HEAVEN ON EARTH: AITUTAKI, COOK ISLANDS
The Cook Islands are stunningly beautiful. Discover the fantastic colors of Aitutaki and get lost in a dreamland that looks better than any postcard you have ever seen.
Lets dream: Imagine the clearest lagoon in all shades of turquoise, colorful corals, tropical fishes, stretches of long sand bars, sugar white powdery beaches, fringed palm trees and almost no people. Sounds like a postcard, right? I'll promise, Aitutaki is better than any postcard you've seen in your life. It's a real paradise. Aitutaki is a place where you can forget anything and just focus on the stunning nature, this place is almost surreal in its beauty...
"No artist's palette could ever conceive of a more perfect,
more luminescent turquoise than that of the lagoon of Aitutaki,
arguably the most beautiful in the world."
( Steve Davey in his book "Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die" )
I have to confess, I hadn’t heard of Aitutaki until I saw the images of my friend Patrick who has traveled to the place. When I saw his photos, I was hooked. I immediately looked at it on Google Maps and when I switched to satellite view, I could see the marvellous lagoon in all shades of blue.
Patrick's photos of Aitutaki are some of the most beautiful island images I've ever seen and this blog post wouldn't exist without him. A big thanks to Patrick, check out more of his photos on Flickr.
WHERE IS AITUTAKI?
Good question. First of all, for beginners: Aitutaki is an island that belongs to the Cook Islands.
Chances are good that Aitutaki is most probably on the other side of the world for you, floating in the middle of the South Pacific.
To be more specific, the Cook Islands are northeast of New Zealand. Let's have a look at the map.
WHAT CAN I DO ALL DAY IN AITUTAKI?
I would be totally fine just wandering around all day and wondering if this place is real (and taking images as a proof) but actually there is a lot more to do. Popular activities are windsurfing, kayaking, boat cruises, lagoon tours, diving and snorkel trips. Aitutaki is well known for its beautiful coral lagoon. You can imagine, the underwater life is superb.
And if that's all too much, just do beach bumming, have a picnic or get a tan.
Or play golf. There is even a 9-hole golf course.
Alternatively, if you want to explore the island, rent a scooter, bike or a car and get lost (don't worry, the place isn't too big). Drive up to the highest point (Maungapu) and have a terrific view over the lagoon. You'll discover pristine beaches and plantations of bananas.
And if you're madly in love, you can also get married in Aitutaki. This place is heartbreakingly romantic...
Not enough? Here is a list of things
to do in Aitutaki.
WHERE TO STAY IN AITUTAKI?
On a budget
Surprisingly, Aitutaki is not as expensive as one would think of. There is a decent variety of accommodation for any budget from self-catering bungalows to budget guest houses.
Josie's Beach Lodge: One of the cheapest places to stay, five rooms with shared bathroom, communal lounge and kitchen. Rooms from US$25 -
US$50. Contact: email@example.com
Amuri Guesthouse: Four rooms with shared bathrooms and communal kitchen. Breakfast included. Rates start from US$60 for a double room. Contact:
Ginas Garden Lodges: Budget friendly self
contained accommodation, located in the beautiful lush setting of Tautu Village on the main island of Aitutaki. Rooms from US$65 (single) to US$100 (double). Contact:
- Ranginui's Retreat: Budget rooms, beachfront, facing the lagoon of Aitutaki. Rooms from US$ 85 (single) to US$105 (double), there are also packages available. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
On a big budget
If you're looking for 5 star resorts, exclusive honeymoon villas or premium beachfront cottages, you'll find them on Agoda. Additional, also Tripadvisor might help you to find the perfect place to stay and provides a list of reviewed hotels in Aitutaki.
Pacific Resort Aitutaki: Award-winning
hotel and one of the world’s most secluded boutique island resorts,
offering luxurious beachfront suites, villas, premium bungalows and ultimate
Check rates and availability.
Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa: A
variety of exquisite bungalows, surrounded by lush tropical gardens and coconut palm trees. Check rates and availability.
HOW TO GET TO AITUTAKI?
If you're not from New Zealand, you'll be traveling a long way to get there. But I'll guarantee, it's all worth it. Depending where you coming from, all flights to the Cook Islands are via Los Angeles or Auckland (New Zealand).
The international airport is located in Rarotonga, the most populous island and the tourism hub of the Cook Islands. Currently only Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are flying to Rarotonga. I'd recommend using Skypicker to find the best fares.
To reach Aitutaki, you can take the inter-island cargo ships (up to 24 hours) or you do the fast way and fly in less than 1 hour. There are several daily flights from Rarotonga to Aitutaki Airport, served by Air Rarotonga.
If you looked up for flight fares, you probably noticed that getting there might be more expensive than staying for a few days. And still, I want to encourage you to visit this natural paradise. Aitutaki is a once in your lifetime experience, perfect to get away from the modern world. Despite its unreal beauty, there is still very little tourism in the Cook Islands, so don't wait too long and plan your trip now for 2014.
Aitutaki is a dream destination... So stop dreaming about it and just get your flight
Thank you for reading.
A huge thanks to Patrick Jaussi for these stunning images. Patrick is a photographer from Switzerland who captured some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the world. It took him 24 hours to get from Switzerland to the Cook Islands. For more photos from Aitutaki (and other gorgeous places) check out Patrick's Flickr Stream or follow him on Facebook.
Have you been to Aitutaki? Please show us your images in the comments!
If you like this article, please share.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sabrina Iovino is the founder of JustOneWayTicket.com. She's half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe. She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she'll switch now. Phew...much better! Let's restart:
Hi, I'm Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.
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