Like an elegant string of black pearls for which they are famous, the Cook Islands are spread throughout these rich, warm waters in the heart of the South Pacific. Fifteen magical, diverse islands are spread over 850,000 square miles (2.2 million sq. km) of these South Seas, just west of Tahiti. The Cook Islands is in virtually the same position south of the equator as Hawaii is north. Located just west of Tahiti, the Cook Islands remains an unspoiled Polynesian paradise. Situated in the heart of the Polynesian Triangle, these islands are small in size, but large in spirit. The two most populous islands are Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Two dramatically different islands, each offering very different Cook Islands' experiences.