Cruises visiting Aitutaki (Cook Islands)
Points Of Interest
Aitutaki’s spectacular lagoon is world renowned, and no visit to this island is complete without experiencing it. This exquisite turquoise lagoon stretches for about seven miles along each leg of its triangular shape and is rimmed with palm-shaded beaches and dotted with picturesque motus. In its waters, you can spot myriad tropical fish and other marine life. Watersports abound, from diving and snorkeling to kayaking and more. Diving, snorkeling, and lagoon cruise shore excursions are available from The Gauguin.
Mango trees and hibiscus flowers bloom in quiet Arutanga, Aitutaki’s primary settlement. Located on the island’s west coast, it offers an easygoing ambiance, a pretty harbor, and shops. Its main attraction is its Cook Islands Christian Church. Built in the early 1800s of coral and limestone, it is the oldest in the country and features stained-glass windows, carved-wood paneling, and an anchor suspended from the ceiling as a symbol of hope. Another landmark is the Orongo Centre, a community meeting place at the Arutanga Wharf.
At 407 feet high, Mount Maungapu is the highest point on the island, offering the best views of this palm-studded island and its impossibly blue lagoon. You can hike to the top along a trail whose trailhead is across from the bungalows of Paradise Cove and takes about a half hour to complete. Mount Maungapu is also available on The Gauguin’s Aitutaki Discovery Safari shore excursion.
One Foot Island (Tapuaetai)
One of the popular motus off the Aitutaki coast is this tropical jewel, where an azure lagoon laps against a white-sand beach. Enjoy swimming and snorkeling at the site that was named “Australasia’s Leading Beach” in the 2008 World Travel Awards. One Foot Island is also famous as the site of one of the smallest and most remote post offices in the world. The Lagoon Cruise and Beach Break excursions visit One Foot Island.
Population: 1,770 (2011)
Language: Cook Islands Maori (Rarotongan), English
Currency: NZD, Cook Islands dollars
Scheduled Docking Location: Drifting outside of the lagoon, tender to Arutanga.
Shopping: Shops are generally open Mon–Fri 8am to 4pm, Sat 8am to noon. Closed Sundays.
Banks / ATMs:
ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group) Mango Traders, open Mon-Thurs 9am to noon and 1pm to 3pm.
Westpac Bank in the government administration building in Arutanga, open Mon, Wed, Fri 9:30am to 3pm.
BCI (Bank of Cook Islands) in the government administration building in Arutanga, open Mon-Fri 9am to 3pm; no ATM.
Major CC are accepted on Aitutaki. Cash: best to have local currency (NZD). Local Cook Islands dollars cannot be exchanged outside the Cook Islands.
Post Office: The post office is located in the government administration building in Arutanga, open Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm.
Internet/Wi-Fi: SpiderCo Internet Lounge (+682 31-780), Mon-Sat 7am to 11:30pm, Sun 6pm to 9pm.
Airport Transportation: Aitutaki Airport averages five incoming flights a day from Rarotonga. It is recommended that airport transfers be arranged in advance.
Pacifica Taxi: +682 31-220
Tropicool Tours and Transfers: +682 31-248 / +682 50-788
Scooter & Bicycle Rental:
Rino’s Rentals: +682 31-197
Popoara Rentals: +682 31-735
Motor scooter is the preferred means of transportation on Aitutaki.
Port Agent Contact:
Michael Henry, Cruise Cook Islands
Ships agents & Shore Excursions
Phone: +682 31-818
Mobile: +682 55-105