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transport and snorkelling options

Wellington, New...
Level Contributor
46 posts
105 reviews
transport and snorkelling options

Hi, we are heading to Aitutaki for the first time in a couple of weeks and staying at Are-a-Matatui, on the western side (somewhere near Puffy's I'm told). I need answers to a couple of questions -

1. What do you do about snorkelling gear - do you take your own, or is some provided at the house? Can we rent it? We're doing one lagoon tour where its provided, but don't know what we do if we just want to explore the lagoon ourselves.

2. Transport - how do you get around - are places easily walkable? What about hire bikes/car/scooter? Is it far to get them, do they deliver to you?

Also, what's the weather doing, looks like lots of rain at the moment, is this expected?

I am so looking forward to arriving to relax in what looks like paradise.

Rotorua, New Zealand
Level Contributor
20 posts
35 reviews
1. Re: transport and snorkelling options

Snorkelling gear could be hired from Bubbles Below or potentially your accommodation.....worth asking them. I stayed at Ranganui's Retreat and hired a scooter through them. Just ask your accommodation provider.

Aitutaki, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Aitutaki
Level Contributor
2,109 posts
40 reviews
2. Re: transport and snorkelling options

Hi CarolynHa, welcome to the forum. I don't know if snorkeling gear is provided at your accommodation but I can find out. If you do have your own, I would recommend you bring it. Snorkeling gear can also be rented from Aitutaki Scuba located not far from where you are staying at the end of the old runway.

There is no public transport available on Aitutaki. So if you want to get around you will need to rent a vehicle. All of the rental services will deliver to your accommodation. If you click on Vehicle and car hire and Scooter hire on the Top Questions to the right of the screen you will see what is available.

As you mentioned one place to eat is immediately next to you - Puffy's. There are no stores within walking distance. The island isn't that large so nothing is that far away. With a vehicle you can reach just about any place on the island in less than 10 minutes from where you are staying.

As for weather it is going to be nice for the next week. To check the weather closer to when you are going to leave, click on Weather on Aitutaki under Top Questions and you will find links to two good sites for weather forecasts on Aitutaki.

You are correct in your anticipation of relaxing in paradise. It is a great place to just let go and relax regardless of the weather.

Hobart, Australia
Destination Expert
for Vanuatu
Level Contributor
3,714 posts
136 reviews
3. Re: transport and snorkelling options

We always take our own mask and snorkel for hygiene but also to have a good quality set. Why not email Are-a-Matatui though and ask? The lagoon cruises will give you some but not the best quality.

As for transport - you definitely need a car or scooter. There are push bikes for hire but not many and IMO too far to ride to shops from Are-a-Matatui and too hot. Rent a little convertible and have fun zipping around the island. We were also happy to have a car when it poured down one night

Regards

Suzi

Aitutaki, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Aitutaki
Level Contributor
2,109 posts
40 reviews
4. Re: transport and snorkelling options

HI again Carolyn, I checked with the manager at your accommodation and they do not provide snorkeling equipment. She said it kept walking away. So your best bet it to bring your own. As Suzi said, that way you can assure you have something that fits well and is of good quality.

Australia
Level Contributor
46 posts
106 reviews
5. Re: transport and snorkelling options

I used hotel snorkelling gear at a 5-star on Phu Quoc last summer and ended up catching a horrible cold that spoilt the rest of my stay there. I'll be bringing my own from now on!

Wellington, New...
Level Contributor
46 posts
105 reviews
6. Re: transport and snorkelling options

Thanks everyone for your help. I have bought snorkeling gear to take with us, obviously the easiest option, and cheaper than hiring it too. I've also sorted a car to get us around the first couple of days so we get a feel for where everything is.

Now, to pack the essentials (including plenty of insect repellent) and look forward to our trip to rest and relax!

Nelson-Tasman...
Level Contributor
9,163 posts
472 reviews
7. Re: transport and snorkelling options

Get some anti fog for your mask.. We have some anti fog wipes which work amazing. or there are plenty of old tales of using spit and water, or little shampoo. But it is advisable to use something because everything is so much clearer when you have a crystal clear mask.

and its so frustrating if you cant enjoy snorkelling because of a fogged up mask.

Be sure to go snorkelling at the marine reserve at the end of the runway as well.

Fkp
Level Contributor
86 posts
149 reviews
8. Re: transport and snorkelling options

Hello CarolynHa

Depending on the luggage weight restriction on the airline you’re going with I would consider taking my own.

By that you can fit your googles as you need them well in advance and try it all out. As for snorkel goes it is nice to have something not used by 50 other people.

You may want special fins, usually I only seen the normal size fins in Aitutaki. If on a tight weight restriction bring own snorkel, if you can bring googles and if you don’t worry about weight at all then bring your fins as well.

There is of course always the option to buy your own googles, snorkel and fins at arrival but please remember it is a remote and small place. The stock may be emptied and the prices is often higher due to the:

1. High Transportation costs.

2. Long transportation times.

3. Small purchasing volumes.

4. Cook Islands has a quite high Customs duty tax (pending what product).

5. Cook Islands has a quite high sales tax/VAT.

As you can understand, these in combination brings up the price.

In order to explore the lagoon by yourself you could kayak but it’s hard for you to spend the whole day under the sun in a kayak, get in and out of it with snorkeling gear… No, I would go on a charter boat.

There are numerous small companies that will bring you on lagoon excursions, some of them will offer the possibility to charter them for a half or full day. Usually a small lunch is included in the price.

I will not go into which ones are the best, I tried a few and were satisfied with them. Also, don’t know when you are going but quite soon there is a new company opening up to take charters on the lagoon as well as outside.

Some people think the boats used on the current charter boats is old and worn - In contrary to the existing charters, this company has a new and fresh boat which is also quite fast. A faster boat means to spend less time moving around transporting yourself on the lagoon which gives you more time to snorkel and explore the motus (small islands) and sand bars. Their boat also has a very shallow draft which mean they may reach places where an outboard/inboard/stern drive motor boat may not take you.

In regards to renting vehicles. There are not very many cars for hire and I have found that they need to be booked often in advance. It may of course vary due to season. At times I´ve been lucky to borrow a car for short trips but there is many scooters for rent.

Depending on where you stay, it is common for the manager or owner to take you to the scooter rental place. But most places also place delivery of the scooter to where you stay. The manager/owner of where you stay can usually make a recommendation. Please make sure when you rent the scooter to let them know of the recommendation as usually there can be a small discount as well as the person who recommended them to you can get a small bonus for it. It is a win-win for both you and whoever recommended you.

Weather wherever you are is always predicted…. Predictions is like fortune-telling. Normally the weather in Cook Islands follow a common pattern but on occasions it differentiates. No matter what sunny day there is always the likelihood of short burst showers that will surprise you, soak you, and is over before you get to take cover. The sun will also dry you in no time.

Have a lovely trip,

Magnus

Nelson-Tasman...
Level Contributor
9,163 posts
472 reviews
9. Re: transport and snorkelling options

I would suggest reef shoes rather than fins. Reef shoes will provide much more protection, and we didnt use fins at all.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
819 posts
101 reviews
10. Re: transport and snorkelling options

We found the latest styled fully enclosed fins to be wonderful for snorkelling. We only used reef shoes when we were kayaking. Each person will work out their own preference after a little experience.

I would always take my own snorkelling gear with me. This can be purchased cheaply at sports shops everywhere.

Edited: 23 August 2014, 03:00