I was in the Cook Islands about four years ago. How does Bora Bora compare? Any comments would be great.
They are definately different..... accomodations in Tahiti are more refined. In the Cooks, most properties are small family run places with full kitchens. There are few places like this in Bora Bora. Overwater bungalows are in Tahiti and not in the Cooks. There is one property in Aitutaki with overwater but just the decks are overwater. There are only a few resorts in the Cooks, and some small five star places with just a few bungalows. Bora Bora has the beautiful lagoon, and Aitutaki in the Cooks compares closely with Bora Bora's lagoon.
The island itself of Aitutaki is not as picturesque as Bora Bora. Rarotonga is similar to Moorea. The Cooks offer a more authentic experience, whereby, there is more local flavor readily available to the tourist.
I haven't been to the Cooks, but BF has been to both Aitutaki and Rarotonga. We spent 3 weeks on Moorea and he said that Moorea was way better than either Aitutaki or Rarotonga. Specifically, the snorkeling was better, the coral much more colorful and plentiful. He also thought the locals were much more friendly and helpful on Moorea. We don't speak any French, but had no problem finding locals who wanted to practice their English. Moorea was more expensive, but BF seems to think it was worth the extra expense because we're going back to French Polynesia again this year. Trying Bora Bora and one other TBD island. I fully expect to love Bora Bora as much if not more than Moorea!
Bora Bora is the most beautiful island I have ever seen, but sadly is now overbuilt, overpriced, and overexploited. Sorry folks but it's true. Rarotonga reminded me of Moorea though not so dramatic. Aitutaki is further along towards being an atoll than Bora Bora. Specifically it has extensive motu and a beautiful lagoon, just lacks a mountainous dramatic main body island. Aitutaki is not riddled with resorts and prices are lower. Rarotonga has plenty of resorts and are spaced around the island which has tons of beaches all over. Lagoon on Raro is not as good as most outer islands in either group. Cook's are further south and will be cooler from May-September. Rarotonga in my experience and from word of mouth is not the place to go for reliable weather. I know I never saw the sun there as have others I have talked to. Aitutaki and Bora Bora will have better weather than Raro and Tahiti itself. The more mountains an island has and the bigger they are, the more cloudiness is possible. If a island is on the small side and has many interior mountains, the worse it can be.
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