Aitutaki is 220 kilometers north and an easy 45 minute flight from Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands. Considered one of the most magnificent lagoons in the world, with small uninhabited islands on its surrounding reef, it is unquestionably the most picturesque of the Cooks southern group islands.
Many visitors to the Cook Islands take the opportunity to discover Aitutaki’s beauty by taking a day trip from Rarotonga, which usually includes a cruise on the lagoon. However, the luxury of a little extra time fully reveals the stunning palette of a tropical retreat unsurpassed anywhere in the world; and a welcoming and friendly local populace who live life at an easy, relaxed pace. So if you’re considering a visit - stay over a night or two, or preferably longer; you will not be disappointed.
It is a place of unsurpassed natural beauty and simple tranquility, providing a rejuvenating tonic to sooth away the pressures of the outside world. The breathtaking allure of its crystal clear turquoise waters and sparkling white beaches confirms that it is “one of the places to visit while you are still on this earth”.
From the air this island paradise has to be one of the most beautiful sights in the South Pacific. Aitutaki is made up of a triangular-shaped reef encompassing an aqua lagoon in which three volcanic and twelve small coral islands nestle. A small island is known locally as a motu.
The best thing about Aitutaki is undoubtedly its lagoon. They have taxis here, but rather than those normally found on land, these are small fast boats equipped with outboard motors. They can take you to your own private island where you can spend the day snorkeling, sunbathing or having a picnic, and then pick you up after several restful, sun-filled hours.
There are also numerous lagoon tours, which last almost an entire day. Lunch, refreshments, snorkeling gear, and towels are always provided and nearly all tour operators can pick you up from the airport, or your hotel. Possibly the most well-known is Air Rarotonga’s day tour onboard Titi-ai-Tonga, a large double hulled vessel that cruises languidly in the lagoon. Sit down meals are served by friendly staff, and after snorkeling in the lagoon visitors are taken to One Foot Island (Tapuaetai).
Bishops offer a choice of cruises to various islands. And you can opt for a smaller boat with a more intimate and personal tour if you wish. After a wonderful morning of snorkeling and feeding the fish, lunch is usually served at One Foot Island which boasts what could be the world’s smallest Post Office. Don’t forget to take your passport with you; because you can have it stamped here, making a great souvenir of your visit.
Visitors will find a wide range of accommodation options available on the main island; from award-winning boutique resorts to less expensive clean and comfortable motel-style properties. A number of small shops offer grocery goods and liquor. And you’ll also find ATM’s, a choice of café’s and restaurants and Island Night cultural shows.
The best way to see the Aitutaki mainland is by hired car or motor scooter. A winding road criss-crossing the island and lots of small tracks, lead to interesting, unexpected places and a number of local villages. Several guided tours are available on the main island, visiting ancient sites, burial grounds and major points of interest. Most serve light refreshments or lunch.
Hot sun, white sands, swaying coconut palms, a stunning turquoise lagoon and romantic sunsets - Aitutaki is blessed with them all; and friendly, laughing people who make you feel very welcome – all the time. You’ll find lots more information within our Aitutaki stories…