Listed in Steve Davey’s World top 40 Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die, Aitutaki lies 230 kilometres north of Rarotonga, a 45 minute inter-island flight.
Aitutakians are acknowledged as the supreme entertainers of the Cook Islands, with a particular skill in the making and playing of the pate - the slit drums which accompany traditional dancing. A scintillating drum dance with swirling traditional costumes and swaying hips is a cultural event not to be missed.
But what Aitutaki is perhaps most famous for is its large brilliant turquoise lagoon. The lagoon is many things to Aitutakians: source of legends, a vast source of inner reef seafood, and a place where tourists are taken to picnic on its motu (small islets) and snorkel among its shoals.
Loveliest of the motu and just awarded the coveted Australasia's Leading Beach award at the 2008 World Travel Awards, is Tapuaetai, or One-Foot Island, which is surrounded by glassy water and pure white sand.
Aitutaki's lagoon is 20 kilometres across at its widest point.
From 1951 until 1960 the lagoon was one link in a chain of island-hopping flights taken by TEAL Shorts Solent flying boats plying the famous 'Coral Route'.
Travel on the Coral Route was expensive during a period when most international passengers still went by sea, and many of the world's rich and famous stepped off onto the sands of Akaiami while the giant aircraft re-fuelled en-route between Samoa and Tahiti.
Today Air Rarotonga flies modern jet-prop Saab 340 aircraft from Rarotonga four to six times per day, landing and taking off from the same runway built by the Americans and Aitutakians during the Pacific war and recently tar-sealed.
Visitors to Aitutaki still visit Akaiami where there is a glimpse of the concrete jetty, now derelict, extending into the still water of the lagoon. All that now remains of a romantic era in Pacific aviation.
Many take our ever so popular Aitutaki Day Tour which does by the way stop over at One Foot Island and also includes a tour around the main island.
For those who choose a longer stay, the island boasts several fine resorts and a range of other accommodation from self-catering bungalows to budget guest houses.
In November 2010, the Pacific Resort Aitutaki has been voted “World’s Leading Boutique Island Resort” for the third consecutive year
Aitutaki is the ideal place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world but there are also some gentle activities one can pursue, scuba diving, snorkelling, lagoon cruises, walkabouts or a visit to the church to name a few.
It is also possible to combine Aitutaki with a visit to Atiu without having to backtrack to Rarotonga. See our Atiu/Aitutaki Combo page for details.
Make your visit to the Cook Islands truly unforgettable by including Aitutaki in your travels.
Below we have collected some Links and Media for your further reading.
Aitutaki.net Book Accommodation, Tours, Rentals and activities online.
Aitutaki Links and MultiMedia Library
KokaMedia Youtube Channel
- automated Weather Station at Aitutaki Airport
Cook Islands Tourism
another Aitutaki Photo Gallery