The Cook Islands or Bora Bora – Which Holiday Destination to Choose?

the cook islands or bora bora

Having a hard time deciding whether to visit the Cook Islands or Bora Bora for your upcoming holidays? Well, you are at the right place! In the following guide, we did in-depth research about both countries, and hopefully, this article will help you in picking the most suitable destination.

The Cook Islands is one of the most exquisite tourist locations on the planet. The island offers a long stretch of white sandy beaches located in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean. The islands cover a large area, but the population of people living there is tiny. There are numerous well-developed resorts that you can stay in during your vacation. There is plenty of verdant scenery that you can enjoy during your vacation. The islands are named after James Cook, who arrived at this location in 1770. Apart from its awesome culture and diversity, there is so much that you can enjoy during your visit to the island. This is one of the most photogenic places on the planet and a tropical paradise.

Bora Bora is a travel destination that has gained a considerable reputation in the recent past. This Caribbean island is located on the leeward side of French Polynesia. If you are looking for white sandy beaches and turquoise water, this is a perfect location. The coastline is fantastic and is filled with unique features that make Bora Bora a place to be. The specialty of Bora Bora is an upmarket holiday destination, and the spectacular lagoons and remarkable landscape are some of the attractions. Food and other costs can be expensive in Bora Bora compared to other islands such as the Cook Islands. However, when looking for a tourist destination, both places should be on your list.

Before continuing, be sure to keep our other comparison guides in another tab:


Cook Islands

By air

An airline operates in the Cook Islands, and you can use it to move from one part to another. The airline has regular flights, and you can book your ticket on the company website.


Rarotonga is the most populated island in the Cook Islands. It is the area where you will get the major international airport. There is a bus service that operates around the island. The fares will vary depending on the distance covered.


Some boats offer transportation in the southern group of islands. However, since some of these islands are inaccessible, the timelines on the bus travel are just guidelines.


If you have a valid motorcycle license accepted internationally, this location is the best place to visit. You must always wear a helmet while you are on the road.

deserted island

Bora Bora


Some buses usually move from one part of the island to the other. For example, the buses from Vaitape to Matira are $6.30. Depending on the location, the fares will vary.


You can rent a scooter that will take you around the islands from one point to another. You will be charged $126 for a small car or $23 for bicycles.


Different taxi companies are operating in the country, and you can board any of them. It is important to note that the taxis are not metered therefore the cost may be higher. Always negotiate with your driver before you leave for your destination.

bora bora fisherman

Accommodation in the Cook Islands



A couple of hostels in Aorangi and backpackers and people on a budget can stay for as little as $28 per night. The staff is friendly, and the rooms are pretty spacious. You can stay in this hotel during your visit to the islands.


There are several guesthouses that you can stay in during your visit. They have private rooms, and you can spend a night in one of them for $20 to $35. You must talk to your host hotel to describe the amenities you will have before choosing one.


Edgewater resort

This is an exceptional resort in Rarotonga, and it features some of the most idyllic views of the sea. There is a spa as well where you can relax and unwind. So whether you are looking for a resort that will not break your budget as you stay in the islands, this is the best choice. The price is from $135 per night.


Managawai garden villas

This is a fantastic hotel that is often chosen as the best hotel among tourists visiting the destination. The villas provide an ambient environment where you can relax and unwind. The bedrooms feature king-sized beds, and you are sure that you can have the time of your life in this location. You can sunbathe on the serene island as you enjoy the peaceful environment. The price is $180, going up depending on the room chosen.

Aitutaki lagoon resort

This is a perfect destination that you should visit during your next trip because it offers a series of bungalows that you can check out as you see the amazing features of the island. The turquoise waters, quiet rooms offer a perfectly tranquil environment that you should visit. The villas feature the Polynesian décor, and you can stay in a room with unique views of the environment. The price is $175 upwards, depending on the room chosen.


Seachange villas

If your budget is on the luxury level, you should take time to explore some of the exceptional locations that the islands have to offer. The sandy beaches offer amazing lagoon views, and you can see the best that this location has to offer. You can enjoy the sunrise on your private deck, and there is a fully fitted kitchen that you can whip up breakfast. Unfortunately, the price is $380 going up.

Tamanu beach resort

The tamanu beach resorts offer the best environment that you can relax and unwind during your holiday. This hotel is dotted with amazing palm trees, and they offer the most fantastic views of the ocean. The bed is king size, and you can enjoy the outdoor environment a well. The price ranges from $350 going up.

Little Polynesian Resort

The Little Polynesian Resort is your ideal location if you are going to Rarotonga. The environment creates a tranquil space where you can relax, unwind, and enjoy the fantastic views of the natural environment. The thatched-roof villas have only the A- list of items, and you are sure that you will have the time of your life when visiting this location.

Accommodation in Bora Bora



There are multiple guesthouses in Bora Bora, and you will spend anything from $50 going up. These guesthouses offer the amenities that you have been looking for in a beach hotel. You can find one that has Wi-Fi and breakfast. Some of them offer free pickup from the airport and the ferry terminal.

Bora Bora hostels

There are several hostels in Bora Bora, and you are sure that you will find a place to stay on your next visit. The hostels are the ideal locations for backpackers and people who are on a budget. The cost of the hostels is from $30 going up.


There are several Airbnb on the islands, and you and you can visit the island on a budget. You can get a glimpse of the best tourist location by choosing an Airbnb where you can cook your meal. The price of these Airbnb is from $80 going up.


Oa Oa Lodge

If you are looking for a hotel or resort on a mid-range budget, then this is the right choice for you. The hotel is situated on the beach, and you can rent a bicycle to enjoy your excursions around the island. You can get a room in this hotel from $100 going up.

