Cook Islands honeymoon advice
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Jul 22, 2012 11:40 AM Last Post By: Araura
May 20, 2012 5:30 AM
Cook Islands honeymoon adviceHi there, we will be spending our honeymoon in the Cook Islands in January 2013 (we have 13 nights) and are just debating accommodation options. We've been finding various threads on this forum helpful for ideas so we thought some of you island experts might have some useful advice!
We're planning on spending the first 7 or 8 nights in Rarotonga and can't decide between Heliconia Hideaway and Rendezvous Villas. Does anyone have any comments on these? Particularly on relative privacy and seclusion, attractiveness of location, whether the swimming and snorkelling are better at one over the other? We've read that the lagoon is really shallow around Rendezvous (south end Muri) and it seemed maybe Heliconia had an advantage here. But then, it seems from online photos that Rendezvous looks slightly more luxurious and with better amenities (eg kitchen facilities) than Heliconia, even though it is actually less expensive because of some specials they have going.
The other 6 or 5 nights we are looking to spend in Aitutaki, hopefully at Etu Moana - just waiting to hear if it is available. If it is not, what do people think would be a comparable option? We prefer private villa style places to the larger resorts and our budget is probably no higher than Etu Moana (although there may be some room to stretch it if we go for Rendezvous rather than Heliconia in Rarotonga).
Grateful for any thoughts!
May 20, 2012 7:54 AM
1I haven't spent time in Raro for quite a while so I don't know about current accommodation there.
But your choice for Aitutaki is a good one. A close second would be the part of the Tamanu Beach resort that used to be called the Are Tamanu. It's the one with the bar next to the infinity pool overlooking the lagoon. I've stayed at both and the beachfront units, although older, are comparable to the ones at Etu Moana.
May 20, 2012 1:02 PM
2If you are looking for best snorkelling and swimming, then look no further than Heliconia. Also this property has very lush landscaping to screen the villas from the beachfront. Heliconia is the accommodation part of the privately-owned Maire Nui botanical gardens and cafe.
If you are guided by price and a well-eqipped kitchen, Rendezvous villas enjoys a wonderful lagoon outlook, and you can walk or drive south to Tikioki marine reserve for the best snorkelling and swmming.
Tamanu Beach on Aitutaki is a mid-sized resort (in Cook Islands terms). It is delightful property, and having the advantage of a licenced restaurant and regular island nights means that you dont have to go offsite to enjoy a meal out. 2 pools and a range of accommodation villas including separate bedroom, or studios with full kitchenette. One aspect that doesn't get mentioned so much, Tamanu Beach is located on a nicer stretch of lagoon compared to EM, which has a shallower lagoon and the beach sand is less dense compared to the locality around Tamanu and Aitutaki Villas.
May 20, 2012 1:59 PM
3Both Etu Moana and the Tamanu have complimentary kayaks for guests so you can paddle around and find good spots to snorkel.
I just checked their sites and they've both raised their rates since I was there. I'd give them a little nudge on the rack price before you commit. $550 seems pretty high for the beachfront units if you're staying for 5-6 days. My guess is that you could get a beachfront unit at Tamanu for $400-425, maybe less.
Also... throw a hank of parachute cord in your luggage to use for anchoring your kayak while you snorkel. The resorts never supply them and it's no fun swimming one down for a mile or so when it drifts off. You can usually find a rock or and old piece of iron to use as an anchor. Be careful if you tie it up to a coral head it will cut the light nylon cord if there's a lot of wave action.
May 20, 2012 4:07 PM
4One of the reasons why a cord or rope isnt supplied with the kayaks is probably to reduce potential damage to coral heads. Coral is a living habitat for the coral polyps and are subject to very high impacts across the Pacific. If you use any form of anchor to secure your kayak, be sure to place this onto the sandy lagoon floor, and not onto a coral head to avoid damage.
May 21, 2012 1:46 AM
5Thanks H2ooh and lagoon for these responses, that's really helpful. Think we're going to go with Heliconia this time because of the swimming and snorkelling. Great tips re Tamanu if we can't get Etu Moana - still waiting to hear back at this stage - and it's interesting to hear the lagoon is better there. We'd definitely take care not to risk damaging any coral but that's a good idea about anchoring the kayak, wouldn't have thought of it. Thanks again!
May 21, 2012 7:11 AM
Jun 3, 2012 1:06 AM
7We have just returned today from our honeymoon in the Cooks.
I don't know the two resorts on Raro you mentioned, we stayed at Sea Change Villas on the South coast and would highly recommend them. Each villa has its own private courtyard with private swimming pool and a fully equipped kitchen - very handy if you want to save some money and cook your own meal every now and then.
We visited Muri Beach (the beaches in the Cooks are public so even though you aren't staying there you can still go and visit the beaches) and have to say we were pretty underwhelmed. Yes the motus are very pretty and it is a gorgeous view, but it was way too busy for our taste, children (we were honeymooning, too), music, a gazillion of flies and heaps of semi stray dogs. We found there is much nicer beaches on the island. And once you return from Aitutaki, you won't want to sit on any of those beaches anymore, believe me :)
We stayed at Etu Moana and definitely recommend it. We stayed in a beachfront bungalow (not absolute beachfront) and found that totally adequate, even the ones one row back still have sea views. We met another honeymooning couple that stayed at Tamanu and they liked it, but they didn't have anywhere to cook so they struggled a bit with spending so much money on food. We never ate at Tamanu but that couple said that a normal dinner there including drinks would cost them just under $100! Etu Moana has two elements and pots and pans... but no oven or microwave.
Any more questions just pm me! :) You'll have a great time!
Jun 3, 2012 2:14 AM
8Thanks Kornspitz, glad to hear you had a lovely honeymoon in the Cooks! We ended up booking Heliconia Hideaway (near Titikaveka) and number 3 at Etu Moana - although we loved the look of the Sea Change Villas on Rarotonga too, it was a tough decision with so many amazing looking places.
Looking forward to it! If I think of questions I'll let you know, thanks for that.
Jun 3, 2012 7:37 PM
9I know what you mean, it is almost overwhelming how many places there are to chose from. Also, because it's your honeymoon you want to make it even more special... :)
We actually stayed in number 3 for a night, we got bumped up into a beachfront one for a night... nice views! They are all the same inside though.
Enjoy your trip!!
Jul 22, 2012 11:40 AM
10If Etu Moana on Aitutaki is full you might want to take a look at the Ootu Villa. It's relatively new, completely self contained and located on the beach next to Samade on the Beach with a spectacular view of the lagoon. It's also walking distance to some of the better eating establishments on the island namely the Koru Cafe and the Boat Shed. You can check out other accommodation options on Aitutaki at the following web site:
Coober PedyBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$150.78 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$22.02 per night
New PlymouthBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$79.18 per night