Aitutaki Lagoon
Aitutaki Lagoon
5
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Tuesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Saturday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
About
These waters are home to a large number of fish, making it a favorite spot for snorkeling or scuba diving.
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  • Wikidkiwi
    Bay of Islands, New Zealand155 contributions
    A must-Do!
    Wow! Definitely a bucket list item! Spend 2-3 days looking around Aitutaki, but don't go without booking a tour to get out on the lagoon! See the birds on Honeymoon Island, Get your passport stamped on One Foot Island, snorkel with the Giant Tunas, and snorkel over the clams
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 12, 2023
  • dundada
    United Kingdom188 contributions
    I love the Aitutaki Lagoon so much that I went out there twice!
    I went to the Aitutaki Lagoon twice through the Aitutaki Day Tour from Air Rarotonga which meant I was on the Vaka Cruise. Everything about Aitutaki is beautiful especially the lagoon. The ocean surrounding Aitutaki is such a bright hot neon turquoise that it has to be seen up front and in person to be believed! It’s astoundingly gorgeous. I loved snorkelling in the lagoon when I was on the the Vaka Cruise on September 28, 2022 and on October 1, 2022. I really miss being in that ultra clear ocean water and I highly recommend that lagoon for everyone!
    Visited September 2022
    Traveled solo
    Written July 13, 2023
  • Glen H
    4 contributions
    Aitutaki Day Trip from Rarotonga
    I did the day trip with my daughter, flew up in the morning, was met by the bus, and was given a tour of the main island before embarking on the Vaka Cruise. A highly recommended experience led by the Captain, Winston and his crew, providing cultural talks, scrumptious food, and musical.entertainment between islands, as well as top shelf Snorkelling locations in the bluest Lagoon I have ever seen. As an added bonus, we got our passports stamped as a keepsake and reminder of such a memorable day.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 28, 2023
  • Steve S
    Terrigal, Australia234 contributions
    Don't miss it
    Aitutaki is a must-see if you want to experience the natural beauty of the Cook Islands. It’s a 45 minutes flight with Air Raro from Rarotonga’s international airport. Landing at the airstrip, built by the Americans during WW2, you’re greeted with a friendly 'Kia Orana' and a traditional lei, a friendliness which sets the pace for the rest of your holiday. There’s a cool, calmness to life on Aitutaki that’s quite different from the busier pace of Raratonga with its traffic and bigger population of locals and tourists. Aitutaki is lush and unspoiled in an intensity of turquoise and green that left me gobsmacked. All the while the surf crashes on the outer reef in long lines of white, leaving the shallow waters of the lagoon calm and warm, and ripe for kayaking and swimming. It was windy when we went snorkelling off Tamanu beach and the visibility was not great around the small patches of coral, but unless you’ve dived on better, you will still enjoy the underwater world. Accommodation there is more expensive than its big sister island Rarotonga, but worth every penny. While the island is small, it's a good idea to hire a vehicle to get around.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 22, 2023
  • Susan _1460
    Sydney, Australia9 contributions
    Beauty of Aitutaki
    Great views lovely food mc knowledgeable.Started our trip with. Short flight to Aitutaki from Rarotonga the fare all inclusive with the cruise. That cost $600 had done the same trip 5 years ago at $500 and it’s definitely worth it. Had a tour around the island interesting to hear no dogs on the island compared to Raro where there a heaps of dogs stopped at Kori Cafe for refreshments and bought a few Pareous stunning colours then on to the Vaea the water unbelievable colours of blue stopped to snorkel with the fish so pretty and big silver fish stared with G on to the moth to swim then another to swim and had a beautiful lunch on board fruits fish salads bread. Passports are stamped for one foot island heaps of photos taken the crew sing while we are aboard the Vaka then back to the Airport to fly back to Raro a great trip had by all.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written January 11, 2024
  • Tim D
    1 contribution
    A must do when in Cook Islands
    It truly is an idyllic setting with it's amazing colours that looking better than an pool colour we've ever seen. The people are amazing. They are genuinely happy and show it throughout the day. We began meeting our tour guide Ally, who is a Aikutaki treasure, stopping along the tour route to give shoutouts to local residents. The boat trip throughout the 15 islands with numerous stoos along the way for swimming, snorkeling and a BBQ lunch onboard. The crew, guide and captain performed and entertained us playing ukelele, drums and singing along the trip. This is truly the best day we had in the Cook Island's, a must do.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 20, 2024
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Tim D
1 contribution
Feb 2024 • Couples
It truly is an idyllic setting with it's amazing colours that looking better than an pool colour we've ever seen. The people are amazing. They are genuinely happy and show it throughout the day.
We began meeting our tour guide Ally, who is a Aikutaki treasure, stopping along the tour route to give shoutouts to local residents. The boat trip throughout the 15 islands with numerous stoos along the way for swimming, snorkeling and a BBQ lunch onboard. The crew, guide and captain performed and entertained us playing ukelele, drums and singing along the trip.
This is truly the best day we had in the Cook Island's, a must do.
Written February 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Susan _1460
Sydney, Australia9 contributions
Jan 2024 • Family
Great views lovely food mc knowledgeable.Started our trip with. Short flight to Aitutaki from Rarotonga the fare all inclusive with the cruise. That cost $600 had done the same trip 5 years ago at $500 and it’s definitely worth it. Had a tour around the island interesting to hear no dogs on the island compared to Raro where there a heaps of dogs stopped at Kori Cafe for refreshments and bought a few Pareous stunning colours then on to the Vaea the water unbelievable colours of blue stopped to snorkel with the fish so pretty and big silver fish stared with G on to the moth to swim then another to swim and had a beautiful lunch on board fruits fish salads bread. Passports are stamped for one foot island heaps of photos taken the crew sing while we are aboard the Vaka then back to the Airport to fly back to Raro a great trip had by all.
Written January 12, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wei Bing L
Ipoh, Malaysia409 contributions
Nov 2023 • Family
My Uncle & I visited the Cook Islands for the first time and we took the Aitutaki Day Tour from Rarotonga. This was organised by Air Rarotonga and the Vaka Cruise company, it was impeccably executed. We were picked up outside our resort in Rarotonga at 7.15am by a mini bus, taken to the domestic airport, checked-in for the 45-minute flight, taken on a tour of Aitutaki Island and taken on a trip on the Aitutaki Lagoon on a Vaka(traditional Polynesian boat). Lunch was provided on board the Vaka, which was spacious and has 2 modern washrooms on board. Lunch consisted of a buffet which featured mostly local produce, such as salads made of locally-grown vegetables and fruits, and a grilled tuna steak for each guest. There was plenty of food, we found the salads and the dressings to be delicious. Towels and snorkeling equipment(mask, snorkel & fins) were also provided, as was unlimited hot & cold drinking water. Alcoholic beverages were extras and served only at the end of the cruise and all the water-activities. At the end of the tour, we flew back to Rarotonga and were dropped off at our resort at around 6pm.

