We all have our own definition of paradise tucked away in our mind. It might slightly vary for each of us. However, real, raw and almost untouched paradise – we are talking white, fine sand beaches, azure blue water, lush green palm trees and even coconuts – does exist. On Rarotonga.

In the Central South Pacific, we find the exotic Cook Islands. Rarotonga – meaning south wind – is the biggest of 15 islands. An almost circular volcanic island, its many mountains rise improbably lush and green above silvery beaches and encircling blue sea. After a long journey, it is a fitting and amazing reward for the traveller seeking some time in paradise.

A Different Notion of Time in Rarotonga

The island is said to have been discovered by early Polynesian settlers. They named it Rarotonga. Raro means “down” and tonga translates to “to the south”: Down to the south, literally.

Setting foot on this dreamy isle transports you to a surreal place. The clear water is rolling in with sometimes gentle, oftentimes impressive, waves that sooth our senses. Old artifacts linger peacefully behind rocks,inviting a visitor to travel back in time. They are a a touch of times past and allow the traveler to imagine stories for himself.

Paradise is open to all kind hearts. – Pierre Jean de Beranger

Tropical vegetation is in full bloom, covering the majority of the island. A handful of unsurfaced paths provide a deeper look into the wildlife and heart of the island  –  if the traveler allows himself to get lost and drift deeper into the inland. The Cross-Island-Trek is a breathtaking hike through the rugged, thick jungle heart of Rarotonga.

Life Close to Nature

Daily, laid-back life takes place along the dazzling coastline. Here in the Cook Islands, it is all about savoring the moment surrounded by natural beauty and appreciating the little things in life – such as being alive. As legend has it, Ari, the wife of the god Tonga-iti, found this island in the sea and anchored it to the ground. She named it Nuku Tere: the floating island. 

You are encouraged to explore the crystal clear water snorkeling or scuba diving. Immerse yourself in this stunning blue water with all its exotic and colorful life and become one with this wonderfully surreal piece of paradise.

A Small Part in the Southern Seas

The rocks scattered throughout Rarotonga have survived millions of years. It makes us realize just how long this place has existed. It boggles our minds. Surrounded by a blue lagoon, this isolated and dreamy spot encourages the mind to wander far while we walk slowly through the pleasantly warm salty water. We can only imagine the many secrets the massive South Sea holds, and we know we are but a small small part of the great web of life.

Taking Life Slow

Slow living, just to the inhabitants’ liking. Functioning as a part of nature, its people have to surrender to it, for its power will always be greater than human actions. Wander through the streets of the Cook Islands’ capital Avarua. There, experience the honest friendliness of the locals, and immerse yourself in the simple beauty of this authentic place. It means that we should all dream a little – dream of an untouched world where everyone lives in harmony. Here on Rarotonga, life is slow. No rush. No hassle. Simply slow-paced life.

Young Couple Silhouette Shot

A silhouette shot of a young couple which is enjoying an amazing sunset – Rarotonga Beach – Cook Islands

This last photo is the epitome of the romantic spirit that prevails at Rarotonga Beach, especially when the day comes to a close. Here, a couple, deeply in the moment, enjoys the last rays of light before the sun disappears. Here, they sit on a bench outside of a beach hotel savoring their time together. It is a moment that makes time stand still. This is life in its rarely portrayed raw form; an intimate moment captured in this dazzling place.

Kia orana – may you live long and appreciate the pure essence of being alive on this gorgeous planet we all call home.