The Cook Islands are named after the English explorer James Cook, who first visited the islands in 1773. The 15-island archipelago has a land area of ​​240 km2 and is located in the middle of the South Pacific. The closest neighboring countries are Tahiti, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau. The Cook Islands have been populated since the 6th century by the Polynesians, who have a very friendly attitude. The residents are closely related to the Maori, only the official language is English. Parliamentary democracy has around 16,000 inhabitants and this number is falling because many young people are going to try their luck in New Zealand. The islands have been under protectorate of New Zealand since 1901 and in 1965 the Cook Islands were given self-government. The 9 southern islands are of volcanic origin and therefore somewhat higher up. The 6 northern atolls, caused by coral growth, are a bit older. The most interesting tourist destinations are Aitutaki, Atiu and the largest island of Rarotonga. Rarotonga is the main island and the capital is Avarua. Geographically, the islands are characterized by volcanoes, tropical jungle, paradisiacal beaches, coral reefs and lagoons. There is generally a warm and pleasant climate, interspersed with weather surprises such as trade winds and precipitation. Sights are nature, and rich culture with a Polynesian dance festival, a singing competition that lasts a month and the Tiare festival. Furthermore, a full day lagoon cruise (snorkeling) should not be missing from the list of activities!

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