Volunteering abroad with Global Volunteers ensures you’ll serve children and families in partner communities, and also experience different cultures in some of the world’s most fascinating settings. The Cook Islands is one of our service program destinations whose people and landscapes will captivate you. These free-time options on the main island of Rarotonga rival those of the most popular global tourist destinations, and makes a Cook Islands volunteer vacation suitable for families, groups and individuals of all ages.
Global Volunteers’ service programs allow ample time on weekends and after the work day to enjoy free-time activities on a Cook Islands volunteer vacation. With Rarotonga, the largest of the fifteen islands and home to capital city Avarua as your home base, you have ready access to spectacular natural beauty and top adventures on the island:
The Cook Islands is comprised of tropical beaches, and Muri Beach or Muri Lagoon, is perhaps the most popular one. Surrounded by four islets (motus), it offers a spectacular view that seems taken out of a travel magazine. As you dip into the water, you will be overcome by gorgeous shades of aquamarine. In addition to being stunned by beauty and feeling compelled to take lots of pictures, you can swim, snorkel, paddle, and see various kinds of tropical fish. Admiring all the beauty may be exhausting, but thankfully there are many resorts and restaurants around the area to enjoy local cuisine and drinks on your Cook Islands volunteer vacation.
Island Night Show
You may have heard that Cook Islanders really know how to sing, dance, and play with fire. Well, it’s true. And you can see them do all three at the same time while delighting in an island buffet. There are a few night show options at Muri beach, including awesome over-water shows depicting local legends. The show usually surprises visitors with its quality, and it’s such a fun way to learn about the Maori culture in the evening, all while serving children and families.
Swim with Eels and Sea Turtles
Take a tour towards the reefs full of coral gardens where fish, turtles, reef sharks, and moray eel love to hang out. You can do some snorkeling and scuba diving here with great visibility. If that’s not adventurous enough for you, you can also crawl your way into narrow lagoon channels to see even more fish and other amazing creatures you may have never heard of.
Rarotonga is not all sandy shores. It also offers some amazing views inland! And the most beautiful site is The Needle, a towering cliff that dominates the Rarotonga skies. On the weekend of your service program, you can book a tour to some nice viewpoints, or hike across to the other side of the island to the cool waters of Wigmore’s Waterfall. Various tours can be booked with just a few day’s notice.
Local people use motor bikes and bicycles to get around for a reasonable price. Explore the island at your own pace – but take it easy! Look for lesser-known beaches, watch the sunset, and stop for a fresh tropical smoothie after your day’s volunteer assignment. All this will guarantee an unforgettable experience in the Cook Islands.
Perfect Sunrises and Sunsets
These may be the sun’s most beautiful performances on Earth. The Cooks are the perfect islands for enjoying the vast, uninterrupted views without many people around. For the perfect sunset you may want to head to the “sunset side” (ask if you are unsure), pick your favorite beach or bar, and just enjoy the view.
Shopping at Punanga Nui Market
Saturday mornings are meant for shopping in the Cook Islands, and Punanga Nui Market in the Avarua district is one of the best places in the region for that. It’s the perfect spot to go right after breakfast, but make sure you don’t eat too much because there are lots of local cuisine options at the market. This is your chance to get souvenirs such as black pearls, shell art, wood carvings, paintings, and even hand-made ukuleles. On top of shopping and great food and drinks, you can also enjoy local music and even shows presenting traditional dances.
Learn more about how you can enjoy these gorgeous tropical sites while volunteering in a meaningful way in the Cook Islands.
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