Cook Islands: As a Whole

99 Coastal Destinations Rated: Top Rated

Score: 75

Residents of this "well-kept secret" of Polynesia continue to embrace many aspects of their traditional culture. As development increases upon Rarotonga, the country's main population center, local officials should keep a wary eye on the water quality of nearby Muri Lagoon.

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

“A well-kept secret. Let us keep it that way! Continues to develop, but locals don't seem to change much. The outer islands in the southern group, like Atiu, Mitiaro, Mangaia, Aitutaki, and Palmerston, are picture perfect.”

"There are many issues related to poor environmental practices on the islands, including the lagoon's poor water quality. They may have improved somewhat but are still insufficient. The impact of climate change generally is also an issue. A recent cyclone has damaged the tourism infrastructure. All that aside, the tourism industry is well organized."

“Culturally, a fascinating place but some aspects of the infrastructure need attention.”

« Back to Full List of Top Rated Destinations

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

Read This Next

These are the best compact cameras for travelers in 2022
Dramatic photos show La Palma volcano’s ongoing eruption
How to have a COVID-safe Thanksgiving gathering

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet