Experience Paradise: The Aitutaki Day Tour With Air Rarotonga
No matter where you are staying in Rarotonga, the magnificent island of Aitutaki is only a short flight away thanks to daily departures with Air Rarotonga. Though, due to its inaccessibility for common goods it can be a lot pricier than the popular island of Rarotonga, especially when it comes to accommodation and meals. But, with the Aitutaki Day Tour with Air Rarotonga, you can experience absolute paradise landscapes aboard a luxury catamaran, a tour of the quaint town, return flights and the best meal you will have in the Cook Islands for about the same price of just the flights themselves.
Get ready for isolated sandy beaches, smooth lagoon cruising and laughter as you are entertained by the amazing staff on the Aitutaki Day Tour with Air Rarotonga.
Flying To Aitutaki With Air Rarotonga
A full shuttle bus picks us up at 7am outside of our accommodation in Rarotonga. Heading towards the airport the sky’s here are grey. A light rain falls with smalls streaks of sun occasionally popping through the clouds, it is less than ideal conditions. Though, luckily we will be missing out on this.
The check in at Rarotonga Airport is extremely easy. We just hand over our passports and the boarding passes are printed out. It is more like a receipt paper than your regular boarding pass, but if you have visited Rarotonga before you will know than things are a lot more relaxed here.
Soon enough it is time to board our flight. We are directed onto a plane sitting on the runway and take our seats. Surprisingly enough, even in such a small aircraft, it is extremely roomy. There is a lot more leg space than any other flight I have been on.
Taking off we are presented with amazing views of Rarotonga down behind us. The rain covers certain parts of the island while the morning sun starts to take over. Before we know it we are surrounded by ocean for as far as the eye can see, oh and of course the clouds.
Though, the further away we fly the clouds begin to disappear until there are only a couple left in the sky. Once at cruising altitude the smiley air hostess offers us all candy and a beverage.
Arriving In Aitutaki For The Day Tour
While descending, the island of Aitutaki quickly comes into view with its unmistakable beauty. The waves crash against the massive lagoon, dotted with reef and shallow waters, resulting in the most amazing shades of blue. Everyone has their cameras out, snapping shots of the mother natures creation. Fifteen islands are located in the lagoon which make up Aitutaki, though many of these are inhabited.
The landing into Aitutaki Airport is smooth and it does not take long to depart with everyone excited to take their first steep on this amazing island. We are quickly greeted by our tour guide, Ali. His cheery and hospitable persona set us off to an amazing day in paradise.
Tour Of The Town
At the airport we are loaded onto a literal truck. Though, with bench seats lining the outside we all grab a cushioned spot and relax back enjoying the island breeze flowing through.
We are given the low down on Aitutaki, which quite surprisingly has a lot of history. From being the first airport in the Cook Islands during the war to being the birthplace of Christianity of the country. It seems Aitutaki is more than just paradise landscapes.
One of the main differences between Aitutaki and Rarotonga is the lack of dogs. In fact there is not one single dog on the entire island, they were band when the chiefs daughter got attacked back in the day and people still live by that law.
The township of Aitutaki is small being homed to less than 2000 people and our tour guide seemed to know every person we passed. From the children at the school, to the workers in the port and the locals maintaining the jungle like landscapes. He tells us most people here have multiple jobs as there is a surplus of employment here, even he is a fire dancer by night.
Cruising Aitutaki Lagoon
Through gorgeous palm tree planted fields and along the shoreline we reach one end of the beach where are large catamaran is waiting. The 21 meter boat easily fits us all on and having the seating undercover provides the perfect shelter from the intense Aitutaki sun.
Greeted by music and fresh coconuts it is the perfect way to get into the island vibe. The beat of the drums is contagious and you will find yourself suddenly bouncing each time a new song starts up!
The Vaka Cruise is certainly a highlight of the Aitutaki day tour and when you look at the turquoise colored surrounding lagoon it is understandable why. Though, having such a well equipped boat, with entertainment and plenty of space is the cherry on top of the cake.
The Beautiful Island Stops
The first stop on the boat is not far away down the lagoon. The sand is perfectly white and clean, no rubbish or rocks in sight. This is my kind of beach! Palm trees line the shore on both sides of the boat and the turquoise waters are extremely inviting.
I jump straight in at the first opportunity. There is no way I can turn down the most perfect beach I have ever seen! The ocean has so much salt that I can effortlessly float without having to move a muscle. This is how I spend the next twenty minutes before it is time to board again for the next stop.
We head close by to where two islands lay next to each other. The one we disembark at is actually where many seasons of the TV show Survivor has been filmed, as well as the UK TV show, Castaway. The tour guide Ali walks us around the island, telling of stories which play a large part in the history of Aitutaki while we dodge the hundreds of crabs lining the shore.
Lunch During The Aitutaki Day Tour
The crew on the Vaka Cruise catered to all my self confessed foodie needs. With a mixture of both local and western options the buffet style lunch is the perfect spread.
The freshest fruits such a papaya, watermelon, mango and passion fruit are provided. They all go down a treat and are extremely refreshing. There are numerous salad dishes as well as delicious fish and bread made the local way.
Oh, and if you try one food on of Vaka Cruise it must be the poke! Seriously, it was the best poke I had while in the Cook Islands.
Stopping in the middle of the lagoon we are provided with snorkels and flippers. Gearing up on the boat we jump into the water preparing to start treading water. Though, in amazement the water was only chest high. That is not what you expect when you are literally in the middle of a lagoon with the outlying islands in the distance.
The world under the water was absolutely incredible. I never imagined I would be snorkeling with fish half my size, especially in a such shallow area. Though, the Giant Trevally did not seem bothered in the slightest as I swim around them.
Giant calms dot the seafloor and curious fish come up to see what all the splashing is about. The life within the lagoon is vibrant and amazing. There is so many different species and the coral formations rising up from the ocean floor covered in hard coral.
One Foot Island
No doubt the most famous island in Aitutaki is One Foot Island. It is the last stop on the Aitutaki Day Tour before heading back to the mainland. The gorgeous palm trees, turquoise waters and white sand make this place the picture definition of paradise.
On arrival we head to the main building to get our passport stamp. This costs $2.00 NZD / $1.50. You can also buy postcards here if that tickles your fancy. It is a ‘thing’ to get your passport stamped here. I think it is so you can prove you have been to one of the most beautiful islands in the world, but don’t quote me on that.
Jumping back into the water after putting my passport safely on the boat, I swim across to a nearby island. On this island the sandbar seems to go on forever, just ankle deep water as far as the eye can see. It is the perfect place to bring out the GoPro and snap some amazing Insta worthy pics.
I was certainly not ready to leave paradise. Though, the time had come to board the boat for the last time and head back to the mainland.
The crew play music while we cruise across the lagoon and soak in the last of these amazing sites. The mood is upbeat, but none of us are ready to leave this beautiful place.
As a traveler I go to new destinations to experience the best of the world, from impressive cityscapes, harsh mountain ranges and lush jungles. Though, having explored Aitutaki I know I will never experience a more naturally paradise landscape than I am now. It is a strange feeling being sure that it does not get better than it will at this moment, but that it the only way I can sum up Aitutaki.
Saying goodbye to paradise from the seat in the plane I watch the amazing lagoon fade further into the distance. Aitutaki is a place which I know I will come back to one day without a doubt. Though, while I wait, I have a sunburn to nurse and ocean drenched hair to control.
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