Official Name:Capital: Avarua, on Rarotonga
Capital:StatusÂ Self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand
Population: Population 15,600
Area: AreaÂ 237 sq km (91 sq miles)
Major Languages: Major languagesÂ English and Cook Islands Maori
Major Religions: Major religionÂ Christianity
Life expectancy: Life expectancyÂ 70 (men), 76 (women)
Currency: Cook Islan
Aitutaki€™s main attraction is the large picture-perfect lagoon with translucent turquoise water. Twenty-one small islands (motu) dot the outer edge of the lagoon, some of which can be visited on cruises or tours. Kayaking is also a great way to explore these tiny islets. The small island of Maina in the southwest corner of the lagoon offers excellent snorkeling opportunities and is home to a beautiful sandbar known as €œHoneymoon Island.€ The lagoon is also a popular spot for bonefishing, and you can hire local guides on the island.If you want to stay right on the lagoon, the over-the-water bungalows at the luxury Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa perch right above its crystal-clear waters.Accommodation: Where to Stay in the Cook Islands 2 Tapuaetai (One Foot Island) Tour.
Fringed by gently curving coconut palms, beautiful Tapuaetai, or One Foot Island as it is more commonly known, is the most visited of Aitutaki€™s motu, and for good reason. This stunning island is worthy of most people€™s wildest tropical fantasies. Beach-lovers can bask on its beautiful white sands, wade and snorkel in the turquoise lagoon, and even get their passport stamped at the tiny post office. Hermit crabs scuttle along the shore, and you can walk around the entire island in about 20 minutes. This is also a popular spot for weddings. Tours depart from Aitutaki, and most include plenty of time to snorkel, a barbecue lunch, and visits to other motu (islets) in the lagoon.
On the southeast coast of Rarotonga, Muri Beach or Muri Lagoon, as it is sometimes called, is one of the most popular and picturesque beaches on the island. Although the water quality has declined in recent years, the shallows stretch into dreamy shades of aquamarine, and snorkelers can see many species of tropical fish. Four offshore islets, called motu, shimmer on the horizon, enhancing the beauty of the area. After a day in the sun, hungry beachcombers will find many dining options in the nearby resorts and restaurants.