Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Paradise (a.k.a. the Cook Islands)

**Originally published 3/4/09, but reposting today to join in on Kelly's "Show us Your Life - Favorite Vacation Spot" from yesterday**
NOTE: Click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Hubby and I had a wonderful time in the Cook Islands. We stayed on Rarotonga at Sea Change Villas for the first 7 days and then flew over to Aitutaki for the last 5 days and stayed 2 nights at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa in an "overwater" bungalow and 3 nights in a villa at Etu Moana. Our favorite place out of all three was Sea Change on Rarotonga because it was the most convinent to shops, restaurants and activities and it also provided the most space and privacy. Plus, each villa had its own freshwater pool which we loved! But, you can't beat the beautiful lagoon of Aitutaki. I highly recommend visiting both islands if you ever make it to the Cooks.

Above: View of the beach directly across the street from our villa at Sea Change. You could see the ocean from our bed and there was never another soul out there while we were snorkeling or kayaking. Poor hubby got flipped over once in his kayak and had a bad run in with the coral. Thankfully his scrapes didn't bother him too much.

Below: The very comfortable bed was just one of the many nice amenities the place had to offer.

Below: Our own freshwater pool. This was a lifesaver for cooling off in the 90 degree heat. The back of our villa faced the goregous mountains and the front the ocean. It was heaven!

Below: We took a jeep safari tour one day and had a delicious BBQ lunch of grilled swordfish. Here is our guide picking some fresh ginger for us all to smell. The flowers were incredible!

The next day we went on a cross-island trek with Pa (who liked to refer to himself in the third person and kept saying, "Pa - World's Most Famous Man"), a 63 year old who's treked across the island over 3200 times all of them barefoot and wearing nothing but a saraong! We literally were climbing over tree roots and ducking/crawling under branches. Half way through it started to rain which made it even more exciting as you were slipping through mud down the steep slope and trudging through rivers. I felt like I was on Honey I Shrunk the Kids and loved every minute of it!

Above: Pa "The World's Most Famous Man"

Below: The view from the top

Below: Another night we went to Island Night where they served their local foods (which were okay) and had a dance show that told the history of their country from the time they were cannibals until the time the Christian missionaries came and converted the islands up through today. Today, Christianity is still a huge part of their culture, evidenced by the huge number of churches well attended on the very small island, the fact that all the tour guides always had the group say grace before our meals, and everything being shut down for the most part on Sundays. I took some videos and will try to post them soon once I download and edit them.

Below: For Valentine's Day, we had breakfast of delicious French toast catered in and also had a BBQ dinner with shrimp, chicken, fish and steak catered in for supper. The rest of the day we tooled around the island in the little convertible we rented (you could rent a brand-new BMW roadster for $35 USD a day, but we went with the less expensive cabriolet convertible) and checked out the local market where I got some awesome stuff to make jewelry and other little crafts. We returned home to these delicious brownies that the owners of the place left for us.

Above: Our 2nd of 3 lei's we'd receive during our stay. We got this one on upon our arrival in Aitutaki. It was so hot and humid that curly hair and no makeup was the main style for our stay!

Below: The view from our bed and deck at Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa. We loved the view of the water and the fact that we could walk right down in with the fish.

Above: Getting ready to go to dinner and the Fire Dance show.

Below: The amazing fire dancers. These guys were nuts and I have a great video to post soon.

Above: We went on a full day lagoon cruise that had three snorkeling stops, visited 5 motus (small uninhabited islands), and served a BBQ lunch in the water. Here we're on "Honeymoon Island" after two snorkeling stops. I took photos with an underwater camera but haven't developed them yet. Hopefully they turned out because the fish and coral were amazing and we saw huge giant clams. We wore SPF 45, but would both be stuck inside the next day with bad sunburns.

Below: Our wonderful BBQ lunch was served at a picnic table in the water. I love their version of "disposable" plates! After lunch we had a hermit crab race because they're all over.

Above: One of the volcanic motus that we visited. We also visited "One Foot Island" which has the world's smallest post office and we got a stamp in our passport. This island above was one of the ones used for Survivor: Cook Islands.

Below: The only sunset we witnessed the whole time we were in the Cook Islands. We always stayed on the east side of the island or where out at dinner at sunset.

Above: The last place we stayed was Etu Moana. This was the villa we stayed in. It was a very nice spot, but not quite as private as Sea Change on Rarotonga and we didn't have our own freshwater pool.

Below: A view of the pool and other villas at Etu Moana.

Posting all these pictures makes me want to go back already!!


  1. Looks amazing, and of course, now I want to go there, too!

  2. Whoa!! That water is so pretty. I'm glad you had such a great looks so beautiful!

  3. Loved all your beautiful pics...looks like you guys had an awesome time and you looked fabulous in your suit!

  4. That really does look like paradise. Amazing pictures.


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