Located within the heart of the South Pacific, Aitutaki is the closest island to Rarotonga. Surrounded by powder white sands and the crystal clear waters of the turquoise lagoon, this island is a breathtaking holiday haven. First discovered by Captain Bligh on the 11 April 1789, this exquisite atoll is arguably the most beautiful island in the world and, as such, is sought after by honeymooners and couples seeking the ultimate romantic wedding and honeymoon destination.
Things to do in Aitutaki
As with all island paradises, serious beach time is the number one priority in Aitutaki. But if you can pull yourself away from the beautiful white sand for long enough, there’s plenty more of this island to explore. Opt for a day of island hopping around the 22 motu (small island) in the Aitutaki atoll, stopping at the best snorkelling spots on the way. One of the loveliest of the islands is One Foot Island – take your passport and stop off to get a stamp as a special souvenir.
Even those with minimal fishing experience can enjoy the pleasures of a day at sea on Aitutaki. Choose between lagoon or deep sea fishing, grab your rod and be on your way; the waters are filled with Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi mahi, Marlin, and Giant Trevally and your catch can be delivered to your hotel or local restaurant in time for dinner.
A full day boat trip often also includes a barbeque lunch and specialist fishing guides are always keen on storytelling and sharing their experiences on Aitutaki.
Back on dry land, explore the harbour where you can organise a fishing tour, or mull around the markets – especially on a Saturday, when the area buzzes with activity from locals and tourists. Colourful sarongs, souvenirs, pandanus, and fresh produce will all be on sale.
Discover Aitutaki’s culture
As the first of the islands to accept Christianity, Aitutaki is home to the oldest church in the Cook Islands. Made from white limestone coral rock, the CICC (Cook Islands Christian Church) in Aruntanga is still a stunning building. The site makes an interesting stop – to get more involved with the locals, attend one of the Sunday services where tourists are welcome to join in.
Every Thursday tourists and locals gather at Tamanu Beach at sunset to enjoy the mesmerising Cultural Fire and Dance show. The performance includes a display of Cook Island songs, dance, drumming, and fire dancing – a skill that takes years to master. Order a cocktail, sit back and enjoy while the buffet barbeque gets going.