Ali, our Aitutaki guide for that day, was marvelous. By the way, don't be deceived by the name, he is a true-blue Polynesian guy, and not a Muslim! He explained the history of the Cook Islands, the history of the settlement on Aitutaki and some of the folklore of the Polynesian Islands. Ali was extremely entertaining and informative, he is a wayfarer and has sailed from Aitutaki to Rarotonga on a traditional Polynesian sailboat.

Our day trip included stopping at 3 different islands in the Aitutaki Lagoon, the last stop was One Foot Island. We were also given a short tour of the tropical forest on the 2nd island, including a coconut-cracking demonstration by Ali. Most of the beaches around the Aitutaki Lagoon are breathtakingly beautiful! The turquoise sea with the palm-fringed white sand beaches make for picture-perfect postcard photos and will look fabulous on your Facebook and Instagram accounts! Please forgive me for being honest, but I think the beaches around Rarotonga are dreadful compared to the beaches around the Aitutaki Lagoon. Come here and see it for yourself.

IMPORTANT TIP: On One Foot Island, there is a post office which stamps visitors' passports with a very unique stamp for NZD2 each. However, if you are taking the Aitutaki Day Tour with the Vaka Cruise company, the captain of the boat or your tour guide, in our case it was Ali, would stamp your passports with that same stamp for FREE! Therefore, if you are taking this tour, please remember to bring along your passports to get this really unique souvenir for free!
Written November 30, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GRZ
Chicago, IL10,093 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
Stunning island with a stunning lagoon - an absolute must if you got Cook Islands! You can definitely do a day trip to Aitutaki and see the lagoon... but there is so much more to it then just doing the water tour...

