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Trip to private island without a group

Chicago
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Trip to private island without a group

Hello All -

My fiance and I are in the process of planning our honeymoon, and the Cook Islands are at the top of our list. We are fortunate enough to have two weeks to travel (12 days) and would love stays at both Aitutaki and Rarotonga.

My question, with regards to Aitutaki, is about lagoon cruises. They definitely sound awesome. I was just curious if it was ever possible to arrange a boat to take you out to an outer (uninhabited) island .. drop you off for the day .. and pick you up later that day?

A cruise with others sounds fun .. I was just wondering if there was away to have a little island to ourselves for a while during our honeymoon. I've read that tourists renting small motor boats are no longer a possibility.. So..

If anyone could help, I would greatly appreciate it!

James

Cannock, United...
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1. Re: Trip to private island without a group

Yes, some of the lagoon cruise operators will arrange a private drop-off/pick up at one of the Motu. I don't think you need to book anything in advance, you can just make arrangements once you reach the island, via your accomodation.

Another alternative would be to hire a tandem kayak from the Lagoon Resort, and explore the nearby motu by paddle power. Although you won't be able to reach the far flung corners of the lagoon, the closer motu (Angarei, Ee, Mangere and Papau) are actually quieter as no lagoon cruises visit them. We did this and never saw a soul all day. We went as far as Mangere (25 mins paddle) settled on Ee which has a sublime stretch of beach with not a footprint, or mozzie on it.

Whatever you do though, do go on a regular guided cruise as well, you'll not regret it. The snorkelling spots, food, and local history/info/banter you get with the lagoon cruise guys are all great and not to be missed.

Oh, and one bit of anecdotal advice while you're still in the planning stage: Everyone we spoke to who'd divided their time between Raro/Aitutaki said they wish they'd have booked more time in Aitutaki. We had the whole 12 days on Aitutaki and honestly it was the best 12 days of our lives.

Chicago
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2. Re: Trip to private island without a group

Thank you very much for the info!

Yes, I was definitely planning on doing a regular, guided cruise .. Was also just hoping to experience exactly what you said -- being on a motu and not seeing a soul all day.. Sounds wonderful.

Thanks as well for the advice regarding splitting time between the islands .. I was thinking about that .. and figured we would just split the time equally 6 days/6 days - but now I think I'll reconsider.

Since you have been so helpful, I hate to ask you more questions .. but what is your opinion (if you have one) on the Pacific Resort on Aitutaki?

Cannock, United...
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3. Re: Trip to private island without a group

Hi,

No worries, its good to be able to share our experience of paradise!

Regarding the Pacific Resort, we didn't stay there (Stayed at Etu Moana) or eat at the restaurant, so can't offer any first hand advice unfortunately.

The general concesus seems to be that the Pacific and Etu Moana are the two main contenders and pretty much on apar in terms of quality of accomodation. They both have their distinct advantages. I think the choice for most is whether you'd prefer the large and well facilitated 'all on one site' Pacific, or the small & friendly seclusion of Etu Moana.

I dare say that neither would disapoint

Chicago
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4. Re: Trip to private island without a group

Thanks again .. It definitely does not seem like you can go wrong with either - from what I have read.

I guess I didn't realize that you could paddle out to many of the motu .. Having never been there, and looking at a map - my first impression is that it is way farther than it looks and I don't want to be dodging motorboats -- but I would love to paddle if I could!

You mention renting a tandem kayak from the Lagoon Resort .. so I assume that you can just go there and rent one without being a guest staying in the hotel?

This is all getting very exciting .. We still have Fiji on our radar for now as well, but every time I'm reading and researching I have to say that something about the Cooks keeps drawing me that way..

Washington DC
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5. Re: Trip to private island without a group

I will chime in on the kayaking. From what research I have done (we are staying at Etu Moana for 12 days in July) there is not much power boat access to the lagoon. I think that there are some paths that they follow but for the most part the coral heads are so plentiful and large that you would have to be in a kayak to see it all. So with that in mind I imagine that you would not be dodging too many power boats. I am not sure about Pacific Resort but I am pretty sure that Etu Moana offers up their kayaks free of charge.

Every week I read reviews of Etu Moana and Pacific Resort because i have become a huge Aitutaki nerd. Aitutaki has a higher rating on trip advisor because, I think, Pacific Resort costs so much more that it raises the expectation level. My fiance and I chose Etu Moana, not for cost concerns, but more because we wanted to get a lost paradise type feel. We have every intention of walking the 15 minutes down the beach to grab a dinner or massage at Pacific but prefer the seclussion over the bussle.

Good luck with your choices! I am going to have to take GenericScreenName's advice on paddling to an island and spending the day.

Wellington, New...
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6. Re: Trip to private island without a group

Thank you for posting this question, the feedback is useful because I shall be there this month with my 11 year old grand-daughter, and kayaking is one of our sports.

Believe me, if the Aitutaki people are as laidback and kind as their Kiwi Maori cuzzies there will be no problem with powerboats!

Have a magic honeymoon, Heather

Hobart, Australia
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7. Re: Trip to private island without a group

Just my 2 cents worth! I would still split your time for both islands. We did 10 days on Aitutaki and 7 on Rarotonga. I expected to love Aitutaki so much more but really enjoyed Rarotonga - probably even a little more as the snorkelling from your door is better. Once out on the lagoon though in Aitutaki it is truly amazing but you really can’t go every day.

As far as kayaking goes you can purchase a day pass at the Aitutaki resort and spa for $50 and use all their facilities and equipment. Organisinfg a motor boat trip to a deserted island is easy to do once there. Just make sure the weather is good! Also no huge boat activity - just the few lagoon tours going out and some fishing boats – blink and you will miss them!

For accommodation options- I would definitely choose Pacific or Etu Mona - my preference is the Pacific as it has a restaurant on site and makes dinner easier if you are tired after all that kayaking. The rooms are also stunning.

Good luck with all your planning

Regards

Suzi

Edited: 5:09 am, April 05, 2011
Chicago
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8. Re: Trip to private island without a group

Thank you all so much for your responses and advice! We actually just booked our trip to the Cooks last night and we're very excited!

We decided to spend 5 nights on Rarotonga (at the Little Polynesian) and 7 nights on Aitutaki (at the Pacific) .. Glad we are able to go for two weeks and see everything the Cooks have to offer!

I would love to hear more tips of special/fun things to do on the islands .. and broyer1 - I would love to hear how your trip goes! are you guys going for your honeymoon .. or just a getaway?

Chicago
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9. Re: Trip to private island without a group

One other thing - has anyone been in the Cook Islands in October? We'll be there the first two weeks of October .. One website says the temps range from 68-78 degrees farenheit ..which sounds good, but isn't terribly warm.

Cannock, United...
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10. Re: Trip to private island without a group

I wouldn't worry too much about the 'cool' temperatures, they are based on the temerature of the air (which is cooled by the S-pacific trade winds), and measured in the shade. Its a different story when you factor in the tropical sun beating down!

We were there for the first two weeks of september last year, and sept is meant to be one of the cool months, indeed temperatures were averaging 26c/80f. With the strength of sun though, and it feels a lot warmer, especially when the breeze drops.

We spent the preceeding week in the south of france where it was 35c/97f every day, and there wasn't much difference in how warm it felt, or how long you could stay comfortable in the direct sun, compared with the Cooks.