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Article: Honeymoon In Paradise: Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Honeymoon In Paradise: Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Honeymoon In Paradise: Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki, a shimmering blue atoll in the Cook Islands, is barefoot luxury at its finest. Nestled in the South Pacific, Aitutaki boasts pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and untouched tropical landscapes. Our honeymoon at the Pacific Resort Aitutaki was nothing short of magical, offering an ideal blend of relaxation, adventure, and luxury. Here, we'll share our unforgettable experience and provide some recommendations on things to do in Aitutaki.

Arrival at Aitutaki

Our journey began with a 5.5 hour flight from Sydney to the Cook Island's main island, Rarotonga. Jetstar is one of the only companies flying into the Cook Islands from Sydney, and as of today, they don't have any direct flights to Aitutaki.

Shortly after arriving in Rarotonga, we were ushered to another smaller plane to fly 40 minutes into Aitutaki. As we descended the plane, the breathtaking views of the turquoise lagoon and the island's lush greenery immediately captivated us. A warm welcome awaited us at Aitutaki Airport, where a representative from the Pacific Resort Aitutaki greeted us with leis and smiles, setting the tone for our getaway.

The Pacific Resort Aitutaki: A Luxurious Paradise

The Pacific Resort Aitutaki is a five-star luxury resort that perfectly delivers unparalleled seclusion with award-winning serenity. Nestled along a private beach, the resort offers stunning views of the lagoon and an intimate atmosphere perfect for travelers and honeymooners. With only 29 intimate thatched beach bungalows, it's no wonder Pacific Resort Aitutaki has been named one of the region's top 25 hotels, competing with the likes of Bora Bora.

Despite almost booking direct on the hotel's website, I found a deal on Luxury Escapes for a 6 night stay. The cost was just over $5,000 NZD (New Zealand Dollars) which included all hotel transfers, 6 nights stay in a waterfront bungalow, complementary breakfast, 3-course nightly dinner and a bottle of wine. Not unreasonable for a 5 star world-renowned luxury villa! By comparison, Bora Bora prices start at a minimum of $20k just for the accommodation. Note that children 12 years and under are not permitted to stay at the hotel if you are travelling with kids (a luxury if you don't have kids and wish to enjoy a tranquil getaway).

Accommodation

Our beachfront bungalow was a luxurious haven, featuring traditional Polynesian decor with modern amenities. The private deck offered uninterrupted views of the lagoon, and we spent countless hours simply lounging, drinking cocktails, and soaking in the beauty. The outdoor shower and the spacious bathroom added an extra touch of indulgence. Compared to the more showy and luxurious hotels seen in the Maldives or Bora Bora, our waterfront villa had a more relaxed feel to it with its Polynesian charm.

Dining

The dining experience at the Pacific Resort Aitutaki was nothing short of exceptional. The Rapae Bay Restaurant, with its panoramic views of the lagoon, served delicious meals crafted from fresh, local ingredients. Breakfasts were a delightful mix of tropical fruits, freshly baked pastries, and cooked-to-order eggs. Dinners were romantic affairs, with dishes such as freshly caught seafood, tender meats, and delectable desserts served against a stunning sunset backdrop. The staff know how to make a mean cocktail (perhaps a bit strong) and upon arrival, the cocktail of the day was named after the latest guest who had arrived that day. The resort also offered a private dining experience on the beach, which was one of the highlights of our stay.

As a Celiac (gluten-free) diner, the staff were more than accommodating. After a week's stay at Pacific Resort, I'm happy to report I hadn't been 'glutened' once. The staff were very aware of cross contamination and offered plenty of gluten free options to choose from. While all of the staff were fantastic, Baldwin went above and beyond to remember our names, seek us out for a chat and always greeted us with a warm smile.

Things to Bring

There are a couple of items we recommend to bring on your stay including but not limited to: bug spray if you happen to attract mosquitos (we didn't have an issue), sunscreen, sea shoes for getting in and out of the water and our very own personalised Amalfi Personalised Travel Wallet and Passport Holder and Lugagge Tag Set to keep our travel documents secure and safe.

Things to Do in Aitutaki

Aitutaki offers a range of activities that cater to different interests, from adventure seekers to those looking for relaxation.

1. Lagoon Cruise

One of the must-do activities in Aitutaki is a lagoon cruise. We embarked on a day-long excursion with Bishop Cruises, exploring the vibrant underwater world and the many motus (small islands) scattered across the lagoon. Snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters was like swimming in an aquarium, surrounded by colourful fish and coral. And according to our guide, the resident Trevally fish enjoy stealing rings and watches (so make sure to remove any reflective items before swimming).

The highlight of the cruise was our visit One Foot Island, a pristine islet with powdery white sand and azure waters. Recently recognised as one of the top 5 beaches in the world, my husband and I couldn't quite believe our eyes. Having been to the Maldives previously, it simply didn't compare to the beauty of One Foot Island.

Our group enjoyed a snorkel in the morning, followed by a visit to the sandbank, fresh fish served in an island hut and a wander around the island. We even got our passports stamped at the tiny post office on the island.

2. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

For snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts, Aitutaki offers some of the best spots in the South Pacific. The Aitutaki Marine Research Centre organises snorkeling tours where we had the chance to see giant clams, vibrant coral gardens, large sea turtles and an array of marine life. For a more immersive experience, you can book a diving tour with Bubbles Below Dive Centre.

3. Kayaking and Paddleboarding

The calm waters of the Aitutaki lagoon are perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding. The resort provided complimentary equipment, and we spent several mornings paddling around the lagoon, discovering secluded spots, and enjoying the tranquility. Kayaking to some of the nearby motus gave us a chance to explore these tiny islands at our own pace. It's essential to wear swimming shoes to protect your feet from sea slugs!! when getting in and out of the water. 

4. Aitutaki Punarei Culture Tour

To immerse ourselves in the local culture, we joined the Aitutaki Punarei Culture Tour. This half-day excursion provided a fascinating insight into the island's history and traditions. We visited ancient marae (sacred sites), learned about traditional medicine, and participated in cultural activities such as weaving and coconut husking. The tour concluded with a traditional umukai (earth oven) feast, where we tasted local delicacies cooked in the traditional way.

5. Biking Around the Island

Exploring Aitutaki by bike was a wonderful way to see the island's interior and interact with locals. We borrowed bikes from the resort and set off on an adventure, pedaling through charming villages, past coconut plantations, and along scenic coastal roads. The locals we met were incredibly friendly, often inviting us to join them for a chat or to enjoy fresh fruit from their gardens. 

6. Spa and Wellness

No honeymoon is complete without some pampering, and the Tiare Spa at the Pacific Resort Aitutaki provided just that. We indulged in a few couples' massages, which was the perfect way to unwind after days of exploration. The spa's serene setting, with the sounds of the ocean in the background, made the experience even more relaxing. And the bonus? If you book before 11am, the spa will deduct 15% off your treatment. 

7. Sunset Watching

Each evening, we made it a point to catch the stunning Aitutaki sunset. The best spot was right on the beach at the resort, where we could sit back with a cocktail in hand and watch the sky transform into a canvas of vibrant colors. The sunsets in Aitutaki are truly spectacular, providing a perfect end to the day. 

Reflections on Our Honeymoon

Our honeymoon in Aitutaki was everything we had dreamed of and more. The island's natural beauty, combined with the warmth of the local people and the range of activities available, created an unforgettable experience. Our time on this untouched island will forever be etched in our memories, and we highly recommend it as a honeymoon destination for couples seeking a slice of paradise.

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