Do! spend some time on O'otu Beach, check out the other access points to the water... and then take the water/lagoon cruise tour - and I can only recommend the Kia Orana (reviewed separately) as they will take you to the most of these little, inaccessible by land otherwise, motus/islands and spots - the smaller company/companies can do that - there is so much more to Aitutaki than just "one sand bar at the One Foot island" so do your research wisely and plan accordingly, especially if you are just having that one shot for it on a single day trip.

We have been to almost anywhere in Caribbeans, visited a few islands by now also in Pacific Ocean, including Bora Bora, and this is the top 3 tropical places we have seen/been to so far, it's just something special!

TIP: we noticed that seating on the left side of the plane both ways allowed us for the best pictures of the entire lagoon (wish I could share the video here but it's too long/too large of a file!)
Written November 26, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve S
Terrigal, Australia234 contributions
Nov 2023 • Family
Aitutaki is a must-see if you want to experience the natural beauty of the Cook Islands. It’s a 45 minutes flight with Air Raro from Rarotonga’s international airport. Landing at the airstrip, built by the Americans during WW2, you’re greeted with a friendly 'Kia Orana' and a traditional lei, a friendliness which sets the pace for the rest of your holiday. There’s a cool, calmness to life on Aitutaki that’s quite different from the busier pace of Raratonga with its traffic and bigger population of locals and tourists. Aitutaki is lush and unspoiled in an intensity of turquoise and green that left me gobsmacked. All the while the surf crashes on the outer reef in long lines of white, leaving the shallow waters of the lagoon calm and warm, and ripe for kayaking and swimming. It was windy when we went snorkelling off Tamanu beach and the visibility was not great around the small patches of coral, but unless you’ve dived on better, you will still enjoy the underwater world. Accommodation there is more expensive than its big sister island Rarotonga, but worth every penny. While the island is small, it's a good idea to hire a vehicle to get around.
Written November 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Glen H
4 contributions
Sep 2023 • Family
I did the day trip with my daughter, flew up in the morning, was met by the bus, and was given a tour of the main island before embarking on the Vaka Cruise. A highly recommended experience led by the Captain, Winston and his crew, providing cultural talks, scrumptious food, and musical.entertainment between islands, as well as top shelf Snorkelling locations in the bluest Lagoon I have ever seen. As an added bonus, we got our passports stamped as a keepsake and reminder of such a memorable day.
Written September 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

aussiewanderers
Sydney, Australia610 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
Think of the various ingredients of the ideal tropical lagoon: Big circular outer reef to cut off the ocean swell, pure white talcom-powder-like sandy bottom and beaches, crustal clear water, scattered coral bommies with colourful fish, no manmade structures in sight, coconut trees galore and small deserted islands within the lagoon. That, with no exaggeration, is Aitutaki Lagoon. We are well-travelled and can attest that it is, above the water line at least, the most beautiful place we have ever been. Under the waterline it is very very beautiful but we have to rate the coral as not as good as that around the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Aitutaki's coral is very good but not quite as colourful. Overall though, Aitutaki Laggon is prettier than the Whitsundays because the water is shallower and so the white sandy bottom produces that lovely turquoise colour across the whole lagoon, whereas it is only in a few places around the Whitsundays due to its greater water depth between islands.

Notwithstanding the above rave, you have to pick your weather carefully if you want to see the Lagoon at its best. It is still pretty on an overcast day but the rough water and lack of sunlight fail to produce the outstanding colours referred to above. Many of the snorkeling spots are out in the middle of the lagoon or near the edge of the lagoon where they are totally exposed to the wind. So even a stiff breeze (as distinct from a wind) will make snorkeling difficult. Our experience on the lagoon was on both overcast and sunny days, and we would say that if the wind exceeds 15 knots (about 30kph), don't go and wait until a calmer day. The other factor to consider re snorkeling is the speed of the current. We found this to be unpredictable. Normally current picks up at mid-tide, but the delays in the water siphoning through the narrow openings in the outer reef are such that big currents seem to appear at times well away from mid-tide. So you'll have to take pot luck on that unless you can get local advice.

