If you lumped together all 15 of the Cook Islands, you'd still get a mere speck of landmass—less than a quarter of the size of Rhode Island, the smallest U.S. state. But these tiny bits of land, flung out like expressionist spatters over a vast expanse of the South Pacific, are among the world's most idyllic tropical islands.
For the most part, the Cook Islands haven't changed a great deal since the arrival of English missionaries and warships more than a century ago. The Cooks are as beautiful as ever, and visitors will find them to be charming, clean, safe and friendly. T
However, with the growing influx of visitors these days, you'll have to share the islands with a lot more people than before, especially in July and August when New Zealanders spend their winter holidays there. The Cooks are a protectorate of New Zealand, and as aid from New Zealand has decreased, the government has turned increasingly to tourism for income. At times, the islands can seem jammed with tourists.
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