Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki, the second most visited island in the Cook Islands group, is geologically part volcanic and part atoll.

Just 220 kilometers north and an easy 45 minute flight from Rarotonga, its lagoon is considered one of the most magnificient in the world.

Local legend claims that its highest hill, Maungapu, is said to be the top of Rarotonga’s Raemaru mountain that was chopped off and brought back by victorious Aitutaki warriors.

Polynesian myth holds that beautiful Aitutaki is a giant fish tethered to the seabed by a vine from the air. The light turquoise lagoon looks like a huge pale oyster against the vivid blue ocean.

Captain Bligh discovered Aitutaki in 1789, only 17 days before the notorious mutiny on the Bounty. Christian missionaries followed which meant it was the first island in the Cook Islands to receive Christianity. Today the people live in villages along the coastline and island interior. Most roads are tar sealed and transport is mainly by motor scooter, although bicycles and cars are also used to get people around.

The low rolling hills of the island are flanked by banana plantations and coconut groves.

A triangular barrier reef seems to catch the exquisite turquoise Aitutaki lagoon like a giant fishhook. The crystal clear water in the lagoon is ideal for sailing, swimming, snorkeling, kitesurfing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and scuba diving and beneath the blue surface is a world of sea creatures and plants that will leave you fascinated. There’s also the elusive fighting bonefish which is favoured by anglers.

To reach the summit of Maungapu, take a leisurely half-hour walk to the west side of the island. At its peak you’ll discover a breathtaking view of Aitutaki. The shopping and business district is between Amuri and Ureia and also clustered near the wharf at Arutanga.

Aitutaki offers a range of accommodation for any budget and there are a few restaurants and cafés on the island for your dining pleasure. Live entertainment can be found at hotels or local watering holes.

Be sure to book a full-day lagoon cruise. There will be plenty of snorkelling opportunities and you can even hand feed schools of tropical fish and see giant clams up close. Some operators offer snorkelling gear and towels and serve a barbecue lunch when you arrive on an island.

A cultural day tour is an opportunity to discover, and interact with, a culture that was hidden for 200 years as a result of the influence of the new culture that was adopted in 1821. Punarei Culture Village offers our visitors the experience of engaging in some of cultural practices such as the making umukai, share stories of the ancient past and visit sacred and scenic sites.

Exploring Aitutaki

Aitutaki’s Cuisine

Activities in Aitutaki

Excursions of Cook Islands

AITUTAKI & the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa

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