Are you dreaming of tying the knot on white sands with crystal clear waters in the background? What about a dreamy boat ride through one of the world’s most serene lagoons? Have you pictured jumping in the ocean with your wedding dress? Eloping in the Cook Islands is all about adventure and fun under the sun. This South Pacific paradise has lush tropical landscapes, schools of tropical fish, long stretches of white sand beaches, and even a special lagoon with translucent waters. Visiting the Cook Islands means planning your own adventure, whether that means relaxing on the beach or a full-throttle adrenaline-filled trip. If you’ve always pictured an adventurous and wild elopement day on one of the most beautiful spots in the world, why not plan a Cook Islands elopement? 

One Foot Island, a small island on the Aitutaki Atoll in the Cook Islands, South Seas, South Pacific Ocean

Where to Elope in the Cook Islands  

Clear blue waters, lush tropical jungles, and white sand beaches… The Cook Islands is a total paradise for beach lovers everywhere. This set of islands in the South Pacific has so much to offer eloping couples. The diversity of landscape means planning an intentional and adventurous Cook Islands elopement that speaks to just the two of you. Plan it all yourself!

  • On the beach: The Cook Islands are famous for their pristine beaches and underwater life. Why not have that dreamy beach elopement you’ve always dreamed of? Tropical flowers, toes in the sand… It’s all possible with this Cook Islands elopement. If you feel comfortable with it, you can even jump in the water and “trash the dress” as they say…and get some unbelievably beautiful photos in the meantime! 
  • On a boat: If you’re planning on eloping in the Cook Islands, consider renting out a boat and eloping at sea. Renting a boat for the day might not cost as much as you imagine, and it will give you flexibility to plan the day you want, and even go swimming if that’s what you imagine. If you do want to elope on a boat, I’d recommend eloping on Aitutaki, where we can access many secluded island spots by boat. 
  • Surrounded by nature: If you’re set on the Cook Islands but you don’t want that toes-in-the-sand elopement experience, why not plan a lush, tropical elopement? Lacing up your hiking boots for one of the scenic trails on Rarotonga can be an amazing way to elope in the middle of the jungle. 

Whatever you imagine for your elopement, keep in mind that Jayne can plan the most epic and unforgettable elopements – so if you’re not seeing your perfect elopement spot here, get in touch

What to Do on Your Elopement Day

What is there to do in Cook Islands? Good question. This small set of islands may look a little boring… but that couldn’t be further from the truth! The best things to do in Cook Islands involve lots of swimming, snorkeling and relaxing. Here are some fun things to do in Cook Islands: 

  • Visit Aitutaki: The romantic island of Aitutaki isn’t often visited by tourists, but this secret island paradise – just an hour by small plane – is the perfect spot for lovers. This island is home to one of the most breathtaking lagoons in the world. The calm, crystal clear waters are great for swimming, watersports, and snorkeling. Be sure to visit this island for a few days and soak it all in! It is, hands down, one of the most unforgettable places in the world. 
  • Visit Muri Beach: Muri Beach on the big island is one of the most popular spots to visit. This beautiful beach is home to clear waters, lively beach bars, and plenty of shopping spots. It’s a great place to visit if you’re not staying in the area. Plus, if you love to snorkel, organize a tour off the coast to see some of the pretty reefs! 
  • Visit Titikaveka Beach: Located on the southwest coast of Rarotonga, this pretty beach is one of the best places to swim and snorkel. The water is so clear that many times, you don’t actually have to snorkel to see the fish. It’s also a really nice place to kayak, too. Nearby, you can also visit the coral stone Cook Islands Christian Church dating from 1841.
  • Cross-Island Hike to Te Rua Manga (The Needle): Explore Rarotonga’s lush scenery with a nice hike across the island. The challenging trail takes around four hours to complete, and guides are highly recommended as trails might not be clearly marked. Avoid tackling this trail if it has rained recently, as that weather can make the terrain unsafe. The hike, though difficult, will reward you with breathtaking views of the island and surrounding beaches. 
  • Take a scenic flight: There is truly nothing like seeing Rarotonga from the air. You can book a special 30-minute scenic flight around Rarotonga to get a full glimpse of the gorgeous island. 

Not seeing the perfect adventure? Don’t worry, there’s plenty more to do when you visit the Cook Islands. 

One Foot Island, a small island on the Aitutaki Atoll in the Cook Islands, South Seas, South Pacific Ocean

The best time to elope in the Cook Islands 

The best time to visit the Cook Islands is between April and November, during their driest season. Temperatures during these summer months will be warm and toasty, but not too hot. The Cook Islands are tropical, so expect some humidity. Temperatures will reach 90F during the summer months. 

If you want to visit outside these months, perhaps consider eloping somewhere else. During the winter months, it often rains frequently. The typhoon season runs from November to April each year. It’s no fun getting stuck on the island during rough weather!

the main Aitutaki island surrounded by a glassy flat lagoon and a sense of peace.

Where to Stay in the Cook Islands 

The Cook Islands may have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and picking the right hotel can create the perfect atmosphere to enjoy the island atmosphere. Hotels in the Cook Islands have so much to offer, from relaxing beach atmospheres to romantic experiences for newlyweds! The best hotels in Cook Islands include the following spots, which cater to many different budgets:

I’d recommend staying on the main island, of course, especially near Muri Beach.. But also taking some time and visiting Aitutaki, home to one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world.  

One Foot Island, a small island on the Aitutaki Atoll in the Cook Islands, South Seas, South Pacific Ocean
The beautiful Aitutaki lagoon. Photo by Samantha Tatro of Undiscovered Path Home

What to Eat during your Tropical Elopement  

Like many islands in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands have their own unique culinary landscape. Traditional meals in the Cook Islands almost always include bread or rice with starch-heavy vegetables like taro, coconut, and kumara. Many dishes will include fish and ocean delicacies caught off the coast, like pasua (or giant clam). It’s common for meals to include banana, cassava, coconut, papaya and other local fruits as a side dish or dessert. 

If you’re a foodie like me, be sure to flag these amazing restaurants for your Cook Islands elopement. Just a heads up: because this is a tropical island, expect food prices to be a little higher than you might expect per person. 

Where to drink in the Cook Islands 

Visiting Aitutaki Lagoon in the Cook Islands
Aitutaki. Photo by Samantha Tatro of Undiscovered Path Home

The Cook Islands has so many wonderful spots to sit, relax, grab a drink and enjoy the view. These are some of the best bars in the Cook Islands:

One Foot Island, a small island on the Aitutaki Atoll in the Cook Islands, South Seas, South Pacific Ocean
Photo by Samantha Tatro of Undiscovered Path Home

How to get to the Cook Islands

To visit Cook Islands, you’ll need to take a plane. You can fly from New Zealand, of course, but many western cities in the U.S. (like Los Angeles) offer direct flights to Rarotonga through Air New Zealand. 

How to Legally Elope in the Cook Islands 

It’s always easier and less stressful to handle the legal paperwork where you live. But if you do want to get legally married in the Cook Islands, it’s possible. Prior to your wedding, you will need to apply for your marriage license in person at the Rarotonga Registrar of Marriages. Make sure to bring your passport and original birth certificate to apply for the marriage license, also known as the Notice of Intended Marriage. You need to be at least 21 years old.

The Aitutaki Lagoon
Photo by Samantha Tatro of Undiscovered Path Home

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