Simply Stunning Aitutaki

19 January 2014


Like many of the constants in our life, such as the sun rise and sunset, Aitutaki stays timeless every time I visit. I have done both the Bishops Lagoon Cruise as well as the Vaka Lagoon Cruise – twice. Both are exceptional ways to experience the world-famous Aitutaki Lagoon nonetheless.

Every time I see the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa or Samade on the Beach, I think of how amazing it would be to stay at these resorts and wake up every morning to the incredible lagoon. Photos don’t do this island justice. Aitutaki really has to be seen with your own eyes to understand its pristine beauty. Perhaps it is enough to say that every time I arrive at the Aitutaki Lagoon, I get goose bumps and reflect on how incredibly lucky I am, and perhaps underserved so, to be in such an incredible place.

It is a 50 minute flight with Air Rarotonga from Rarotonga to Aitutaki on board a 34-seater SAAB twin prop aircraft. The service is professional and always friendly and they even offer complimentary tea/coffee and water. Probably the best part about flying domestically within the Cook Islands is the check-in and security procedures. Passengers are asked to arrive and at check-in 30 minutes prior to departure. The check in is quick and easy and a boarding pass is issued that looks more like a credit card receipt. The (now) gate agent will check your boarding pass and then point you towards the correct awaiting aircraft.

Approaching Aitutaki is like finding a gem in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and you feel as though you are the first person in the world to discover it!

Upon landing in Aitutaki, an arrival pick-up waits for you at the quaint airport. Of course there is a Ukelele player greeting every plane, a nice warm Aitutaki welcome… one of the many constants that I referenced before. Before being taken down to the cruise vessel, there is time for a quick trip to the highest peak of Aitutaki and the spectacular views that await. On the way to the lagoon cruise vessel, the tour stops for a viewing of the eldest Christian church in the Cook Islands.

The Lagoon Cruises, whether you are with Bishops or the Vaka, both have a very high standard of service and safety. The Vaka is a twin hull canoe, similar to the Vakas that sailed from the Cook Islands to New Zealand hundreds of years ago, navigating by the stars alone. Both tours will stop at three different swimming locations and one snorkeling location. The snorkeling location always has colourful giant clams, coral and many coral fish. Another constant in Aitutaki. The views are not the only selling point of Aitutaki – the stories shared from the boat crew while you’re taking in the breathtaking views will make you laugh and cry as these stories reflect their sacred home land of Aitutaki. Another constant with Aitutaki is the fact that the crew and locals make it clear they feel very fortunate and truly blessed to call this place home.

For those who have more time, it is definitely recommended to stay on the island for at least four days. Air Rarotonga sells a Tri Island Pass including Rarotonga/Aitutaki & Aitu or you can purchase a point to point airfare. There are many accommodations options on the island of Aitutaki, ranging from 2-star through to 4.5-star. It is important to note that some of the 4.5-star resorts on Aitutaki are actually better than a lot of 5-star resorts throughout the world, however, the Aitutaki resorts may not have the 24 hour room service or would perhaps lack disabled facilities, which will always make up the criteria for a 5-star rating. So the resorts in Aitutaki can easily compete with the world’s best.

There are many eating options on the island. Some of the resorts will send a vehicle to pick you up and drop you back at your resort. The range of food is exceptional. My personal favorite is Tepuna’s Restaurant which has a Mud Crab that is simply delicious. It is best to make a reservation and order the Mud Crab ahead of time to avoid disappointment.

Every time I go to Aitutaki, it feels like the first time I have been there. In year 11 economics I learnt about Utils of Satisfaction, for which I was advised that the maximum Utils of Satisfaction a consumer can experience is the first time around, and the Utils of Satisfaction diminish a little more with every similar experience. The law of diminishing Utils of Satisfaction is not observed with Aitutaki. When it comes to Aitutaki, the more you go there, the more you enjoy it. Take it from me, after my fourth trip in as many years.

Written by Jason (Destination Specialist)