Don't think you can see and experience all that the Laggon has to offer by taking a day-trip out of Rarotonga. While a day-trip is better than nothing, you won't have enough time on the water to see everything. Here is a list of worthwhile things to see and do in the Lagoon:
1) Swim off a white sandy beach - most people do this at One Foot Island but the sad truth is that it will be crowded with other tour boats. There are better sites off other beaches of other islands in the Lagoon.
2) Snorkel with Giant Trevallies - your tour boat will throw bread in the water to attract these large metre-long fish. You can watch them from the boat as they break the surface or snorkel with them, which we found amazing. Do not wear jewelry or anything which will flash a reflection as that will instinctively cause the fish to bite you. Other than that, there is no risk, they just swim around you.
3) Snorkel the "purple wall" - Not really a wall of coral but a succession of adjacent bommies with really bright purple coral
4) Snorkel clam farm - many clams either embedded in the sand or into coral. They are in a marine protected area so they and their surrounds are pristine.
5) Enjoy a BBQ lunch on an otherwise deserted island - most boat tours do this, many at One Foot Island which makes for a crowded experience.
6) Visit a deserted island and see birds nesting (unafraid of humans), large crabs and if you are lucky, a turtle.
7) Swim on a sandbank of 100% pure unadulterated white sand in crystal-clear water for as far as the eye can see (at high tide) or walk the sandbank between islands (low tide).
8) Witness (or even participate if you are game) kite surfers off Honeymoon Island
9) Not done by many people: Dive or snorkel the shipwreck in the lagoon
10) Not done by many people: Dive the outer reef of the Lagoon

Some practical tips:
1) A boat tour will show you at best 3 of the above. You need to privately charter a boat to have a chance of seeing everything. (see our review of Mona's Water Taxi)
2) You will need sunblock, insect repellant (only in some locations), snorkeling gear (some boat tours provide), drinks (either purchased on boat if it sells them or BYO), reef shoes (for areas with coral debris plus inland on islands), sunglasses, sunhat (but hold onto it as the boat goes along as it is likely to fly off), raincoat of some sort if overcast, beach towel to keep warm with after a swim or snorkel off the boat (many boat tours provide)
3) Wear your swimming togs rather than counting on changing into them - there are few available places to do so).
4) If you are super-risk averse, take some vinegar in the event you are stung by a jelly fish. The risk of anything hurting you in the water is very low. There are no sea snakes and jelly fish have to get past the surf of the outer reef to get in, which rarely happens. If there are any, they are blue-bottle like, not fatal. Sharks are extremely extremely rare.
5) Take some antiseptic cream and waterproof bandaids in case you get cut on the coral, most of which is sharp. Coral cuts easily become infected so demand instant treatment if you wish to preserve your holiday. Bring these things onto Aitutaki as supplies on the island are scarce and unreliable.
Written July 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dundada
United Kingdom188 contributions
Sep 2022 • Solo
I went to the Aitutaki Lagoon twice through the Aitutaki Day Tour from Air Rarotonga which meant I was on the Vaka Cruise. Everything about Aitutaki is beautiful especially the lagoon.

The ocean surrounding Aitutaki is such a bright hot neon turquoise that it has to be seen up front and in person to be believed! It’s astoundingly gorgeous. I loved snorkelling in the lagoon when I was on the the Vaka Cruise on September 28, 2022 and on October 1, 2022.

I really miss being in that ultra clear ocean water and I highly recommend that lagoon for everyone!
Written July 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wikidkiwi
Bay of Islands, New Zealand155 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
Wow! Definitely a bucket list item! Spend 2-3 days looking around Aitutaki, but don't go without booking a tour to get out on the lagoon! See the birds on Honeymoon Island, Get your passport stamped on One Foot Island, snorkel with the Giant Tunas, and snorkel over the clams
Written July 12, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JnVSydney
Greater Sydney, Australia18,452 contributions
Feb 2023 • Couples
This is the most amazing blue lagoon, that is definitely one of the beauties of the world, with many stunning islands such as, Honeymoon Island (Boom Boom Baby!) and a visit to One Foot Island for a swim, is a must do
Things of note:
The Giant Trevelly were massive, huge and had lots of sharp teeth. Spooky-pooky.
The highlight of that stop for us however were the Eagle Rays and a Spotted Eagle Ray just cruising around - kept us amused for quite a while.
The Giant Clams were as advised and truly a delight to to swim around
Stunning purple coral and excellent fish life.
A great day altogether.
Written April 9, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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AITUTAKI LAGOON: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Aitutaki Lagoon

Aitutaki Lagoon is open:
  • Sun - Sat 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM