Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Trip Start Jan 15, 2007
63Trip End May 30, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
After getting some amazing views of tropical islands and lagoons, our little plane landed on the Aitutaki strip (it would be a bit of an exaggeration to call it an airport). We are met from the plane by Veia, who owns the Inano beach bungalows we are staying at for the next week with her husband Moeau. Again we are given a fresh flower garland, a taster of the hospitality we are going to get in Aitutaki. To our surprise we also receive some cards all the way from home including some updated photos of our new nephew Isaac.
The Inano beach bungalows are on the eastern strip of the island, quite near to the airport. The bungalows are fantastic: really spacious inside, well finished and have a modern bathroom
On our first night we are invited to go with Veia and some family guests to an Island night, a 'must do' when in the South Pacific. We went to one at Puffy's bar and at $30 per person it is half the price you pay at a resort. We were warmly welcomed by the bar owner and given the best table from which to watch the show. The price includes a traditional buffet which is magnificent to look at but doesn't really cater for vegetarians. There are some interesting things to try including cooked taro, seaweed that looks like mini-cucumbers and the delicacy that is banana cooked in a grey arrow root jelly....its an acquired taste. Whilst eating, you are entertained by a small band singing traditional songs
One of the downsides of Aitutaki is that the mosquitoes are prolific and we accumulated over 50 bites between us in just one evening. We managed to get hold of some tropical strength insect repellent which helped for the rest of the week.
Veia really goes out of her way to make sure you ar5e having the best time. This includes bringing us a breakfast of papaya and toast on our first morning as she knew we had no supplies (she also fetched us some bread later on in the week).
The weather was beautiful on our first day, as Inano's is far from town (a few small shops and an ATM) we hired a scooter to stock up on food for the week. We also did a tour of the tiny island and visited the marine research centre where they have breeding and conservation programmes for the brilliantly coloured giant clams and very cute turtles
We spend most of our time here enjoying the beach and lagoon (an avoiding the evil mosquitoes on the evenings) The lagoon life is supposed to be better here than Rarotonga so Daniel booked a diving trip with Bubbles Below, one of two dive operators in Aitutaki and reputably the best. The waters were crystal clear and he saw huge green turtles (x4) and a large school of eagle rays. We also went on a lagoon day trip. There are lots to choose from and we went on a glass bottomed boat run by a fantastic guy called Captain Lawton. It was a small boat and only six people on the trip including ourselves and we had a fantastic tour of the Aitutaki lagoon as well as visiting several of the motu islands. Through the glass bottom boat we saw loads of tropical fish and a turtle as well as giant clams. There was time to go snorkelling and they provide all the equipment. The motus we visited were amazing - quintessential tropical islands with picture-perfect blue sea, golden sand and coconut palms. The motus we visited included Honeymoon Island, Miena and One Foot island. One Foot is where the US show 'Survivor' was filmed and it has its own little post office where you can have your passport stamped
The lagoon trip also included a magnificent lunch and Captain Lawton was a great host telling us loads about both the lagoon life and island life. He dropped us off at Inanos in the most rickety old Land Rover (actually two welded together). It had a wooded floor, no mirrors and nothing worked except the brake and accelerator. It was a fantastic day and good value at $65 each.
Before we knew it the week was up and it was time to head back to Rarotonga. Veia dropped us back at the airport and we were really sad to leave. Aitutaki is a very special place and we both hope it stays that way.