How to Save If You're Going to Aitutaki
Air Rarotonga and local travel agencies such as Island Hopper Vacations (tel. 22-026; www.islandhoppervacations.com) will book hotels and most activities on the other islands free of charge. If you are going to Aitutaki, for example, you can save as much as NZ$100 (US$80/£40) by buying a package that includes airfare and accommodations.
Getting to Aitutaki
Air Rarotonga (tel. 22-888 on Rarotonga, or 31-888 on Aitutaki; www.airraro.com) flies to and from Aitutaki Monday to Saturday. It also offers day trips for about NZ$450 (US$360/£180), which includes round-trip airfare and a lagoon excursion with a barbecue lunch. Regular round-trip fare is about NZ$370 (US$296/£148), but it usually is less expensive to fly at midday or at night. The early morning and late afternoon flights are often filled with day-trippers, and thus are more expensive.
Air/hotel packages to Aitutaki also can result in savings. Check with Air Rarotonga, Island Hopper Vacations (tel. 22-026; www.islandhoppervacations.com), or Jetsave Travel (tel. 27-707; www.jetsave.co.ck), which have outer island packages. The latter is owned by Melynnda Morrissette, an American expatriate who has lived in the Cook Islands longer than I've been coming here.
The airport is about 7km (4 1/4 miles) from most hotels and guesthouses, most of which pick up their guests who have reservations. The airline provides airport transfers for NZ$10 (US$8/£4) each way.
Ask the hotel desk to reconfirm your return flight to Rarotonga. Air Rarotonga's office is in Ureia village, just north of Arutanga (tel. 31-888).
Getting Around Aitutaki
There is no public bus transportation system on Aitutaki, but you can call Pacifica Taxi (tel. 31-220).
All hotels and guest houses can arrange car, scooter, and bike rentals, or you can call Rino's Rentals (tel. 31-197), north of Arutanga, or Popoara Rentals (tel. 31-735), on the mainland near the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa. Both have cars starting at NZ$65 (US$52/£26) a day, scooters for NZ$25 (US$20/£10) per day, and bikes for NZ$10 (US$8/£4) per day. Josie's Beach Lodge (tel. 31-659), also near the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa, rents scooters for that same price.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.