Cook Islands – Escape to Paradise

Cook Islands – Escape to Paradise

The Cook Islands is a collection of 15 islands in the heart of Polynesia mid way between Tahiti and Tonga. Cook Islands travel is centred mostly around Rarotonga, the main population centre with the international airport. Rarotonga has high volcanic mountain peaks covered in tropical rain forest and lots of small beach resorts. Aitutaki is a small island 45-minutes flight to the north with attractive beaches and a beautiful lagoon and is the only other frequently visited island by tourists. Of the other islands, Atiu is good for eco-tourism and has a few guesthouses. The Cook Islands is a self-governing dependency of New Zealand with its own parliament but uses the New Zealand currency.

Rarotonga is the largest Cook Island being 67 sq. km in size – its population of 11,500 live around the coastal road. Here there are plenty of small beach resorts ideal for families and couples, and lots of self-catering bungalows and vacation homes for more independent travellers. The tourist infrastructure is well developed with some excellent day tours, good independent restaurants and a reliable transport network. Rarotonga’s main attractions are its lovely beaches, tropical mountain trails and laid back Polynesian lifestyle. Snorkelling is good along the south coast and there are several scuba diving companies with reefs being ideal for beginners and holiday divers.

Aitutaki is the only other tourist centre, a 45-minute flight from Rarotonga. It is a lot less commercial and ideal for honeymoons – stay here a couple of days and you’ll feel totally submerged in island style life. The villages are charming and although it lacks tropical mountains, the beaches are lovely. The main attraction, however, is one of the finest lagoons in the entire Pacific with good snorkelling and day cruises to the tiny uninhabited atolls where the beaches are exquisite.

Traditional dance performances are one of the icons of Polynesian life. Erotic hip swaying movements and upbeat drumming has come to resemble the archetypal Polynesian person – aesthetic and extremely seductive. Cook Island dancing is performed regularly at the resorts and there are several colourful competitions each year that are well worth experiencing.

 

 

Country Facts
Total islands: 15
Total land mass: 236 km²
Capital: Avarua
Main Island: Rarotonga
Int’l Airport: Rarotonga
Population: 18,000

Language: English, Maoris
Tourists: 80,000 per year
Accommodations: 60
Money: NZ$

 

 

Travel Highlights
1) Muri Beach, Rarotonga
2) Aitutaki Lagoon Cruise
3) Traditional Dances
4) Beach Bungalows
5) Fine Handicrafts
6) Cross Island Hike, Raro
7) Saturday Market, Avarua
8) Black Pearls
9) Sunday Church Service                       

10) Limestone Caves, Atiu

Happy Travels

Julie

For all your travel requirements to the Cook Islands – Contact us E: julie@juliewarnertravelplans.com

Iguassu Falls

Iguassu Falls

The Iguassu Waterfall is a true wonder of nature and is heralded as the most beautiful waterfall in the world by many visitors. The waterfall is located right at the border of the countries of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay about a two hour flight from Sao Paulo.

The waterfall itself is physically located in Argentina, but the panoramic view of the Falls is best from the Brazilian side. On the Argentinian side of the waterfall you can walk right around the falling water, take a boat tour to the mouth of the waterfall, and explore the National park next to the waterfall. On the other hand, the Brazilian side offers the best displays the full splendor of the wonder of the world.

Although Iguassu is best known for their waterfalls, the surrounding jungle is well worth including in your explorations. A plethora of animals and birds make their home in the lush vegetation around the Iguassu National Park. There are also a number of other highlights in this region such as The San Ignacio Jesuit Mission Ruins, The Itaipu Dam, and The Yacutinga Lodge wild preservatory.

The Iguassu Waterfalls are located near the little town of Puerto Iguazu in Argentina and the bigger town of Foz do Iguassu in Brazil. The towns offer a wide selection of lodgings. You can also see the what kind of weather to plan for on the Iguassu Falls Weather page.

Garganta del Diablo
The Devil’s Throat is the site of the biggest waterfall and the greatest sight Iguassu Falls have to offer. You can see a great amount of water falling over 230 feet from above the waterfall or from many different angles in the surrounding area. There are even helicopter tours that let you see the amazing spectacle from above for a fairly reasonable rate.

Touring Circuits

The Circuito Superior(Upper Circuit) is a half-mile looped trail that consists of a protected catwalk that offers spectacular views of the “Devil’s Throat” and many of the other waterfalls while allowing the visitor to walk right next to, and almost inside some of the falls.

The Cuircuito Inferior(Lower Circuit) is a larger 3,000 foot trail that takes you to views of the Dos Hermanos, Bossetti, Ramirez, Chico and finally San Martin waterfalls as they all plummet into the Rio Iguassu(Iguassu River) below. At times you look upon an endless stretch of falling water whose white foam beautifully settles down into the river.

We loved visiting both sides in January this year and whilst the falls are spectacular from both sides you definitely get more up close and personal on the Argentinian side. A definite must see on your Argentinian/Brazillian itinerary.

For further details on visiting Iguassu Falls contact us at julie@juliewarnertravelplans.com

Happy Travels

Julie