Cook Islands: A South Pacific for the Rest of Us - Page 4

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ATV tours on the Cook Islands
ATV tours on the Cook Islands  (Travis Marshall)

For a rowdy ride through the woods, I turn to Coconut Tours, which offers a jungle-track ATV trek. Since the vast majority of land in the Cook Islands is family-owned and passed down over generations, access to these interior regions requires a local guide who has prearranged passage with local landowners. Along the way, I pass small villages and pens of prized pigs; stop to sample wild fruits and medicinal plants; fish-tail through deep valleys, skirting steep ridges; and power waist-deep through a dozen river crossings and mudholes before rinsing off at a local swimming spot.

All in all, the Cook Islands certainly have earned their reputation as one of the Pacific’s premier destination-wedding spots. The desert-island-beach backdrops are tough to beat. But these affordable, accessible islands encompass so much more. Just below the surface, the islands’ genuinely friendly atmosphere and homegrown adventure-travel streak simmers like a volcano, threatening to erupt into the South Pacific’s newest must-visit. Get in on the ground floor before it blows up—and anyway, why should the honeymooners have all the fun?

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