Aitutaki Local Information
Saturday, April 11th, 1789 marked the first day that visitors from the outside world feasted their eyes on the shores of Aitutaki. It turned out to be only 18 days before the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty when Captain William Bligh came across the volcanic atoll. He had no expectation of discovering a new island when he set sail from Tahiti only four days prior but sought shelter from a bad storm upon seeing it in the distance. Despite heavy wind and rain, Captain Bligh’s first impression seems to have lasted the ages as he referred to his new discovery as “So charming a little Spot”. He also noted the friendly nature of the island people which has become a trademark of the Aitutakian culture for so many other visitors since that first encounter.
Aitutaki is most famous for its surreal turquoise lagoon that is contained by a triangular shaped reef with each side of the triangle measuring approximately 12kms. 15 islets (motus) are scattered throughout the lagoon with the most famous being One Foot Island.
Legend has it that a man and his son were being chased by a rival tribe and the father carried his son ashore to hide him before paddling all the way to Rarotonga to seek help. The pursuing tribe only saw one set of footprints in the powdery white sand and left the motu. Today, it is one of the most beautiful locations to visit in the mesmerizing lagoon.
Aitutaki is part of the Southern Cook Islands and is located approximately 250kms to the North of the main island, Rarotonga. It has a population of approximately 2000 people spread through 8 villages across the island. Life is simple here and truly is a place to escape the rest of the world. There is no doubt why it is listed in several books as a “must see place before you die” and that Lonely Planet has dubbed Aitutaki as “the world’s most beautiful island.”
If you seek an exotic destination, romance, seclusion, and beauty that can only be described as a feast for the senses, look no further than the shores of Aitutaki.
For those travelling onward to the island of Aitutaki , services are provided by Air Rarotonga the domestic carrier, with 4 flights daily during the week and 2 flights on Sundays. They operate the SAAB 340 Turbo Prop airliner with seating for 32 personals. Flight time to Aitutaki from Rarotonga is 40 minutes with light refreshments served on the flight. Air Rarotonga also has a connectinng service to Atiu via Aitutaki twice a week. This is most convenient for those wishing a 2 and 3 island combo stay in the Cook Islands. Air Ratotongas website is: www.airrarotonga.com .
Dress for most times of the year is light, comfortable, informal clothing, with a light sweater for the cooler evenings. Brief attire is not acceptable when worn around in towns or villages, and topless or nude bathing is prohibited and will cause offence.
The tropical environment while stunning and beautiful must share it’s existence with mosquitoes so , please make sure you pack that repellent in your suitcase along with plenty of sun block to protect your skin from the warmth of the sun.
Extensions are usually granted on a monthly basis for any longer stays – up to five additional months only. A fee is payable to the Immigration Department for each application within 14 days of the expiration of the entry permit.
Bank of the South Pacific formerly Westpac Bank is located in the central town area of Aitutaki and is open Mon-Fri from 9am to 3pm. BSP has an ATM machine at it’s location There are also banking facilities to exchange currencies upon arrival at the Rarotonga International airport before proceeding inward to Aitutaki.
Explore the underwater world in the lagoon or diving beyond the reef’s edge in the warm waters … Catch the “big one” on a lagoon or deep-sea fishing excursion … Visit One Foot Island and Akaiami – 2 islets with the most stunning white sand beaches that you will ever experience… Enjoy a round of golf on Aitutaki’s 9 hole Golf Course with a range of hazzards including low flying aircraft! For those interested in our culture, geology, and history – the local Safari Tour is a must and includes lunch cooked in an underground oven. Our famous Aitutaki Dancers and Cultural Shows are presented weekly at an Island Night at any one of the major resorts on Aitutaki. Make sure you try the local cuisine at these gatherings… it’s an experience not to be missed!
There are also a host of restaurants and eateries to choose from… or you may just choose to stretch out in the privacy of your Villa Compound and watch the world go by at a pace that will surely reduce your stress levels.