Visit Aitutaki – One Foot Island
Tapuaetai (One Foot Island) ranks as the number one destination for those who visit Aitutaki. Take the Te Vaka Lagoon Cruise to visit Akaiami, Moturakau and One Foot Island. The cruise departs from Ootu Beach, near the airport. It includes snorkeling and lunch on One Foot Island. Book your tour at any hotel on the island. Air Rarotonga offers day trips from Rarotonga that include the Vaka Lagoon Cruise and a short island tour.
Bishop’s Cruises also offers lagoon tours, including snorkeling and lunch on Tapuaetai (One Foot Island).
Punarei Cultural Village is a re-constructed traditional village as it would have appeared before the arrival of the missionaries.
Hike 30 minutes to Maungapu, which is the highest point on Aitutaki. Enjoy views over the lagoon and the stands of native palm trees.
Visit Aitutaki – Hotel Recommendations
- Pacific Resort Aitutaki – luxuriy 5 star accommodations with high ratings from its guests. It’s also one of the most expensive options on Aitutaki. If you can’t afford to stay there, try visiting for meals instead.
- Tamanu Beach – 3.5 star quality with excellent customer reviews. Free airport shuttle included.
- Paparei Beachfront Bungalows – 3 star accomodation on the beachfront at an excellent price and with excellent customer reviews. Free airport shuttle included.
- Vaiorea Beach House – 3 star accomodation on the beachfront at an affordable price and with excellent customer reviews. Free airport shuttle included.
- Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa – Most units are beachfront, but there are also has a few overwater bungalows. The resort is very close to the airport on a private island. The location is gorgeous.
Visit Aitutaki – More Sights
- Paengariki Marae – an ancient ruin at the south end of Aitutaki. Early missionaries destroyed most native sites. A major archeological project has been undertaken at the site.
- Te Poaki O Rae – another marae ruin.
- Snorkel, bird watch and see large sea turtles on shore at Maina Motu from November to February. Red-tailed tropic birds nest here. A water taxi service at Tautu shuttles snorkelers to the motu.
- Scuba diving is excellent.
- See brightly colored gigantic clams that are as much as 4 feet across. These are endangered and are disappearing from the lagoon. There have been some efforts to preserve their habitat by designating a clam reserve.
- Take a charter fishing expedition. Go bonefishing.
Get to Aitutaki
Aitutaki Airport is the gateway to the island via regular daily flights from Rarotonga on Air Rarotonga. The locals call the airline Air Raro. The flight takes under an hour. Aitutaki is a very small island with limited services, so make arrangements with hotels for airport pickup. It takes less than 20 minutes to see the full length of the island.
Expect very little variation in temperatures throughout the year. The Cook Islands are south of the equator so the seasons are reversed from that of the Northern Hemisphere. The rainy humid summer season extends from November to April. Average summer highs will be about 86 F (30 C) and lows will average 75 F (24 C). Temperatures in the winter months from June through October are the slightly cooler, but still warm. June through October are somewhat more popular tourists months, because they are drier and less humid. It can rain any time of year though. October is a good bet for the best month to visit the Cook Islands, but any month will do.
Visit Aitutaki – Background
The island of Aitutaki is sometimes called Honeymoon Island. About 2,000 people live here. It is the second most visited island in the Cook Islands, after Rarotonga. The main village on the island is Arutunga. Aitutaki and its small islands (motus) gained international coverage during the filming of Survivor Cook Islands. Captain William Bligh and the crew of the Bounty were the first Europeans in Aitutaki. The Bounty arrived in 1789, just a few weeks before the mutiny. Today the island is known for the beautiful waters surrounding this isolated island paradise.