Fare o’Eden

This is a perfect tourist destination that you should be visiting on your next vacation. You should investigate the different aspects of this destination and enjoy your stay at the hotel. There are beautiful views of the mountains, a serene sea environment, and long white sandy beaches that you can enjoy while on your stay in the islands. The price is from $180 going up.

luxury hotel

Villa Rea Hanaa

The hotel situated in French Polynesia is a perfect tourist destination that you should be visiting on your next vacation. The hotel features beautiful villas that have some of the best views of the islands. The services from the hostel are exceptional, and you can book a room for $180 per night.


Hilton Resort

The Hilton resort Moorea is one of the best luxurious places to check out when visiting Bora Bora. At this hotel, you will have a private terrace that allows you to explore the feature of the sea, and you will part with $800 per night for a room in the hotel.


The intercontinental hotel is impressive in Bora Bora, and it features the most exquisite tranquil environment that you can relax and unwind during your next vacation. You should bring your snorkeling gear to this excellent destination. The price of a room in this location is $1300 per night.

Four Seasons Resort

This is a perfect hotel location if you are looking to unwind and relax in the islands. You are sure that you will enjoy your stay in this location. The prices for the rooms in this island hotel are from $1600 going up. The rooms feature the best environment in the country.

Daily budget

The Cook Islands

The budget for traveling and around the Cook Islands will depend on what you want to experience and the kind of spending you are willing to spend. There are hostels. Therefore, you can get a room for $20, and the meals are not expensive. Food is not costly because either you can get a meal for $20 or look for foreign meals, you can pay up to $50 per meal. If you are on a tight budget, you will spend anything from $100 going up, medium-range travel will spend about $150, while a person on a luxurious budget is from $500 going up.


Bora Bora

Bora Bora is one of the most expensive islands in the Caribbean. As a budget traveler, you will be required to pay around $200 because the meals and travel costs can be pretty high when compared to other locations. The budget for a midrange traveler will be around $500 per day, while that of a luxurious traveler will cost anything from $800 to going up.


Cook Islands


If you are looking for a perfect tourist activity that you can enjoy in the Cook Islands is fishing. The Cook Islands offers some of the best deep waters where you can enjoy deep-sea fishing. Some of the fishes include yellow fish, dolphins, and barracuda, among others.


Kayaking is a fun activity that you can explore on your next trip to the Cook Islands. The best place you can visit is in Rarotonga, where the waters are clear, and you can explore snorkeling.

Explore the marine research center

There is a small research center that is focused on marine restoration activities. Here you can learn more about the fish in this location and the diversity that is available in this location.

Bora Bora

Tour lagoons

One of the most fun activities you can do while in Bora Bora is exploring the lagoons. The mountains and the ever-changing marine environment make it the best destination where you can explore different aspects during your holiday. First, you will have to get into the water on a boat, taking you around the lagoon. You should have your camera well charged so that you can capture all the moments effectively during your trip.

Visit the islands

Bora Bora is surrounded by other islands, and you can take your time to explore these islands and get to know how they look from the rural parts. Motu is a famous island, and you can go on a picnic in this fantastic destination.


One of the most fun activities that you can do while in Bora Bora is to go snorkeling. Bora Bora has some of the most pristine waters, and you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports.

Food Options

Cook Islands

Ika Mata

This is one of the traditional delicacies in the Cook Islands. It is similar to raw fish, but it is more than this because they incorporate coconut cream and other vegetables. You can take your time to explore what the natural environment has to offer as you sample the meal.

Banana poke

This is a meal cooked from overripe bananas, and they are often dipped in coconut cream and served with different stews and delicacies. The food is filled with a high amount of sugar, and you are sure that you will be enjoying one of the best dishes.


These are taro leaves, which are pickled at a young age before being cooked three times in coconut cream to ensure that they are well cooked. They are then served with corned beef or any other vegetarian dish you like.

Bora Bora


This dish was first introduced in South East Asia, and it incorporated fish and rice. The sushi in Bora Bora features fresh fish directly from the ocean, prepared before serving it with sweet rice.

Foie Gras

This is a famous French cuisine, and it is often a delicacy in Bora Bora that features the techniques used in preparing it in France and local inclusion of the local methods. It is a fantastic customary dish that you should try while visiting the islands.

Pork rotisserie

This is one of the most delicious meals in Bora Bora. The fresh pork is cooked with pineapple slices, giving it a unique infusion making it the best you can ever try.

Mahi Mahi

This dish is prepared with vanilla sources, and the vanilla used in the making is fresh from the farms before they are utilized in making the meals.

Culture & People

Cook Islands

The people of Cook Islands are a unique group of individuals because they have European and Polynesian influences. All these influences can be seen in music, art, craft, and customs, and traditions.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora has an infusion of the traditional Caribbean people, and their cooking and culture is influenced by south pacific cultures, Italian, Japanese and French influence.

Best time to visit

Cook Islands

The best time that you can visit the Cook Islands is from April through November. This is an excellent period because the weather is pleasant and you can explore more about the country and the people. The temperature ranges from 24 to 30 degrees Celsius.


Bora Bora

The best time that you can visit Bora Bora is from May through November. After that, the weather changes from warm to hot and wet as from November. During the summer, you can enjoy water sports as well as see the amazing marine life.


Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is a safe place that tourists can visit any time of the year. However, there is the risk of disease from insect bites and sunburn. Therefore, you must visit this location well prepared to deal with mosquitos and excessive sunburns.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is exceptionally safe for tourists. However, you must always take care of your belongings to avoid tempting people. Always be vaccinated before traveling and have adequate mosquitoes repellant.

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.