The Jewels of the Pacific: The Cook Islands

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Rising from the Polynesian waters are 15 islands collectively known as The Cook Islands. These stunning islands have for many hundreds of years attracted the attention of sea farers across the globe and is now attracting attention from the avid SCUBA diver.

Sitting in such an expanse of ocean so far away from mainland you really can have a secret escape to the jewels of the Pacific as these islands are otherwise and rightly known as.


Photo credit: Nicholas Curzon and Kathryn Hodgson

Although such a remote setting, these islands are easily accessible to the diver seeking a secret escape. Two of these islands are Aitutaki and Rarotonga that hold jewels of their own below the surface of the crystal pacific waters.

You probably won’t find The Cook Islands on the list of top places to dive in the world, but that is what makes it more inviting. A stroll along the beaches to find no other footsteps, pristine dive sites just for you and no crowds to hustle through on the street.


This island is the gateway to the Cook Islands with the international airport situated here, making it accessible to other islands. By no means does this make it a busy island, with the main road’s circumference of just 32km around the whole island, you will still get the perfect island getaway feel.

With 3 dive operators situated in different locations on the island, it is up to you where you decide to stay and dive. All operations performing at a high standard as there is nowhere to hide for mistakes or cutting corners, so you can expect great service with whoever you decide to dive with. Why not make a road trip and explore the different parts of the island and experience what all 3 has to offer, getting an all-round experience of the underwater world of Ratotonga.


Photo credit: Nicholas Curzon and Kathryn Hodgson

Big Fish Dive Centre works with resorts so it’s a great way to get a good deal on diving and accommodation. Want your own transport? They will even come up with a deal for scooter hire along with your dive trips. Making it a great way to save money and have everything taken care of for you.

Pacific Divers gives you the chance to become a SCUBA instructor, being the only PADI 5* IDC on the island. Want a change in career? Why not spend 3 months here doing an internship and fully immerse yourself in the waters of this beautiful island and gaining a new career while you do it!

Dive Rarotonga is the only multi agency certifying dive centre on the island. So if you are looking to increase your certification level, or encourage a friend or loved one to get certified they have many choices for you.

No matter who you chose to dive with, the marine life stays the same. Turtles, eagle rays, hard and soft corals will be just a few of the wonders you can encounter on your dives. There are also special encounters with Manta rays and Humpback whales that will be filling your mask up with tears and leave your mind blown!


This island is special as it boasts a hard coral fringing reef that surrounds a shallow lagoon. Perfect for snorkelers and divers. It is second in popularity of the islands and is only a 45 minute flight from Rarotonga.


Photo credit: Nicholas Curzon and Kathryn Hodgson

Bubbles Below is the only dive operation on the island, meaning that while you are on your way to the dive sites you will not see any other cattle boats pouring 40 divers into the water, keeping the sites pristine and private. These guys know the sites inside out and will give you a great time, whether you are searching for macro or Mantas.

With visibility commonly in the region of 30-40m any dive you jump on will be a good one and just a short boat ride away you have numerous sites available to you.

So wandering where your next dive vacation should be…. Think the Cook Islands. Get away from the rush hour of everyday life and swap your alarm clock for the sound of the sea hugging the shore. For exclusive diving and quiet untouched beaches then this is the destination. These islands really are the jewels of the Pacific, and after experiencing them you will be left with memories that no amount of money could buy.



Photo credit: Nicholas Curzon and Kathryn Hodgson



About Author

Anne-Marie started diving in Fiji and became a rescue diver during her time at a marine conservation project there. She went on to complete her Dive Master in Cornwall, England and her IDC in Cozumel. Anne-Marie has a BSC(Hons) degree in Marine Conservation and travels all over the world teaching people to dive. She is currently in Roatan and her passions are conservation, travel and writing. Follow Anne-Marie on Instagram

Leave a Reply