Dos and Don’ts
If you now decided to go to the Cook Island and especially to Aitutaki you will be lucky. Here are some things you should consider for your trip. The Cooks are not big and the offer of activities is limited but there are some really must dos and also some things you can stay away in order to prevent from failed trip.
1. Take all every opportunity to get in touch with the locals The cook Islanders are very friendly and you can gain a lot of experience watching them doing things. This is of course the fishing or going with them for the church on a Sunday. No I’m not very religious but you meet other people and its really funny to see. Also joining them for a barbecue if you can. Never say no!!
2. Feed George This is of course the biggest highlight of all. Who is George? Its the biggest Giant Trevally you can imagine. Big like a entrance door, heavy like a pig and gentle like a lamb. You can feed him with peaces of tuna. And you can meet him on the offered lagoon cruises. George is one of the GTs you can meet there any you can feed him safely. The other GTs are not so handsome and smaller.
3. Visit an island night Dance and music groups will make a great entertainment in the restaurants. Almost every restaurant offers them on at least one day per week. Its really nice to watch and to experience. Especially the once with the fire dance is excellent.
4. Go snorkeling An excellent experience no matter if you do it at the inner reef or in the lagoon at one of the bigger coral blocks. You will see lots of different fish, moraine, parrot fish, different bass species and also trevallies. Absolutely marvelous to see the giant clams, small ones a few centimeters big up to the big ones with the size of table. And the colors ….
5. Eat fish I eat fish but I wouldn’t say that I really love to eat it. Yes.. but there I really loved to eat fish. Starting from the all available yellow-fin tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, parrot fish, and many more. More fresh and tasty fish you will never get on a table. Hint!! Lunch sashimi at the Koru cafe, and Ika Mata
6. Rent a motor cycle Don’t go for a car. The Islands are really small and if you aren’t there with a family you don’t need it. Its much more fun with the motor cycles. Everybody is mobile there so you should be mobile too.
7. Watch the stars Incredible how clear the air is. You see millions of stars. Stars that I have never seen before in my live. And it is also clear why. There is no air pollution that beclouds the air.
8. Visit the secret garden A magnificent garden with tons of exotic fruits operated by Bill Tschan. You will be guided through, every fruit will explained and you can also taste some of them.
9. Umu, the earth oven The umu is basically a whole in the ground with hot stones, covered by banana leafs, where meat and other ingredients are slowly cooked by the heat and the smoke. Strongly recommended!! The meat tastes excellent. You can do this at the Aitutaki Punarei tour. You will also learn a lot about the ancestors that settled in the south pacific.
9. Go for an island walk on Rarotonga You can book tours or hire a guide for this. Even if the islands are not big, they have a very impressive primeval forest and a completely different climate in there. Don’t forget to use mosquito repellant.
10. Cold smoked marlin We bought it on Rarotonga from a guy that prepares it within an old fridge, self made. It tastes like heaven, better than any other smoked fish I have eaten before. If you do have the chance to get on,
buy as many you can get.
1. Stay away from too commercial attractions Lagoon cruises are available by several providers, but the private, smaller ones offer by far more for less money than the bigger boats. The smaller boats also have the possibility to reach more remote destinations for snorkeling. And due to their higher speed you can enjoy more instead of traveling
2. Stay away from hotels and accommodations that have a bad rating. on the vacation rating sites like Tripadvisor, etc.. There are also some really dirty accommodations available. Check the ratings a dn book accordingly. Mainly they are all good but there are some black sheep in a herd of white sheep.
3. Go out on the reef and the lagoon without shoes On the cook islands there are many stone fish. A lot of people are lucky walking around bare foot but the devil never sleeps and you can hurt yourself pretty serious. That can go even to death.
4. Don’t swim at the channels Aitutaki and also Rarotonga have channels that connect the inner lagoon with the outer sea. Yes its nice there, you will see tons of fish and most probably also the bigger ones. But when the tides are changing there is a extreme strong current. From time to time some people drown swimming at such spots.
5. Don’t go for self catering If you are not a big family you will not safe a lot. The supermarkets, If you want to call them like that, are ultra ultra expensive. Literally the food you cook on your own is not much cheaper than the one in the restaurant. And the supermarkets are empty like nothing I have seen before.
6. Don’t eat fish you caught yourself Never eat fish you caught yourself. You might know from Ciguatera, the fish poison. It is a toxin that originally produced by dinoflagellates that adheres to coral, algae and seaweed, where they are eaten by fish. In this way the toxins move up the food chain and end up on your table. It is very dangerous!! You really need to know which fish you can eat and which fish you should not eat. The islanders know.
7. Don’t forget your mosquito repellant The mosquitos are a pain in the ass and not every repellant works. Try different products and have them in good stock with you, otherwise you will be sucked out at night.