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Aitutaki, also known as Araura, Ararau, or Utataki, is one of the most beautiful islands nestled within the Cook Islands’ tropical paradise. Lying roughly 220 kilometers north of the main island Rarotonga, Aitutaki boasts an exquisite charm, characterized by its palm-fringed beaches, turquoise lagoon, and untouched coral reefs.


Its geographic splendor is highlighted by the iconic triangular-shaped barrier reef enclosing a lagoon abundant with marine life.

One of Aitutaki’s most prominent features is Tapuaetai, or “One Foot Island”, a small islet known for its pristine beaches and stunning views of the lagoon.


The island is steeped in a rich history, shaped by both Polynesian ancestors and European explorers.

The first inhabitants are believed to have arrived around 900 AD from French Polynesia.

European contact began in the 19th century, with Captain Bligh of HMS Bounty being one of the first to arrive in Aitutaki in 1789.

Since then, the island has developed a unique blend of Polynesian and European influences.


The island also boasts several historical and cultural attractions.

The Polynesian marae (sacred meeting grounds), many of which are still standing, reflect the island’s early Maori heritage.

Similarly, the Aitutaki Church, a grand coral and limestone structure built by early missionaries, is a testament to the island’s Christian history.


As for popular activities, Aitutaki’s turquoise waters and vibrant marine life make it a haven for water sports.

Snorkeling, diving, and fishing are common pursuits for visitors.

On land, travelers can explore the island’s lush interior by foot, bike, or scooter, offering a glimpse into the tranquil island life.


The population of Aitutaki is relatively small, with fewer than 2,000 residents calling the island home.

The locals, known for their warmth and hospitality, maintain a traditional Polynesian lifestyle.

When to Go

The best time to visit Aitutaki is during the dry season, which runs from May to October.

The temperatures are moderate, rainfall is less frequent, and the island is less crowded, offering an ideal opportunity to explore and relax.

How to Get There

The most common way to reach Aitutaki is via a 45-minute flight from Rarotonga.

Air Rarotonga operates regular flights to Aitutaki, making it easily accessible for international travelers.


One of the key highlights of Aitutaki is its stunning lagoon, often described as the most beautiful in the world.

The small, uninhabited islets or “motus” dotting the lagoon, including the famous One Foot Island, offer an unspoilt slice of paradise.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness a traditional Cook Islands dance performance, full of vibrant costumes and infectious rhythms.

What You Should Know

Aitutaki is a cash-based society, and while some businesses accept credit cards, it’s advisable to carry some cash.

English and Cook Islands Maori are widely spoken.

Remember to respect local customs, such as dressing modestly when not on the beach and seeking permission before entering sacred marae sites.


Can I rent a car on the island?

Yes, car, bike, and scooter rentals are available on the island. Driving is on the left side of the road.

Is there any medical facility available on Aitutaki?

Yes, the island has a hospital that provides basic medical services.

Are there any restaurants on the island?

Yes, Aitutaki has a selection of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, including traditional Polynesian dishes.

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