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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in cook islands
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The Cook Islands are a self-governing parliamentary democracy in free association with New Zealand, located in Polynesia, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. It is an archipelago that consists of 15 islands spread out over 2.2 million sq. km of ocean.
Map of Cook Islands
Named after Captain Cook, who sighted them in 1770, the islands became a British protectorate in 1888. By 1900, administrative control was transferred to New Zealand; in 1965 residents chose self-government in free association with New Zealand. In effect, New Zealand handles defense, foreign affairs (including passports), and currency; otherwise the islands are self-governing. This includes immigration, which is strictly controlled--even for New Zealanders. The emigration of skilled workers to New Zealand and government deficits are continuing problems.
tropical; moderated by trade winds
low coral atolls in north; volcanic, hilly islands in south
You must have a reservation for accommodations pre-arranged, or risk being sent back on the next flight out. Though immigration and customs may be a little less strict about this than in the past and let you reserve at the airport by phone, if nothing is available you will be sent back. Camping on the beach is not allowed.
Air service is available from Auckland & Christchurch (New Zealand), Fiji, Tahiti and Los Angeles (via Tahiti). The only international airlines at present are Air New Zealand and twice-weekly Pacific Blue. Air New Zealand has code share arraignments with all other Star Alliance members including United Airlines and Rarotonga features as a stopover with several Round The World fares.
Rarotonga and Aitutaki are regular stops for cruises operating from Tahiti. Other cruise companies also stop by occassionaly.
Domestic inter-island service is provided by Air Rarotonga 1 (http://www.airraro.com). Although you can book flights through Air Zealand, it is usually cheaper to do so directly with Air Rarotonga. This has become much easier in the past few years, now that they offer online booking through their web site http://www.airraro.com. Unless you're a member of Air New Zealand's "Airpoints Dollars" program, you won't receive any airline miles for Air Rarotonga -- and then only if you book with Air New Zealand directly. Star Alliance mileage (outside of Air New Zealand) is not available.
The Intrepid travleller can visit all inhabited islands by Interisland Freighters. Due to lack of accommodation and political issues one needs to depart with the same boat.
The uninhabited islands of Takutea and Suwarrow and also Palmerston can be visited with a research vessel stationed at Rarotonga