Experience Culture in the Cook Islands
With its beautiful tropical scenery and welcoming, friendly people, the Cook Islands is a wonderful holiday destination for those seeking to experience a taste of traditional culture. From the drama and legends of Te Vara Nui Village, to nature walks with Rarotonga's best known island guide, Pa, the Cook Islands will capture you with its vibrant culture and spirit. Here are three great cultural experiences for you to try:
Te Vara Nui Village
Te Vara Nui Village is Rarotonga's newest cultural village attraction offering a full authentic journey. With the combination of the interactive cultural village tour and a rich cultural performance at the ‘Ura Po’ – Dances of Legends island show, Te Vara Nui Village offers a full cultural experience. With its dazzling backdrop and dramatic performance, Te Vara Nui Village captures the heart and soul of the Cook Islands and her people. Your evening begins with the Cultural Village Tour, where you’ll meet local Cook Islands Maori who will share local stories, knowledge and Cook Islands culture. The drama of ‘Ura Po’ follows as Rarotonga's finest dancers and musicians perform by flaming torchlight on the floating and fixed stages of the waterfall garden. The experience is completed with a delicious ‘Umu’ (island buffet) fused with the culinary delights of our local and international chefs. Your experience includes exclusive seating and over-water dining. Te Vara Nui also caters to weddings and group functions for that ultimate Cook Islands experience.
Phone: 00682 24 006
With his blonde dreadlocks and his entertaining knowledge of local flora and fauna, Pa is an icon on the island of Rarotonga, taking guided walks and hikes through Rarotonga's lush interior. Pa's Nature Walk is ideal for a more gentle experience, taking you though Noni plantations and paddy fields to the beginning of the Rarotongan jungle. Those who can manage will climb with Pa to a vantage point with a breathtaking view over the island and its stunning coastline. Along the way, Pa will explain the culture and history of his Polynesian ancestors, sharing how lived and how they treated their sicknesses with ancient herbal remedies. For those who are fit and enjoy a physical challenge, Pa's Cross Island Trek lets you explore more of Pa's special domain – the mountain! The hike leads up the valley and across the island under a canopy of native trees, then to a steep 400m ascent of the Needle. En route, you'll hear legends of the ancient Polynesians and see an ancient ceremonial stone, and pictographs on the face of the Needle. After descending the mountain, your trek concludes at Wigmore's Waterfall, where you can cool off with a swim before heading home (attendance on this walk is at Pa’s discretion).
Phone: 00682 21 079
Progressive Dinner and Wine Tour
Cook Islanders love to welcome guests in their homes and this is your chance to leave the familiar surrounds of your resort and venture out to the villages to experience true Cook Islands cuisine and hospitality. As you visit the locals in their homes, you'll enjoy traditional foods and gain an insight into how Cook Islanders live, work and relax. This 5 hour wine and dining experience takes you through three island style homes, where you will feel the magic of meeting 3-4 generations under one roof. The evening begins with a traditional entrée of Ika Mata – marinated tuna in lime and coconut juice spiced with pepper and chilli. At the next home, you'll experience a main of delectable meats, island style food and salads, then on to the third and final home for a delicious dessert of fresh tropical fruit, home baked cakes, home-brewed coffee and English tea.
Phone: 00682 20 639