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Most of the Cook Islands, especially in the north of the archipelago, are visited only rarely by tourists, because the connecting flight with Rarotonga only runs once every two weeks. It’s worth visiting Manihiki, since next to Aitutaki it’s the most beautiful of the Cook Islands… 🏝

Aitutaki… If you can only visit one island in Polynesia, make it Aitutaki! Many consider the lagoon here the most beautiful in the world, and while beauty isn’t a contest, they’re not far wrong! But it’s not just the beauty of the island that draws people here, it’s also the authenticity – it’s rare to see so much beauty in one place, and with so little of the tourist infrastructure that usually comes with such beauty!

Aitutaki isn’t very big, but it’s impossible to walk any distance before a smiling driver stops to offer you a lift, and maybe something to eat as well! ☺️

Alongside Tahiti-Bora Bora, Rarotonga-Aitutaki is probably the easiest destination in the region to fly to, and the price is more or less the same – €300 - €350. Roratonga, the biggest and best-known of the Cook Islands, is a great destination to pair with a trip to Aitutaki, since it has quite a different geography, character and feeling, and because around half of Cook Islanders (10,000 people) live on its seventy square kilometers.

Like Bora Bora it’s 32km in circumference, and (this may not come as a surprise) wild and magnificently beautiful. Travel is made easy by the rarobus, which goes around the island in both directions. Tickets are around €3. 🚌

Since visitors to this archipelago are generally looking for rest, active relaxation and fifty shades of blue, I’d say that for a two-week holiday – including flights – the lion’s share should be spent on Aitutaki! A sample itinerary could be: Four days on Rarotonga, then seven on Aitutaki. So long as you’re confident speaking and understanding English, you might also consider Atiu, Mauke, Mtiaro and Mangaia – the cheapest and most accessible is Atiu! 🥥🌊🌏

Here, as my good deed for the day, is a Top Ten Best of Rarotonga-Aitutaki for adventurers!
1. Cross Rarotonga (on the cross-island track) and climb the highest point, Te Rua Manga, at 413 meters
2. A tour of Aitutaki Lagoon
🏝
3. Spend a whole day on the most beautiful part of Aitutaki, One Foot Island
4. And another full day on Honeymoon Island, where you can also kite surf
5. Walk, cycle or moped the 32km around Rarotonga
🛵🚲🛴
6. Spot the whales off the coast of Rarotonga (Jul-Nov)
🐳
7. Watch the sunset from the 124-meter-high top of Aitutaki, Maungapu
🌄
8. Snorkel with turtles in the Rarotonga Muri Lagoon
🐢
9. Eat one of the finest fruit platters of your life for breakfast on a Saturday at the Punanga Nui market on Rarotonga
🍉🍌🍍🥥
10. Feel your eyes pop out of your head and thank the good Lord that you’re on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, at O’otu beach, on Aitutaki
🧘🏻

♂‍🧘🧘🏻

♂‍"

(sz.b., 2020)

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“Today was a really exciting day, because we managed to “time travel”! Before you call for a doctor, no, I haven’t lost my marbles :D If you travel to one of the islands from a particular direction you can ‘travel back in time’ – that is, you cross the international date line and arrive in a place where it’s still the day before, while in the place you’ve just come from it’s already tomorrow. This meant that for us, November 27th lasted 47 whole hours. (Yes, it’s morning on the 28th for you back home, but we’re still just finishing the 27th. :D) Pretty cool, huh?

Practicals

Transport

Lots of young people are dying on bikes with no helmets. They have severe head injuries on the roads.

Cook Islands - control of helmet requirement for motorcyclists - s.i. photo

Cook Islands - motorbikers - s.v. photo

Public safety

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Cook Islands - Security agent

Background

Cook Islands - national flag

Destination in brief

Size: 236.7 km² (91.39 mi²)

Population (in 2020): 17,560

Capital city: Avarua District

Language: Rarotongan, English

Religion: 63% Protestant, 17% Roman Catholic

Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 2600 USD

Most common surname: Marsters

Geography

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Cook Islands - Rarotonga, a volcanic island - a volcano and a paradise palm tree - o.p. photo

People

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Cook Islands - little boy with little fish - g.t. photo

Cook Islands - locals - o.p. photo

Gastronomy

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Cook Islands - seafood platter - f.t. photo

Cook Islands - pipi fish - p.f.

Attractions

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