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World's Best Islands 2013

World's Best Islands: Cook Islands

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No. 22 Cook Islands

This South Pacific island group’s low-key resorts make an affordable alternative to its five-star neighbors Tahiti and Bora-Bora. Snorkeling, kayaking, and motu walking—the local pastime of wading in the shallow waters between islets—add to the appeal. For a secluded beach, head to One Foot Island; drumbeats at sundown signal the last boat back to neighboring Aitutaki Island.

Where to Stay: In one of the overwater bungalows at Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa, on a private island at the edge of the lagoon.

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