Aitutaki Aerial Shot
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Aitutaki is the Cook Island's most popular tourist destination after Rarotonga, and considering it is a world-renowned atoll that is at times referred to as the ‘Bora Bora’ of the Cook Islands, it is easy to understand why it is such a favourite.

Aitutaki is a triangle-shaped atoll, with islands built around a breath-taking lagoon. The main island sits in the northwest corner and is home to all the Aitutaki villages, hotels, restaurants and the main village Arutanga. Along the eastern side is a string of small motu (islets), many made famous in recent television series such as Survivor: Cook Islands (2006) and Shipwrecked (2000, 2001, 2006 and 2007). Prior to this new fame Aitutaki had a long history of voyagers and famous characters arriving on its shores.

It is thought that Polynesians settled on Aitutaki around 900 AD, a belief that is also supported by oral traditions. In the beginning, the Polynesian chieftain Ru reached Aitutaki about 900 AD, travelling with his four wives, four brothers, and 20 tamaine tapa-iru (royal virgins). Ru’s grandson, Taruia, also became the ariki (chief) in later years but was tricked into leaving the island by Ruatapu, another chief from eastern Polynesia, who then declared himself the new ariki before Taruia came home. The three ruling ariki families on the island today are descendants of Ruatapu.

The next big event was the arrival of Captain William Bligh and the crew of HMS Bounty who were the first known Europeans to arrive on Aitutaki on 11 April 1789, just days before the infamous mutiny took place.

Aitutaki is also known as the first Cook Island to adopt Christianity, following the arrival of missionary John Williams in 26 October 1821. Much of Williams success was due to the work of Papeiha, a Polynesian missionary from French Polynesia, who stayed behind when Williams left the island. Papeiha converted two islanders to Christianity, including the reigning high chief Tamatoa, and within two years most of the island population followed suit.

Aitutaki has been listed as one of the most beautiful sites in the world, and it is. Rippling azure waters, the kaleidoscope of bright tropical fish, blooming frangipani and secluded beaches make this a remarkable vacation setting, known for it's popularity as a honeymoon destination.

Conde Nast Travel, listed Aitutaki’s One Foot Island, as one of it’s top 30 beaches in the world.  “This tiny uninhabited motu is one of the most photographed islets in the South Pacific, no doubt because it is everybody’s idea of what their island would look like if they were Robinson Crusoe – white sand, bending palm trees, azure water.” 

Whether you’re floating through the calm waters on a lagoon cruise, enjoying the views from a shady beach bungalow or catching a scenic panorama from the peak of Maunga Pa the highest hill on the island – Aitutaki is a paradise not to be missed.

Click here for more information on luxury Aitutaki accommodation.

Click here for more information on Cook Island tours and activities with Tipani Tours.
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