My best advise would be to keep an open mind, be friendly and don't have expectations of any kind. If you are open to new experiences they will happen.
For things to do:
Visit a school
Go fishing & snorkeling
Do the Cross Island Trek
Try the Progressive Dinner
Relax and enjoy a sunset or two
Go for a long walk on the beach
Sit on the beach and watch the waves.
I am sure you will have an amazing vacation and I look forward to hearing about your trip! Please let us know if there is any other way we can assist!
There is a new cultural tour that has just started on Aitutaki. I was invited on their maiden tour and is was very interesting and informative. It's called the Aitutaki Punarei Culture Tour. They are currently doing it on Mon, Wed and Fri from 9 -1. Their web site is www.aitutakiculture.com and their e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
I highly recommend it.
And a lagoon tour is a must on Aitutaki.
Just "being" in The Cooks is a cultural experience. And, the most important thing is, as MsV said "keep an open mind, be friendly and don't have expectations of any kind. If you are open to new experiences they will happen."Edited: 2:56 pm, March 20, 2013
On Rarotonga, one of the more popular and informative cultural experiences is Highland Paradise cultural village set in Arorangi. The site is both historic and sacred. There are weekly dinner and performance shows, and including transport provided to access the steep and remote site.
Raro Tours, and Cook Islands Tours operate cultural day and half-day tours on Rarotonga.
Pa is an experienced guide and expert on ethno-botanicals, his Pa's Treks Day Tours treks into the hinterland are popular. Check the reviews for this experience and others on TA.
For an evening dinner and cultural performance the over-water show held at Te Vara Nui village, close to the Pacific Resort is awesome. Prior to dinner you can also book to visit the onsite cultural village to learn more about our customs and cultural practices.
All of the suggestions given are good ones. Id also track down Pa, the very old man who guides walking tours on Raro. He is a great source of cultural information about the land and the flora and fauna and legends etc. If you are fit enough (need a moderate level of fitness as the first 30% of the trek is a steep long climb) do the cross island walk with him. He does other walks too if that doesnt suit you. Id also look into the possibility of a special dinner (it has a name I dont recall at the moment) run around once every 6 weeks or when the numbers are there that is created by Mena from Island Living. (Island Living is a shop...you'll see it or call when you get here) The dinner starts with a tour of the gardens where they grow all the food and all you eat is made from what they grow or catch. its SOOOOOOOOOO good. Pity you arent getting a chance to go to any of the other islands, like Atiu or Mangaia as they are quite different to Aikutaki and Raro and have small populations whose culture is probably easier to see in their day to day lives. Have fun and good luck......there are great fares on the LA-Raro-La flights so more Americans NEED to come here.
The first responder has a good list. Just go and enjoy. The great pleasure is that Raro is what it is. It doesn't need tours and access points. Not much as changed since the '99 Times article. I don't consider the LA-Raro airfares a bargain. The % of taxes and fees is quite high, and there isn't much traffic and therefore not much service or competition. I expect maybe 150 people a week from North America disembark in Raro. Getting to an island other than Raro and Aitutaki is not a small undertaking. There are limited accomodations and air service. If you want to read something that will set you back in your chair read Air Raro's tour of the northern islands. Only 9 passengers because of the heavy fuel load, 4 hours back from Manihiki. I expect 4 hours in a Bandit is something you don't soon forget. Has anyone here done it?
Would you recommend any particular schools in Aitutaki to visit?
There are currently 4 schools on Aitutaki, one high school and 3 primary schools. Directly up the hill East from the post office in Arutanga at the top of the hill is a campus with the High School (Araura College) and one of the primary schools (Araura Primary) so you could do two with one visit. Any of the schools would be happy to have you visit.