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“My favourite place in the world!”

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London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 helpful votes
“My favourite place in the world!”
Reviewed 1 September 2010

I recently spent a week touring three of the Cook Islands, visiting Ratatonga, Aitutaki and Atui. A week was not enough time to do justice to these beautiful and unspoilt islands. The first few days were spent in the most touristy island of Aitutaki but it was not difficult to meet with the locals who made me feel very welcome. Although I am not very religious I visited a church in Muri beach and was enchanted with the singing and sheer enthusiasm of the congregation. Afterwards i was asked to join them for lunch, which was more of a banquet with roast spitted pig. I stayed at the Muri Beach hideaway which was excellent and handy for snorkelling on the reef

On Aitutaki the lagoon was the highlight with the most beautiful fish and coral very easy to see by just snorkelling. I stayed at Ranguinis retreat which was pleasant if basic, with good eating places near by.

My favourite place of all was Atui, as i was only one of 10 tourists on the whole island. It is so peaceful and still and the beaches, vegetation are beautiful. The local people are genuinley intersted and friendly and work hard to make your stay pleasant. Stay with Roger Malcolm at Atui Villas and enjoy his droll sense of humour and his wifes cooking.

1 Thank WimbledonGirlUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, CA
1 review
7 helpful votes
“Avoid Jetsave and Aitutaki & Rarotonga”
Reviewed 10 October 2004

Miserable. Jetsave is a ripoff. Insect epidemic. Beaches, water so-so.

Aitutaki and Rarotonga have an epidemic of no-see-ums insects aka sandflies aka sandfleas aka nono's. None of the guidebooks (Frommer's, Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, Moon's Handbooks) tell you this. (Some of them mention the insects being on other South Pacific islands, but not these two.) My husband and I had planned a long holiday on these two islands and had to cut our trip short after only seven days because these insects drove us out.

If you are not familiar with them, they are microscopic bugs which as a consequence can pierce anything (windows screens, sheets, clothing, etc.). They come out at dusk and are out all night long until dawn. Try sleeping when you're being bitten (their bite feels like a pin prick) all night long. If you are allergic to them like my husband, they can make you extremely nauseous, extremely itchy, very hot, with very bad headaches and breakouts from their bites that look like the worse hives you've ever seen. He was very sick from these insects.

The only thing that will keep the insects away is 100% Deet which they do not sell on the islands. Regular Deet keeps them away for an hour or two so that means we were awakened by bug bites every hour or two throughout the night to apply bug spray. Still it made no difference for my husband because of his allergic reaction. And, of course, we were exhausted during the day because of very little sleep at night.

Also, although the atolls surrounding the island are beautiful, there are not many sandy beaches with clear water on the islands themselves. Many of the beaches on both islands have murky water from soil erosion. And, many of the beaches have tons of small coral heads making it difficult to swim. By the way, look out for the stone fish, which, if you step on them can kill you. There aren't many of them but if you step on them, even reef walkers will not protect you.

Additionally, the island had very little breeze and was in a dead calm most of the time we were there. High heat and high humidity with no breeze at all - ugg.

Other tropical places we have traveled to are Australia, Mexico, Hawaii, South Africa, Thailand, India, etc. and we had a fabulous time in all these countries. Unfortunately our stay on Aitutaki and Rarotonga was miserable.

Be careful about these insects in this part of the Pacific. Although we did a lot of research nobody is talking about these insects.

Finally, although the people are friendly, this is a very poor island and like poor areas in many places, the people want to get your money and keep it. Jetsave, who we booked our vacation houses with, refused to give us one penny of our money back. We told them they should have told us about the sandfly epidemic. We proposed to them a 50% refund and the owner of the company said she would not give us back one cent! We lost $2,200.

7 Thank mhampton111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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