Cook Islands Assistance
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Nov 8, 2012 10:28 AM Last Post By: agingaquarian
Oct 18, 2012 3:07 PM
Cook Islands AssistanceWife and I are planning a 12-14 day trip to Cook Islands next July ( later part of the month) to celebrate our anniversary. We are leaving the kids behind and are hoping for a long deserved romantic get away. We are hoping to split the trip between Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
� Any suggestions on places to stay, we want it to be very romantic, quiet (so prefer adult only, but not a deal breaker), and not too expensive. Waterfront would be most ideal.
� We love hiking, so are there many hiking opportunities in either island.
� Is second half of July a good time to go there.
� Should we split time equally between the two islands or would it be better to spend more time in one of the islands.
� Is food very expensive there( I only ask so I know how to budget
� Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Edited by: dalumart
Oct 18, 2012 11:00 PM
1Romantic, quiet place to stay.... On a scale of 1-10 I'd say that Rarotonga would be a 7 and Aitutaki would rate a 9. Mauke would be a 10. I know you didn't ask about other islands in the Cooks but it is more quiet than Aitutaki.
Hiking... all have good hiking opportunities with Aitutaki the least. Raro has the most developed (and crowded) trails, Mauke the least developed.
If you budget $100/day for two people you will eat well in all but the high-end resorts. $200 if you stay and/or eat at the high-end places.
I recommend spending two days on Raro when you arrive, then get out to Aitutaki or Mauke and decide after a day or two where you want to spend the balance of your time in the Cooks. If you ask most first-time visitors who visited one or more of the outer islands, they will tell you they regret not having scheduled more time for the outer islands.
Aitutaki accommodation: Etu Moana ($400-500NZ/day), Mauke: Okiva Point ($175NZ/day), Raro: don't know
Oct 19, 2012 7:33 AM
Thanks for the quick response and for the info you provided. It helps a lot!.
A couple questions in reference to your recommendation… So do you think if I don’t book in advance I would still be able to find decent accommodations? I am worried that I would end up with no place to stay.
Second, when you say crowded trails… do you mean tons of people like some of the popular trails in Hawaii where you see people throughout the entire hike, or do you mean I will run into people a few times during the hikes.
Oct 19, 2012 9:49 AM
3HI Danny, First of all, July is high season so booking in advance is highly recommended. I'm not sure what 'not expensive' is to you. Here is a web site for accommodations on Aitutaki that lists by price as well as alphabetically http://aitutaki-accommodations.com/Aitutaki_Accommodation.html
Places I would recommend you take a look at are the Ootu Beach House, the Ootu Villa, Aretai Beach Villas and Etu Moana. All on on the beach.
The first 3 are self-catering so you can save money by doing some of your own cooking if so inclined. If you buy packaged goods it can be expensive. If you shop like a local for local produce and fish it's much less.
I live on Aitutaki so I am biased as to where you should spend most of your time. It's a real get-away kind of place with what is considered by many travelers the most beautiful lagoon in the world. Things to do include deep sea fishing, fly fishing in the lagoon for record size bone fish and trevaly, scuba diving, kite surfing, snorkeling and kayaking in the lagoon.
As far as crowds go, the west side of Aitutaki has a white sand beach that stretches from the airport to the main wharf - about 3 miles. You can walk that beach any time of day, any day of the week, high season or low and if you run into more than 10 people it's crowded. No beach vendors - no one trying to get you to sit down for a 3 hour timeshare sale. It's like Hawaii was 90 years ago.
Edited by: Araura
Oct 19, 2012 11:00 PM
So do you think if I don’t book in advance I would still be able to find decent accommodations?
If you book 2-3 days at the first place on each island you should be able to either extend your stay at that place or find one that you like as well or better. Exceptions to this would be Etu Moana (very popular) on Aitutaki, and accommodation Mangaia, Mitiaro and Mauke (there's only a few places to stay on each of those.) One other high-volume booking time period might be the kite surfing championships on Aitutaki. With a few exceptions you'll get a better price dealing directly with the owner/operator than if you book through a booking service. The booking service charges a fee to the lodging operator to handle your booking. That fee is either passed on to you or absorbed by the owners.
I'd also opt for the fully-flex tickets on Air Rarotonga to maximize your ability to change your schedule for inter-island travel. They are refundable and changeable without a fee. The second advantage to that strategy is that it might give a local a better shot at getting a cheap ticket.
Second, when you say crowded trails… ??
Crowds are relative to what you are expecting or have experienced in the past. I can tell you that by most standards the trails on Raro are lightly traveled. You might meet one or two groups or you might meet several large groups. Relative to the outer islands that is crowded. On Mauke, Mangaia or Mitiaro you can walk 1/2 a day and meet no one. My wife and I went swimming every day for a week in a stunning limestone freshwater pool on Mitiaro and never saw another person there. We've spent hours walking and swimming on deserted beaches without seeing anyone on the outer islands. They are truly undiscovered tropical paradise destinations. If you go to any of them you'll find it hard to get them out of your mind when you get back home. And you'll probably go back more than once. I've been there six times.
My advice is to see Raro and Aitutaki for sure and then take in at least one other outer island.
Oct 21, 2012 1:49 PM
5For Raotonga, I would recommend staying at Sunhaven Beach Bugalows (www.ck/sunhaven), a small, child free hotel on the beach on the western side of the island known for its beautiful sunsets. Food is expensive on all islands, even in the grocery stores. For a restaurant romatic splurge, I reccomend Tammarind House, the best restaurant on the island, and Viama in Titikaveka. More things to do on Raro though, so I'd give it more time. Enjoy your stay in the Cooks.
Oct 21, 2012 4:17 PM
6@dalumart... don't pass up Tapuna's on Aitutaki... mains are 25-35 NZD are are great.... go there on your first or second night in case you want to make it a habit.
Oct 24, 2012 10:07 AM
Nov 8, 2012 10:28 AM
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