LuvTrip Romantic Getaways

Cook Island Castaways - Aitutaki

by Jane Cassie

If Swiss Family Robinson was a favorite bedtime story when you were young, you’ll love the Cook Island of Aitutaki. This sandy shored paradise is rimmed by the most brilliantly beautiful lagoon, and scented year-round by wild hibiscus and free-growing frangipani. Although the lines between fact and fiction may initially seem blurred, after you vacation on this oasis you’ll realize that fairytales can come true.

Fantasy turns reality soon after your puddle jump flight from the sister Cook Island of Rarotonga. There’s everything here to keep you in the moment, from coconut tree climbing and sarong tying to Island Nights, where hip-notic dancers keep the culture alive. You’ll splash together in the glorious Pacific, kayak in tandem to outer islands, and take snorkel tours in Kon-Tiki-like catamarans. And just like Thor Heyerdahl, the fictitious fellow who ventured to these waters in his reedy boat, you’ll check out the abundant sea life that swims beneath the deep.

Land lovers might also want to take an island tour where there is more beauty behind the scenes. Palms throw shade over the rolling hills and vibrant flora. They dot manicured yards that host cyclone-proof cinderblock homes and tower above gravesites where family members have been laid to rest. Sun-baked burial plots also dot the grounds of the oldest island church, built by missionaries in 1823. Inside this sanctuary, stained glass panes and intricately etched motifs surround the raised pulpit where, every Sunday, the preacher gives praise in Maori tongue.

Life is simple on this sleepy isle of 1,400 residents. People and wide-eyed children wave and smile at all who pass. Most live off their land, gifts from harvest, fresh catch from the sea and precipitation from the clouds. Although it’s a humble existence, they seem to have found the secret to contentment.

You’ll probably discover the same feeling of inner peace, while holidaying to this dreamy destination. Here are two romantic retreats that’ll surely help create your own fairytale honeymoon or romantic getaway.

Pacific Resort Aitutaki

This boutique resort is a newer kid on the Cook Island archipelago and is one that’s really designed for romance. Seventeen lush tropical acres set the backdrop to the generous strip of sandy shoreline and shimmering lagoon. Posh accommodations are discreetly placed amidst the manicured flora to offer utmost privacy and uninterrupted views. Polynesian flare makes its way into these handsome interiors where colonial furnishings top gleaming hardwood floors and attached verandahs overlook stunning sunsets.

A wedding coordinator and resort staff will be at your beckon call and whether you choose to share your vows on the white sandy beachfront, amidst lush tropical gardens, in a quaint limestone village church or on an uninhabited island, every one of wedding wants will be answered.

Add to your romance menu, a glistening pool, gastronomic cuisine, a horde of activities and friendly island hospitality –and you’ll have all the ingredients you’ll need for the perfect Cook Island wedding.

The Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa

A modern day version of Fantasy Island comes alive when you disembark, after a two minute pontoon boat ride, on the isle of Akitua. Although this solo resort only takes up a small portion of the twenty-seven lush acres, its supreme location offers guests an awesome vista of the largest lagoon in the Cook Islands. All thirty-seven units cast an allure with their various styles and captivating features. The beachfront bungalows offer superior views and private hammocks. The garden shacks are embraced by manicured flora. And the over-water accommodations cantilever directly beyond the sensuous shoreline, permitting a lagoon dip any time of the day.

The quintessential Gilligan theme flows beyond to the posh Polynesian interiors where, beneath the thatched roofs, pandanus woven walls, deep rich hardwood and every lavish luxury makes you feel right at home. Upon arrival, gardenia petals are sprinkled across the inviting king-size bed and fragrant scents from tropical bouquets waft in the breeze. A private garden waits beyond, where an open-air shower is a nature lover’s delight, and a well-stocked mini bar comes in handy while watching a late night flick. The setting is incredibly romantic and would most certainly be the envy of Ginger, Mary-Anne and the rest of Gilligan’s clan.

When the sun drops beneath the horizon each day, the lagoon’s aquamarine surface shimmers with brilliance. Bordering evergreen islets transform to sapphire mounds and the crystal blue skies turn a coral pink, shot with streaks of indigo and orange. It’s a silent symphony of color that seems to go on forever, and is a perfect ending to a memorable stay. And while watching with awe and wonder from the silky shoreline, you’ll realize that your long-awaited romantic dream has become a reality.

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