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Guide to Visiting Aitutaki

Updated on October 30, 2012
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Aitutaki is for you if you relish the idea of spending your vacation on a small island where water activities and wonderful weather are what you’re going for. It’s part of the Cook Islands near New Zealand.

What you Need to Know about Aitutaki

This is an island destination where the culture is primarily Polynesian. On a trip here you’ll be exposed to Polynesian cultural experiences and you’ll get the chance to enjoy wonderful sunny days on the beach. Although the area was first “discovered” and developed in the 9th Century, it wasn’t until well into the 20th Century that the Western World began to take an interest in this area. It first got attention from Americans when it was used as a spot for an American military base during WWII. Recent attention has come to the area as a travel destination due to popular television shows and movies that have featured this location.

In recent years, tourism has become common here. As a result, this is a safe, English-speaking destination that is a joy to visit. You won’t find too many threats to travelers in this area. Things that you might want to be aware of, though, are concerns related to nature. There are a lot of bugs here so plan to bring bug spray. The water isn’t safe for drinking out of the tap so expect to pay for bottled water. And be aware that the coast here isn’t soft sand but coral reefs so you need to wear water shoes when walking along the water unless you want your feet to get cut up.

Almost any time of year is a great time of year to visit this island destination. Because of its location, the temperature rarely changes throughout the year. You will find that the temperature stays between seventy and eighty-five all year long. That’s considered pleasant beach weather by almost everyone. Be aware, however, that there’s a winter rainy season here and that it can feel hotter then due to the humidity.

How to Get to Aitutaki

Getting to Aitutaki requires flying in to Rarotonga which is the major travel hub for the Cook Islands. You can reach this destination from a number of major world cities with the most common flights common in from Los Angeles, Toronto and Auckland. Once you arrive at Rarotonga you can choose to take either a boat or an airplane from there to Aitutaki.

If you want to get there by plane:

The plane is going to be a small commuter plane that flies through Air Rarotonga. The flight is a short flight that lasts less than an hour. Flights are available daily so you’ll have no trouble getting in and out of this destination regardless of when you travel.

If you want to get there by boat:

There is a ferry that travels from Rarotonga to Aitutaki. It takes longer to get there by ferry than by plane, of course, so most people don’t choose this method of arrival. Besides, it doesn’t operate as regularly as flights do. Nevertheless, it’s an option to consider if you want to reach Aitutaki in an unusual way.

How to Get around in Aitutaki

You’ll want to get a sense of where you are in Aitutaki by wandering around and seeing all that there is to see of this small island. To orient yourself, you’ll want to know that the island is loosely shaped like a triangle. At each point of the triangle is a different neighborhood. The northern and southern points are filled with nature. The Western point is the area where the majority of the tourist attractions are located. Most visitors want to see both types of attractions. It’s easy to move from one area to the other so take the time to really enjoy all that there is to see here.

The best methods of getting around are to:

Walk: The best way to see this island is just to walk from where you are to where you want to go. There is a waterfront walkway that is absolutely gorgeous. Alternatively, there are coral roads that are also beautiful to walk upon. It feels like a fantasy.

Bike: If you aren’t a fan of walking but you do like to power yourself around the bicycling is a really great way to get around this island. In fact, your hotel will happily rent you a bike without charging you much at all.

Rent a Moped: If you insist on renting a vehicle to get around this small island then you should skip the car and get a moped instead. The roads here just weren’t made for big cars and there’s no need for you to have one.

What to Do While You’re There

The most common things to do on a trip to this destination all involve hanging out on the water. Fishing, scuba diving and windsurfing are the types of things that travelers enjoy while spending time at this destination. However there are some cool cultural experiences to enjoy here as well. Island Nights are the most popular tourist attractions where you are treated to food and entertainment that reflects the Polynesian culture.


See the Rest of the Cook Islands As Well

You might want to spend most of your time in Aitutaki but you should also take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the other islands in the Cook Islands while you are here. You can take flights and boats between the islands. Some of the specific places to check out on day trips include:

·      Rarotonga. Make it a point to look around here at the beginning or end of your stay since you’re going to come through here anyway on your plane. It’s an interesting area with fascinating markets and tourist attractions.

·      One Foot Island. This destination is popular for people who want to enjoy a picnic in the sunshine. The beach here is wonderful and you can even enjoy some fun water activities like snorkeling while you are here.

·      Moturakau. If you’ve heard of that name before then it’s probably because you’ve seen the British version of the reality TV show Survivor. The island was featured on the show and became a popular tourist attraction after that.

Is there any reason not to go to this island? I haven't thought of one yet!


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    Hi Mel! Heidi here from work :PWhen I first opened your page I was like Wow, is that relaly Mels work!?' Not that I didn't think you were capable of it! But they look so professional and it's nbelievable you never studied photography just a natural aye ;). Was also cool reading about your experiences here so far also.Keep up the beautiful work you've got a great eye for it! Heidi

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    for everything. Explore the craft proescs of premium Rarotonga lager on a Cooks Lager brewery tour. Right in the middle of the South Pacific, the most populous of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga is one of t. The cultural centre of the Cook Islands, the Te Vara Nui Village, offers an incredible two and a

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 

    8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    This makes me feel like packing.

  • h2oforthegaslit profile image


    8 years ago from Birmingham, Alabama

    I feel a vacation coming on.... of course, I've needed a vacation for over two years now (haha) - awesome hub, Kathryn!!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Your trip sosund exciting. I wish you luck on your flight. I'm not going to leave the country this year!

  • Lissie profile image

    Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

    8 years ago from New Zealand

    I didn't know there was a ferry - that would be a nice alternative cause the internal flight is very expensive


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