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Booking in advance necessary?

Zoeterwoude...
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Booking in advance necessary?

Kia Orana!

Me and my boyfriend are going on a trip round the world and we are lucky enough to have three weeks on the cook islands. We start the 27th of August on Rarotonga and I booked Rarotonga Backpackers for three nights. Our plan is then to hop to Aitutaki and stay there for around two weeks. We didn't book tickets yet because I heard it is cheaper to book it last minute. First of all is this true, do they have special last minute rates? Second question because we are not completely sure which day we arrive on Aitutaki we cannot reserve acco yet. Is this a problem or is there usually something available? We are on a tight budget so around 80 nz dollar would be the max.

Should I go ahead and book and plan everything already or is this nog necessary and arrange everyting locally? Many thanks in advance!

Aitutaki, Cook...
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1. Re: Booking in advance necessary?

Kia Orana and welcome to the forum Marion. While it is true that Air Rarotonga does often have last minute discount fares that is not always the case and you could find all the flights have been booked. You can take a chance by waiting until the last minute but I wouldn't recommend it.

Currently there are a lot of kite surfers on the island and the low end accommodations are pretty full. There is a strong possibility that might also be the case when you arrive. I would strongly recommend that you make a booking as soon as possible. Here is a web site for Aitutaki accommodations that you can search by price level to find what you are looking for:

aitutaki-accommodations.com/Aitutaki_Accommo…

Good luck with your planning

Rarotonga, Cook...
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2. Re: Booking in advance necessary?

Kia Orana Marion, welcome to the Cook Islands forum.

You will need to be extremely quick to book the 'special' fares showing against the 30th August from Rarotonga to Aitutaki. Being peak visitor season at present, this fare wont last the day out. Otherwise spend another night at your Rarotonga accommodation and go for the cheap seats showing for the 31st August - http://www.airraro.com

With a restricted budget, your accommodation options on Aitutaki will be limited Within your price-range consider Matriki, Vaikoa units, Tom's beachfront studio, Josie's Lodge, Amuri Guesthouse, Paratrooper Motel. Possibly Ranginui's Retreat for their sunset studios. Due to prior bookings, you may not be able to secure an entire duration at the same property on Aitutaki, so be prepared to move from one site to another if this is the reality.

The very best last minute specials are available when demand isn't strong - for both flights and accommodation. I hope it works out for your plans, but also consider making a 2-island visit including Atiu with Aitutaki. Atiu has an extensive interior to explore, and this island has very well-priced accommodation being less exposed to visitors and development.

Kia manuia.

Edited: 4:10 pm, August 02, 2012
Zoeterwoude...
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3. Re: Booking in advance necessary?

Thank you for the helpfull advise, I booked the tickets to Aitutaki because I didn't want to miss out.

Now I have to make a decision on acco, I am doubting between Vaikao (the small beach bungalow), Matriki (a new beach hut) and Ranginui's Retreat. Pls help me... Prices are simular.

Greetings Marion

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4. Re: Booking in advance necessary?

Hi again Marion,

A difficult decision for sure - Anaunga area versus Ootu area? To help decide, ask yourselves a few simple questions.

1. Do you want to be nearer to the township with grocery stores, the market where fresh fruit and veg with some prepared foods are sold? Would you prefer to face the reef and western sunsets, as well as having the hinterland nearby? How much would you enjoy a long length of sandy beachfront good for snorkelling & strolling, plus having a few dining places nearby as well as the cheap eats in town? Both Matriki and Vaikoi fit this category.

OR

2. Are you keen to stay adjacent to the wider lagoon area with both island & motu views? Would you prefer more social activity with several bars and licenced cafes in close proximity? Is access to great kayaking, swimming yet not so good snorkelling, & being near a departure point for lagoon cruising, sailing and kite-surfing most appealing to you? Ranginui's Retreat in Ootu is central to this scene.

- Matriki will be very much an eco-stay with their strong philosophy and commitment towards environmental awareness and proection. Matriki operate their own lagoon cruise & snorkelling adventure. Hire scooters for guests. A "new" hut is always an attractive proposition for sure.

- Vaikoa is popular because it offers good value and is situated (together with Matriki) on the very best part of this long stretch of lovely beachfront. Vaikoi is closer to the village stores by approx 400 metres. A delightful little area, and handy to the fire-dancing floorshow at Tamanu resort.

- Ranginui's Retreat in Ootu, is located alongside the Ootu channel, affording both lagoon and motu Akitua (where the Lagoon Resort sits) views. Being surrounded by the bars and cafes and water sports & lagoon-based activity located is an immensely popular draw-card for an Ootu stay. And when the tide goes out, as it is a tidal area, take a cooling dip in their small pool.

I think you may need to toss a coin to decide this one! Good luck choosing - kia manuia.

Aitutaki, Cook...
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5. Re: Booking in advance necessary?

The difference between the 3 places you are looking at is that Vaikoa and Matriki are on the west side of the island so you will get the sunset and they also have direct views of the reef so you can watch for whales passing by outside. There is also very good snorkeling off the beaches of these two. They are both near the Tamanu Beach Resort which has an excellent island night on Thursday nights and a BBQ on Sunday and also close to Tauono's Garden Restaurant run by Sonja who specializes in vegetarian dishes from her organic garden.

Rangui's Retreat is on the end of the Ootu peninsula with a spectacular view facing south down the long way of the lagoon. You have the same view as people staying at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort for a tenth the price. The snorkeling isn't the best off their beach but you can walk around the corner and snorkel in the channel between the main island and the island the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort is on. You are walking distance to two of the better eating establishments on Aitutaki, The Koru Cafe (in my opinion the best coffee on the island) and the Boat Shed. You are also near Samade on the Beach which usually has an island night on Tuesday night and a Sunday BBQ. The Aitutaki Lagoon Resort right across the channel also has a couple of island nights.

If it were me, it would be a tough choice. I am sure you will be happy with whatever decision you make.

Zoeterwoude...
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6. Re: Booking in advance necessary?

Thank you very very much for all the information, made up my mind, 1st week in Matriki and second week in Ranginui's retreat! This way I get the best of both I think.

Greetings Marion

Rarotonga, Cook...
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7. Re: Booking in advance necessary?

What a neat plan and compromise - you'll experience the best that Aitutaki has to offer this way!

Kia Orana e kia manuia.

8. Re: Booking in advance necessary?

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