This is a common question Global Volunteer Alumni hear when they return from a volunteer program in the Cook Islands. “Where even is Rarotonga? Where are the Cook Islands? Wasn’t Survivor filmed there? How do you get there?” To most alumni, the Cook Islands are a magical place. It has a piece of their heart. And they return time after time after time…
Here is how Bob Allen, a Cook Islands Global Volunteer, describes Rarotonga:
The Cook Islands are a magical place to my wife Ele & me. We discovered them in the early ‘90’s when I saw a photo of Muri Beach, you know, the coconut tree bending out over a white sand beach, a sparkling lagoon with surf pounding on a coral reef!
I said to my wife, “I wonder if there is any place to stay here.” There certainly was and we started traveling there every other year. After being there many times, I wondered if there were any volunteer opportunities there. That is how I met James Puati, Global Volunteers’ Cook Islands In-country Manager, and became acquainted with many volunteers and local teachers and govt. officials. The local people are as friendly and warm as the tropical climate. The local food is great and there is always something to do! The volunteers eat at the motel, the meals are catered in by local chefs. Just wonderful!!
When someone asks me about the location of the Cooks, I tell them that they are between Tahiti and Samoa, at about 20 degrees below the equator. I tell them that if they want to drive to Rarotonga, first go to Honolulu and make a sharp left hand turn. Drive South for 2500 miles and you will be on Rarotonga.
I can’t say enough good things about the Global Volunteers In-country Manager, James Puati, he is wonderful. The KiiKii motel where we stay is right on the lagoon and the coral reef is about 200 yards out. And the KiiKii has a nice pool. I am looking forward to returning to the Cook Islands, some of the volunteers and local people I’ve known for over 15 years now!
How can I volunteer in the Cook Islands?
Visit Global Volunteers’ Volunteer in the Cook Islands website page to learn more about service opportunities in Rarotonga. Or, chat online with one of our Volunteer Coordinators. We’re ready to assist you with project descriptions, travel questions, registration guidance and other program details.