cook Islands share a total land area of 240 square kilometres/93 square miles. There are around 40 dive sites consisting of coral gardens, sloping reefs dotted with coral bommies, drop-offs, caves, passes and also some shipwrecks like the Mataora Wreck.
A highlight of diving the Cook Islands is the chance of bumping into humpback whales, which pass by Aitutaki and Rarotonga during the Southern Hemisphere summer and autumn months.
Find local PADI dive shops and explore the top dive sites with our map.
Fly to Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) in Avarua, Rarotonga. Airlines like Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti, and Virgin Australia service this airport. Then, Air Rarotonga can be used for inter-island flights.