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location of accommodation nr restaurants (non driver!!)

London, United...
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location of accommodation nr restaurants (non driver!!)


We are travelling to the cook islands for our honeymoon in Apr/May and whilst I have booked up our accommodation on Raro I am stuck on Aitutaki as so many places sound great my (long) shortlist includes (Etu Moana, Tamanu Beach, Aitutaki Seaside lodges, Inano beach, Samade beach). And I am looking for some advice...

We are a young(ish) (30ish) couple who love laid back relaxed beachside accommodation, would much rather be in a basic hut than a resort.

Neither of us drive, but we are happy to walk for an hr (or more if the route is scenic) or cycle to get around. Given our transport constrains and whilst I understand that the island is not big I want to narrow my list down based on location to the best restaurants or bar (are there any very low key bars?) that are in walking distance. We like to sample local food and love fresh fish (BBQ'd on the beach is my fav!) and would love to stroll out to a restaurant or bar after a relaxing day. I am having trouble finding a map with the accommodation and rest locations anywhere.

Based on my research it looks like Tamanu and Samade have their own restaurants /bars but are they any good?

I this that Aitutaki Seaside lodges look beautiful and great value but am worried we would be too isolated.

Secondary decision making point would be snorkling / kayaking from the beach. I have read mixed reviews on if you can do this off the beach at Etu Moana, how true is this? Is Tamanu beach the same issue?

Sorry I am banging on now... final point we were thinking maybe staying at Aikaimi lodge or Gina's beach lodge on Aikimi for 2 nights. We are only 5 nights in total on Aitutaki so think this might be a bit too much moving around or is it worth it?

Thank you very very much in advance. Sorry if all this info is about somewhere but I have been searching with no luck.

Aimee Stokes (soon to be Hooker!)

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
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1. Re: location of accommodation nr restaurants (non driver!!)

Kia Orana Aimee, welcome to the forum.

It's great that you have provided good information to help with your enquiries.

Samade and Inano Bungalows are both located in the Ootu area where there are several bars and cafes within close proximity of each other. Neither accommodation is basic in a truly rustic character, each property is delightful. Samade's accommodation is not absolute beachfront, but their bar-restaurant enjoys some of the best scenic views on the island. Whereas Inano has better lagoon views from the villas, being set beside the lagoon.

Cafes and bars in the Ootu area include Koru, Boatshed and Aitutaki Resort.

Kayaking either from Inano or Samade would be equally good. All of the individual bars and cafes around Ootu point are good, you may wish to review the dining pages for Aitutaki at the top left hand corner for more information. Since the estuary and channel around Ootu point (Inano and Samade) is clearer of coral within a bigger lagoon area compared to Tamanu and Etu Moana, this activity is very well suited to both Samade and Inano.

Seaside Lodges is located in a wonderful spot, but it is a distance from the nearest bar-cafe, Puffys, as well as the Crusher Bar which is closer to this property. Additionally, Seaside doesnt enjoy the same benefit of having choice available within the immediate vicinity. Tamanu Beach has a deeper lagoon area by comparison with Etu Moana.

2 nights on Akaiami would be a dream come true. This is a gorgeous island, and its privacy and solitude means you get to stay far away from habitation and reality! Besides the lagoon area immediately in front of both accommodation properties is deep, and excellent for all kinds of water-based activities. If you are adventurous, Akaiami is a long way from London. Plus the aviation history of this idyllic island is interesting and romantic.

Happy decision-making. Congratulations on your forthcoming wedding, and honeymoon on Aitutaki.

Kia manuia.

Aitutaki, Cook...
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2. Re: location of accommodation nr restaurants (non driver!!)

Kia Orana Aimee, I think of all the options you have on Aitutaki in addition to staying on Akaiami the best one would be Inano in Ootu . Two of my favorite restaurants are walking distance - the Koru Cafe (arguably the best coffee on the island) and the Boat Shed.

The snorkeling in the channel between the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and the main island is good for snorkeling. This is also walking distance from Inano.

If you haven't you might want to also look at Ranginui's Retreat which is also located on the Ootu peninsula. These are basic bungalow type units that have the same view as the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort at about a fifth of the price

Here is there web site: www.ranginuisretreat.com/

I have lived on Aitutaki for almost 16 years and if you want to PM me for any further details or questions I would be happy to oblige.

London, United...
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3. Re: location of accommodation nr restaurants (non driver!!)

Thank you very much for the quick and very helpful responses. I think that Ootu point is going to be the best spot for us and so I have contacted both Samade and Inano about availability.

We are going to have a think about Akaiami as we think that whilst being beautiful it may be a bit too deserted for us.

We will also consider ranginui's based on availability from Samades and Inano.

Excited about our first trip to the cook islands, it is a long way but am certain it will be amazing!

Thank you!

Aimee (and Rich!)

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
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4. Re: location of accommodation nr restaurants (non driver!!)

Hi Aimee & Rich,

Have a look at both Popoara-Ocean Breeze villas in Ootu (with onsite bar-restaurant) , and also Ootu Beach House which enjoys extremely wide views of the surrounding lagoon area and so very handy to Samade bar-restaurant


This site has a map showing the locations of the Ootu properties.


santa barbara,CA
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for French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tahiti
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5. Re: location of accommodation nr restaurants (non driver!!)

Hi there,

Just thought I'd give my 2 cents.... :)

I've stayed at Akaiami and would go back in a heartbeat. The beach is absolutely incredible. Staying on such an undeveloped spot is rare in this day. Listening to the 'warm' and lounging in the azure aqua blue waters here is unforgettable. The aviation history is also quite interesting. Before a runway capable of taking international aircraft was built on Rarotonga in the 1970s, Aitutaki was the stopping point for trans-Pacific air passengers on the Coral Route to New Zealand. In those days Air New Zealand used Sunderland flying boats to island hop across the Pacific and Aitutaki's giant lagoon was an ideal landing place.

Accomodations mentioned above on the island of Aitutaki are all good. My vote for a mid-range stay would be at Samade. The beach is lovely here, the bungalows are simple and clean & you will be within walking distance of the Boat Shed, Ranginuis, Koru etc...

Sunny regards,


Edited: 07 March 2012, 15:14
Dublin, Ireland
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6. Re: location of accommodation nr restaurants (non driver!!)

Hi there,

Akaiami is unique. We stayed there for 5 nights in November 2011 and we are going back in March next year. The lodge is soooo beautiful and you will feel you have the whole island just for yourselves. They have a new website (www.akaiamiparadise.com) if you want to check it out.

In Aitutaki we stayed in Matriki beach (east side of the island). Very basic acccommodation but just close to the best resorts on the island (Etu Moana, Tamanu on the Beach and Pacific Resort). Next year will stay in Etu Moana. Top quality viilas, and the bar is located just in the middle of a beautiful tropical garden. The best thing about Aitutaki is its laggon, so I would not worry too much about where to stay in the main island. We did 3 lagoon tours with Aitutaki Adventures (The lunch served in One Foot Island was delicious!!). O'otu beach is just ok (too muddy, but this is just my opinion).

We don't driver either, so we hired a couple of bicycles in Raro and Aitutaki. And we had such a good time! 12 months to go and I'll be back in paradise!! lol

Hope you have a wonderful time in the Cooks.


7. Re: location of accommodation nr restaurants (non driver!!)

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