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- 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 30 November 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- My Uncle & I visited the Cook Islands for the first time, we took the Aitutaki Day Tour from Rarotonga, the day trip was organised by Air Rarotonga and the Vaka Cruise company. The entire day trip was very well executed, from the 7.15am pick-up from our resort in Rarotonga, to the checking-in for the 45-minute domestic flight to Aitutaki, to the Aitutaki Island tour and the Vaka cruise trip in the Aitutaki Lagoon. One Foot Island was the last stop of the day for our day trip and it was DEFINITELY the highlight of our day trip. The beach here is by far the most beautiful beach in the Cook Islands and in the South Pacific Ocean, on par with the beaches of Bora Bora in French Polynesia! The turquoise colour of the lagoon and the palm-fringed beach makes for postcard-perfect pictures for your Facebook and Instagram accounts! Please forgive me, but I have to admit that the beaches around Rarotonga are dreadful, compared to the beach of One Foot Island. Come here and see it for yourself.
INTERESTING TIP: There is a post office on One Foot Island that will stamp your passports with a very unique stamp for NZD2 each. However, if you are taking the Aitutaki Day Tour, the captain of the Vaka Cruise will stamp your passports with the same stamp for FREE! Therefore, please remember to bring your passports along if you are going for the day trip with the Vaka Cruise company.Written 30 November 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Spent two days out with E2’s Crew … great team … met most of the family as well
Bonefish hooked up both days,
Knowledgeable few , boat in good order and good service, fishing gear in good order.
Had a great time. Would recommend it to anyone.Written 14 October 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- There are a few hotels in this area of the island, we stayed at Tai Roto Bay (reviewed separately) and had access to this beach either fallowing along the shoreline (via shortcut) or going around the main road to arrive at the Aitutaki Village - it's a great place thanks exactly to that hotel and its Blue Lagoon Restaurant as that's where you will get your food/drinks from.
There are no loungers here etc. as the only ones belong to the AV hotel but either way people just end up swimming in the water/walking on the sandbars - it's not the traditional type of beach, since the either island and the Aitutaki Lagoon aren't - this is not just for the eyes type of feast, but I would say it more is than for the actual beach activities/chilling - however it is spectacular.
TIP: there are some low tides in the lagoon and the shoreline can change drastically - which was also fun to see/experienceWritten 25 November 2023
- Did a lagoon cruise snorkel and ended up here to explore and have a potluck bonfire. WOW. WOW. WOOOW. Cannot even describe because it was so gorgeous!!!Written 6 December 2022
- Most people dont come to Aitutaki for land activities... some just even come for a single day just to check out the lagoon and leave... but I think this was the nicest land activity we have come across during out 5 days on Aitutaki and I would say it's a must for everyone who is staying for 1+ day plus on this beautiful island, and in particular if they rent a car (which I would also recommend for a single day as that way you can get to see it "all").
I am trying to leave here a lot of helpful hints via trail/error we did and my markings on the google maps as the actual roads aren't correctly marked or visible at all;
1. You don't need an SUV/AWD - we drove a small passenger car and made it perfectly fine - you will go through some steep and uneven terrain at times but nothing dangerous or hazardous - once you make it to the "final flat" terrain is where any type of car has to stop either way as from here it's a short, yet very intensively steep, walk/hike - people with mobility issues or young children are discouraged from going - we are perfectly fine couple in mid/late 30s and we were very careful as you do slip easily from the gravel/dirt, especially downhill - it's nothing extreme but definitely requires due seriousness...
2. You can do it from either east or west side of the island - we did it from the west, literally there is a sign across the street from the Paradise Cove hotel, you take that road up the hill and here is where you want to find my directions on the blue arrows - see the blank version of it vs. with my markings for the actual road difference via google maps
3. Do wear comfortable shoes, absolutely no flip flops - that last hill is slippery and steeeeeppppp - yes you can prove me wrong that you can do it with flip flops on but it's absolutely not worth the risks
4. The views are 360 and it's awesome, a great spot for a picnic, to go lunch, chill - we had it to ourselves, we havent bumped into anybody at all whether driving or walking here :)
5. Take your time going down! Lastly... take your time going down... it's very steep and slippery!
6. Like I said before you can go east to west or west to east - we went west to east and it felt almost that we were going through someone's private property (the last picture with brown road, you can see farm animals) towards the east side, the road wasn't as "official" but it's definitely less hilly/steep, yet traction isnt't as great so after the rain maybe not the best idea.
TIP: on the way here you can go to Piraki Lookout - you will ultimately merge into the same road that leads to Maunga Pu on my directions, it is a bit adventurous at times but again nothing I havent seen in the past, nor anything that would damage the car.Written 26 November 2023
- This is one of the motus visited on the VAKA Cruise (reviewed separately, please read my other review for details). There is a resort on this island, and it had history of being one of the stops in the old TEAL days, as evidenced by the now broken up dock.
