Aitutaki is the second-most visited of the Cook Islands, just over 130 miles from the capital, Rarotonga, in the Central-Southern Pacific Ocean. It’s easy to see why Aitutaki is so popular. With a population of just 1800, Aitutaki is a perfect blend of unspoiled beach paradise and modern tropical luxury, just waiting to be discovered. Each day here brings something new. Swim or boat out to explore one of the 15 tiny uninhabited islands and islets in the lagoon surrounding Aitutaki, get a massage at a spa, or just spend the day lounging by the water, waited on by attentive staff. From fly fishing to kiteboarding and snorkeling, there’s a spot for every sport, and many cheerful people to help you along the way. When you need to rest, retire in comfort to any of a number of private villas or luxurious resorts that dot the island!
Activities in Aitutaki
Punarei Cultural Village Tour
Discover everyday life at a 200-year-old village site, largely reconstructed to preserve the traditional heritage of the Cook Islands on this enjoyable excursion. After a hearty breakfast in your hotel, meet your local guide, and drive down to the historical site. Once home to the ancient islanders, the village today is a living museum, with reconstructed homesteads, actual ceremonial grounds, and even traditional underground ovens (umu) that were once used for cooking ritual foods. Interact with the local community, who are proud to show you around and share their fascinating oral history with you. Learn about old rituals and traditions, getting to know how the ancient villagers lived, worked, and feasted in times gone by. Try your hand at weaving traditional fabrics and lend a hand in cooking a community lunch in the village umus. Enjoy the sumptuous island feast (or umukai) prepared by your gracious hosts. Share the table with your village hosts and join them for the traditional dances, learning the basic steps. Drive back to your hotel after the feast.
Ru's Lagoon Cruise in Aitutaki
Enjoy sailing down a picturesque lagoon in Aitutaki, go snorkeling, and enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch on this cruise trip. After a leisurely breakfast in your hotel, head out to board your cruise boat for the day with your local guide. Once aboard, enjoy the ocean view and admire the lush flora and fauna along the coastline. Stop by the Aitutaki Marine Resources and learn about the center’s giant clam restoration program on the island. You can also spot these precious creatures in their natural habitat. Spend the rest of your day swimming in the ocean and snorkeling among the coral beds, marveling at the region’s rich marine life. Relish a delicious BBQ fish luncheon served on board, along with delectable salad platters made from fresh local produce. After a satisfying lunch, sail over to Honeymoon Island to stroll along the gorgeous beach and spot the island’s exotic birds as well as their precious nesting grounds.
Explore Aitutaki on Your Own
Aitutaki is a picture-postcard tropical island, with palm trees, warm turquoise waters, coral reefs, and blue skies. Set your own pace on a full-day tour of Aitutaki and its surroundings. Start at the CICC church in Arutanga town, the oldest church in the Cook Islands. It was restored in 2010 with beautiful stained-glass windows, finely carved wood-paneling, and an old anchor suspended from the ceiling. Cruise the island’s crystal-clear lagoon and go swimming or snorkeling at a marine reserve, with giant trevallies, turtles, and coral clusters. At One Foot Island, you can get your passport stamped at the world’s smallest post office. The adventurous could hire a kayak or outrigger canoe and paddle to the nearest islet a few hundred meters away. Learn about Aitutaki’s history, ancient traditions, cooking, and weaving techniques from the passionate and knowledgeable guides at the Punarei Cultural Village. Go on a guided tour of the maraes (sacred places) to experience native lifestyle during the pre-European era.