In a vast ocean dotted with infinite lagoons, perhaps the most striking of them all is to be found in Aitutaki. A short flight from the main island of Rarotonga brings you to a quiet little ‘half island half atoll’ – where nothing seems to happen and where the word ‘rush’ simple doesn’t exist. The main reasons to visit Aitutaki is to detach from the stresses of life and to explore its magical lagoon. Once you’ve completed a circle island tour on a rented scooter, head to the small motu (islets) that hug the outer reaches of the lagoon. Out here, you’ll snorkel in coral gardens and make landfall on beaches where fine white sand simply blinds your eyes on a sunny day. If you’ve always wondered where pictures of that perfect beach you see in travel magazines, posters and screensavers were taken – the answer probably lies in Aitutaki!
Naturally, there are some amazing coral reefs for snorkeling and diving and pristine beaches (my favorite is Whitehaven Beach). Upon arrival, you’ll instantly see why this is one of the best tropical islands in the world — and why over half a million people visit a year. One of the most popular way to see the islands is via a multi-day sailing tour (which is what I did when I visited). It was an amazing experience — especially diving! Prices start around 450 AUD for multi-day sailing tours.
While this price might inspire you to blurt out a string of expletives, take note that it encompasses all 14 bures (Fijian for "hut") on the island -- so you're splitting that nightly rate with 27 other people. Now that is entirely reasonable. Also, it's all-inclusive. Everything. Food, booze (including Champagne by the bottle), activities, private seaplane transfers, the works. Treat yourself to pontoon dinners, sunset cruises on the Blue Lagoon (yep, from the movie), a private butler, fishing, hiking, kayaking, massage... you're paying 35 grand a NIGHT. Basically do whatever the hell you want.
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