Akaiami is one of the most beautiful and pristine locales visited by the tour. The pictures really say it all: the sand is nice and the water is gorgeous. Truly a piece of paradise and you have to pinch yourself at the beauty in front of your eyes. The only bad thing: it is sad we only had 20 minutes to spend here, as I could have stayed there all day.
Please kindly indicate if you found this review to be helpful, as it will help me focus on my future review efforts! Safe travels!!Written 11 September 2018
- Is this place a must? No, but I think it's a no brainer on the road to Mount Maungapu - since you probably know recognize the fact that you do need a car for both :)
It's not as scenic views as Mount Maungapu but it's a more relaxing/picnic style one without any actual hiking/steep uphill walk - so this may work better for people with young kids and who can't move that well (Mount Maungapu isnt anything to fear but it is def a challenge with significant steepness vs none here). Again, the views are nice but you are pretty far from it all, not as high yet, and the vegetation prevents from seeing more of the color/shoreline that gives its the great contrast, but it still is definitely a great stop on the "land exploration" of Aitutaki!
The nice Aitutaki carving/art on the picnic table is cool - we saw same one upon arrival to Aittauki airport before you enter the building and loved it :)
TIP: regular small passenger car is all you need here - this is all main road (you really dont need an AWD/4WH for Mount Maungapu either as the final part is not for cars either way)Written 25 November 2023
- A wonderful old church, 200 years old, with thick whitewashed walls and immaculately maintained with interesting interior decoration and raised pulpit, from which the congregation was addressed by the pastor in a mixture of Cook Islands Maori and English. It was delightful to see the many locals enjoying their Sunday service, resplendent in white dresses, suits and shirts, with many of the ladies wearing straw hats decorated with colourful flowers. But the highlight was the wonderful singing! Such harmony and enthusiasm and a truly joyful experience.Written 1 September 2023
- We looked at two scrapbooks while having a snack at the little restaurant in the garden. We walked all over the garden and saw many exotic plants. However, none were labeled. The place needs a lot of TLC and input but it has great potential to be an excellent botanical garden if only...Written 11 February 2019
- At a mere 124 metres above the crystal lagoon, the Maunga Pu lookout is the highest point on otherwise relatively flat island Aitutaki. Naturally, we wanted to climb it. We tried to drive our rented little sedan up the bitumen road but gave that up when the steep road turned to gravel and we started slipping backwards. So we left the car parked on the main road, and began a half hour hike uphill. The track was pretty in parts, but slippery and steep, rough in places, tough work for an older couple. We had to help each other up, anchoring ourselves by pulling at vegetation by the side of the track. But once at the top, the 360-degree views were terrific, an ideal home for the tall tower which provides much of the island’s telecommunications and rough monuments to the workers who went before. Tip: Give it an hour and don’t do it at night. It’s not for the fainthearted, infants, or anyone wearing thongs. Boots or shoes with good tread definitely recommended.Written 22 November 2023
- It's not a must, especially since you need a car to get to this side of Aitutaki from most of the hotels/resorts, but if you already rented a car I suggest to pass through this area and enjoy it - it looks better in real life than on pictures... plus it's hard to drive and take good pictures :P
Cool thing is that as you are driving out of the sudden all of the sunlight cuts off as the tree/trees are so dense and you feel like inside a mini "green bubble"Written 25 November 2023
- Very blessed to have travelled to Aitutaki from Rarotonga to spend my birthday on the Vaka Lagoon Cruise. This trip was so close to my heart as this was the first time visiting the island of my tupuna. Our hosts Ali and Tango are the heart of island from the airport pickup and island tour to the Vaka and throughout the cruise it was so magical an experience to this day I have not forgotten. All the crew on board were very friendly and entertaining the food was great. Ali should definitely be voted for Best Tour Guide for Cook Islands tourism. He is an asset to the island and his funny nature just adds to his expansive knowledge and love for his island home. Meitaki atupaka Ali and Crew we loved every moment and thank you for making my 1st time back home a memorable one. I will come back soon and this time I’m staying longer. Rangi&Tiaki Strickland-MiltonWritten 22 October 2021
- We had to look hard for this place (get a new sign), but we found this little gem off of the main road. They sell hand made paddles, jewelry made from recycled glass and hand graft ukuleles (on demand). The owner also support great animal causes on the island.
The store is located inside their house, but definitely worth the trip.Written 10 March 2020
- An early morning fish with Mike was amazing and whale experience on the way back in was awesome. Then the lagoon with One Foot island, Honeymoon island and snorkeling in the giant clams and GT's was absolutely brilliant. Leo was an excellent guide and had so much to share about everything we saw and found a few turtles on the way as well. The food supplied was beautiful and the team really do think of everything. If this the only thing you can do when you visit I couldn't recommend them more.Written 26 October 2023
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Aitutaki Attractions Information
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