I chose this place on the basis of online information. I had never been to a Pacific islands other than Hawaii. I had 5 days in the Cook Islands, chosen because the airline agent said it was a pretty place.
Ingrid met me at the airport, and left me at the door of a tiny apartment - very middle class. There was nothing fancy, but it was clean little place with a queen bed & small couch, a fan, a bath with shower, and a kitchen corner. I also hard a little porch with furniture and a barbeque., and a yard with visiting chickens.
After a nap, I walked a hundred yards or so to a small store and stocked my little kitchen.
Later I caught the bus at the end of the driveway and circled the island. I rode that bus, with it's barefoot driver, every day. As I'd wait for the bus, local people would offer me a ride - to town, or to other things.
One day Ingrid took me for a tour of the island. She knew a lot about the history, and she loved the place.
One day we went to see black pearls - at the home of a woman friend. I'd had a look at store prices and these were more reasonable.
Another night we attended a wonderful dance competition, teams from all over the Cook Islands drummed and danced.
This was a good experience for me. I wanted to see what life was like - to get a littleidea of what it was to live there.
Now, Rarotonga is on the back side of the date line, my destination, Auckland, is on the other side. I was due to leave at midnight, and got confused about which night. Ingrid dropped me off at the airport the required 2 hours early. Nothing opens, nothing moves until an house before the flight. When I got to the airline desk & learned that my flight was the next night, I called Poor Ingrid who picked me up again at 11:30 and brought me home. Next night she again gamely delivered me to the airport, with a little checking, "You're sure, now, that this is right?"
In summary, an excellent experience, because of a knowlegable and welcoming hostess, and a comfortable home away from home.