Offering an alluring escape, Aitutaki provides tourists with a superb secluded and tranquil atmosphere to relax in. Just 18.3 sq km in size, this ‘almost atoll’ is a fantastic vacation destination with its gorgeous blue lagoon and magnificent sunsets. The second most populated of the Cook Islands, Aitutaki is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Ocean.
Located 225km north of Rarotonga in the Southern Pacific, this beautiful island sits in a triangular shaped lagoon, with the lagoon’s outer reef dotted with a dozen or so picturesque motu or small islands. Made up of one major isle and 20 or so islets, Aitutaki for many is the idyllic beach paradise. The snorkeling and diving in the lagoon is simply breathtaking, with the ‘island nights’ performances here rated as the best in the Cooks.
Historically, Aitutaki has had an impressive past, with the island first being discovered by Captain William Bligh and the ill-fated HMS Bounty in April 1789. The first island to accept Christianity, Aitutaki was also a key base for John Williams and the London Missionary Society. What is also impressive about Aitutaki’s past are the many marae or ancient religious meeting grounds found on the island. Historians believe that the Polynesians discovered Aitutaki around 900 AD, with the first settler here being Ru and his family, who named the island Utataki Enua O Ru Ki Te Moana. Another famous visitor to this island was Charles Darwin traveling aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835.
What is so wonderful about Aitutaki is that life here moves at its own pace. Laidback and unhurried, the island is the perfect escape for many who want nothing more than to enjoy the natural beauty found all over the place. Simply go out for a paddle in a sea kayak and explore the lagoon, or take a dive and see the wealth of coral and fish found below. The fishing is also quite good out here, while exploring the many nearby motu is a superb way to spend an afternoon. One Foot Island or Tapuaeta’i is a fabulous motu to visit with its spectacular white sand beach and clear turquoise waters.