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With a vast, sparkling lagoon rivaling Bora Bora’s – but with a fraction of the visitors – Aitutaki just might be the world’s most beautifully-remote island. Just a 45-minute flight from the main island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, Aitutaki and its surrounding 22 atolls served as the tropical backdrop for “Survivor: Cook Islands.” Encircled by a knee-high lagoon, One Foot Island Aitutaki (or Tapuaetai, “one footprint”) is both dreamily-exotic and nearly deserted. But while it may look totally deserted, this tiny island paradise is home to one top attraction – a small hut containing the One Foot Island Post Office, one of the world’s most remote. Luckily, while in Rarotonga I’d heard about the post office from a fellow traveler so I knew to bring my passport on my day trip to Aitutaki. Otherwise, I might have missed out on the chance to get the footprint-shaped passport stamp that is my favorite stamp and a perfect memento of this tropical paradise.Read More
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I left New Zealand on Saturday night at 7:30pm and landed in Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands, just after midnight on Friday night/Saturday morning, thanks to a crossing of the International Date Line.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following along on this year’s trip that it was raining profusely when I landed. Here we go again.
But, even at 12:30am, there was a cheerful islander with a ukulele playing soothing tropical tunes at the baggage carousel, so I forced myself to get into the island spirit. And, happily, there was someone from my hotel waiting to pick me up.
I’d been having second thoughts about my hotel choice for the past few days, so at least this was a positive start. In no time, I was in the car and on my way to the hotel in the hopes of getting a few hours of sleep before setting out to explore Rarotonga tomorrow.
Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering, “Where in the heck are the Cook Islands?” A quick check of Google maps will verify the fact that I truly am in the middle of nowhere here in the beautiful South Pacific.
My hotel choice for my 4-night stay on the Cook’s main island of Rarotonga was Vara’s Beach House. Known primarily as a popular backpacker guest house, Vara’s also featured beachfront studios with private bath that appealed to non-backpacker types (that’s me!) as well.
I’d read good things about Vara’s online and at $60/night the price was certainly right so I figured I’d give it a try. How bad could it be?Read More