Situated halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, the 15 islands of the Cooks are a lesser-known treasure of the South Pacific. While the Polynesian powerhouses of Tahiti and Fiji may get all the press, the Cook Islands offer all the lush tropical beauty without the crowds and high prices. A mix of coral atolls and volcanic islands, calm blue lagoons encircle white-sand, palm lined beaches creating an idyllic setting. The main island of Rarotonga (Raro to the locals) is by far the most populated; though don’t expect to find a crowd anywhere on these secluded shores. All international flights arrive in Raro and you’ll find accommodation ranging from high-end resorts to relaxed beach bungalows. While in Raro, don’t miss out on the chance to venture out to some of the outer islands. In fact, for a sense of what Bora Bora might have been like before all the resorts moved in, hop a flight to Aitutaki. It’s the stuff of South Pacific legends.